Saturday, June 29, 2013

Chicago's extreme gas prices

The price of a gallon of gasoline in Chicago is enough to make you cry, but there are good reasons for it.
Chicago always has the highest gas prices in the Midwest. A variety of factors cause this:
• High taxes
• High overhead for retailers; city locations are expensive
• The requirement for an expensive-to-produce reformulated gasoline
These prices were at the tail end of a refinery shutdown scare, and the supply of that reformulated gasoline was still not where it should have been. Blame it on Adam Smith's invisible hand.
Who benefits from the less-dirty air? Certainly Chicagoans do, but perhaps more importantly, people who live downwind from Chicago do.
In other words, us.
This was brought home to me a number of years ago when I edited the Huron Daily Tribune in Michigan's Thumb. We did a happy-happy story about a toy helium balloon that was launched from a Chicago suburb and landed in Huron County.
How did it get there? It got carried on the very same air that had been in Chicago a few days before now was over the rural farm fields of Michigan's Thumb.
Who pays to keep the good Republican farmers of the Thumb from choking on dirty city air? The answer is right there on the BP station sign at 31st and Halsted.

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