Press Release

For Immediate Release: April 8, 2002
Contact: Tom Randall 773-857-5086 or


Gasoline Shortages Begin ­ Prices Soar Toward 2001 Levels


Record high gasoline prices? Severe shortages? According to Tom Randall, director of The National Center for Public Policy Research's John P. McGovern MD Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs, all the elements are in place for another energy crisis.

The U.S. petroleum industry is entering one of the most vulnerable periods in recent history," Randall noted. "Shortages are already emerging. In the last two years, refinery fires and pipeline shutdowns contributed to the shortages and price spikes. We have yet to encounter these additional problems this year."

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average retail price for regular gasoline had risen 25.5 cents over five weeks, reaching $1.371 by April 1. Current gas prices are rapidly closing in on 2001 levels.

In Phoenix, Arizona in early April, Phillips Petroleum Company ran out of both regular and premium unleaded gasoline for several days. Phillips also announced it would allocate supplies to its dealers in the St. Louis, Missouri area, cutting off shipments to independent retailers there altogether.

Randall notes that three factors make the oil industry and consumers uniquely vulnerable to rising prices and shortages:

Also, instability in the Persian Gulf stemming from the war on terrorism and increasing Israeli-Palestinian tensions could lead to future availablility of oil and gasoline. This ominous scenario will provide a backdrop for what promises to be a contentious debate in the U.S. Senate this month over energy, domestic oil exploration and related matters.

Information on domestic oil exploration from the John P. McGovern Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs includes: "Wishes Won't Fuel Our Economy: We Need Oil Drilling" (, "Senate Democrats Fight Energy Bill" ( and "Environmentalists Oppositionto Oil Exploration in ANWR is Unfounded" (

The John P. McGovern, MD Center for Environmental and Regulatory Affairs is a project of The National Center for Public Policy Research, a non-partisan, non-profit education foundation. For more information, contact Tom Randall at 773-857-5086 or



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