October 25, 2014

Shell station owner: Fuel prices likely to remain steady despite oil spill

Veronica Mullin
Special to The Gardner News
At least one owner of a Gardner filling station believes the massive oil spill in the Gulf Coast won’t affect fuel prices.

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig, controlled by huge oil company BP, exploded on April 20 near the coast of Louisiana. Since then, barrels of oil have been spilled into the Gulf of Mexico by the thousands, taking over more than 7,500 square miles of water.

The spill is now known as the worst oil spill in U.S. history, surpassing the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill by a huge amount and claiming the lives of 11 rig workers. As stated by the U.S. Geological Survey, the flow of oil spilling into the gulf daily is between 12,000 and 19,000 barrels. However, some scientists believe that amount is an understatement, and have estimated within the range of 25,000 to 80,000 barrels daily.

Amid the commotion of the spill and the struggles of BP, drivers across the United States wonder if the price of gasoline will increase. Many people speculate that because of the magnitude of the spill, distributors will see a decrease in supply and will therefore raise their sell prices. However, Eric Foster, owner of the Shell station on Main Street, said he doesn’t think so.

“So far, it hasn’t seemed to [affect prices],” Foster said. “Oil companies like BP have holdings all over the world, not just this one. They have more. “Foster said he believes prices will not rise because, in addition to the fact that oil giants have supplies elsewhere, the gas market is stable.

“Even though the economy is bad, there are more restrictions on fuel efficiency, and the unemployment rate is rising, the demand isn’t going down,” Foster said. “It’s a normal summer.”

Regarding BP and their efforts to clean up the spill, Foster says that he thinks they’re trying. As he said, drilling this deep into the floor of the ocean has never been done before, and there are complications.

“They’ve got so many restrictions,” Foster said. “They can’t drill on land, or in Alaska, where we know there’s crude. Where they know oil is, they’re not allowed to drill.”

Furthermore, there’s the Jones Act, which requires that all commercial acts conducted in U.S.-controlled waters be performed only by U.S. ships, crewed by citizens. Foster, along with many others, says President Obama should waive the act so that other countries can send ships to assist us with cleaning up.

“The government is getting involved,” Foster said. “We’ve got the Louisiana governor screaming bloody murder that the Jones Act should have been waived the second it exploded, and he’s right.”

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