Nation: How Gas Prices Got That Way

Published calculations that U .S. gasoline profits have jumped from $20 million to $40 million per day since last January make many Americans understandably wonder why prices keep going up. Some persist in believing there is a scheme among the big oil companies to hoard supplies and make a killing at the expense of the consumer, but there is no evidence of that. The basic cause of rising prices is OPEC price fixing, compounded by the intricacies of Government regulation all the way from the wellhead to the pump.

When crude petroleum enters a refinery, the buyer records its price. To that...

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