Monday, December 18, 2017
News Roundup

Q&A: Gas prices, postal slogan

Why gas prices rise

Can you tell me why gas prices have gone up so much in the past month when the price of oil has not risen and there are no problems in the Middle East or hurricanes barrelling through the Gulf of Mexico?

Gas prices routinely fluctuate according to any number of circumstances, including the factors you mention and many more.

In early November, gas prices seemed on a downward spiral, dipping to just more than $3 for a gallon of regular in the Tampa Bay area.

AAA, which monitors gas prices closely, estimated on Nov. 20 that gas prices would continue to be low compared to previous years. "Drivers can find stations selling gas for less than $3 per gallon in the vast majority of states," AAA said.

But less than a week later, the landscape had shifted.

Refineries along the Gulf Coast started having maintenance issues that cut into their output capacity. That lower supply pushed prices up sharply, moving Florida into the "red zone as one of the state's with the nation's highest gas prices," according to AAA.

The good news is that the gas price hikes should be temporary, AAA predicted. Once those refineries return to full production, gas prices should start falling again.

But some analysts wonder if there isn't more going on. The sharp increase in U.S. oil exports may be creating a scenario that bumps up gas costs for American consumers.

How is that possible? Oil bound for overseas markets doesn't require a costly ethanol blend, as U.S. gas does, and oil can be shipped to foreign countries cheaper than it can be shipped to U.S. ports thanks to a 1920 law that requires goods transported between U.S. ports to be carried on vessels made and based in the United States, and staffed mostly by U.S. citizens.

"I can ship a barrel of gasoline across the Atlantic for one-third the cost of shipping it to New York from Houston," Fadel Gheit, an oil and gas analyst at Oppenheimer, recently told Bloomberg.

Those factors make what Gheit called a "double whammy" of more expensive gas for U.S. consumers. "The benefits of cheap U.S. energy are being exported overseas," he told Bloomberg.

'Neither snow nor …'

From whom and when did the familiar postal service slogan originate?

The U.S. Post Office doesn't have an official motto, according to its website. The phrase "Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" is attached to the USPS because it's inscribed on the façade of the James A. Farley Post Office building in New York. Greek historian Herodotus originally wrote that phrase to describe the swiftness of Persian messengers during wars with Greece around 480-490 B.C.

Compiled from Times and wire reports. To submit a question, email [email protected]

Comments
Atlanta airport power outage cancels 1,000 flights; more Delta cancellations Monday

Atlanta airport power outage cancels 1,000 flights; more Delta cancellations Monday

ATLANTA — A sudden power outage brought the world’s busiest airport to a standstill Sunday, grounding more than 1,000 flights in Atlanta just days before the start of the Christmas travel rush. Authorities announced that electricity would be restored...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs-Falcons: Things to watch in Monday’s 8:30 p.m. game

Bucs-Falcons: Things to watch in Monday’s 8:30 p.m. game

TAMPA — The Bucs and Falcons have each won three straight games on Monday nights as they face each other on a national platform tonight at Raymond James Stadium.How can Tampa Bay continue its streak and stop Atlanta’s? It won’t be easy, but given the...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Bitcoin futures begin trading on CME, price little changed

NEW YORK — Another security based on the price of bitcoin, the digital currency that has soared in value and volatility this year, began trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Sunday. The CME Group, which owns the exchange, opened up bitcoin f...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Woman shot and killed in apparent drive-by shooting in Clearwater

CLEARWATER — A woman was shot to death Sunday night in an apparent drive-by shooting, according to Clearwater police.Authorities said they received an initial call at 8:19 p.m. originating from 800 Belleair Road. The shooting is believed to have occu...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Bucs fans call for Jon Gruden — why was he fired to begin with?

Bucs fans call for Jon Gruden — why was he fired to begin with?

TAMPA — The beers and the "love ya, bros" were flowing Saturday night at the Hooters in Tampa. Jon Gruden, who will be inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor at halftime of tonight’s home game against the Falcons, worked the room, greeting family, frie...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Fennelly: Jon Gruden was one hard-working bro

Fennelly: Jon Gruden was one hard-working bro

TAMPA — It’s ridiculous that it took this long to give Jon Gruden a night all his own, given the nights he gave Bucs fans. But it will happen this evening at Raymond James Stadium, a salute to the thermonuclear source of that Super Bowl season, that ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Massachusetts rolls 100-foot-long joint; McCain likely to miss tax bill vote; Cherokee Nation’s fear of losing heritage drives opioid lawsuit; more in U.S. news

Massachusetts rolls 100-foot-long joint; McCain likely to miss tax bill vote; Cherokee Nation’s fear of losing heritage drives opioid lawsuit; more in U.S. news

Massachusetts Rolling a fat one — 100 feet longMarijuana aficionados have rolled a 100-foot-long joint. The effort was led by Boston-based cannabis club and advocacy group Beantown Greentown during an exhibition of pro-marijuana vendors and supporter...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Trump says he isn’t considering firing Mueller

Trump says he isn’t considering firing Mueller

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Sunday that he is not considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller even as his administration was again forced to grapple with the growing Russia inquiry that has shadowed the White House for much of his ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Friendly competition

Friendly competition

 
Updated: 7 hours ago

More than 300 cruise passengers fall ill with stomach virus

PORT EVERGLADES — More than 300 passengers on a cruise ship that docked at Port Everglades fell ill with a stomach virus. The Naples Daily News reported that the Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited’s ship Independence docked Saturday in Florida reported ...
Updated: 7 hours ago