Demise of U.S. gasoline driving season is premature
Haraz N. Ghanbari / Associated Press
Politicians can directly impact gasoline prices: This has been one of the more debated misconceptions. Crude oil prices make up the bulk of gasoline prices, and crude oil prices are set by the global market. Politicians can impact gasoline prices indirectly, but there is little direct impact they can have.
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Gas stations make a huge profit off gasoline: Many drivers unfairly believe that gas stations are raking in huge profits on gasoline sales. In fact, it’s the opposite. Gas stations make cents on the dollar.
Don Ryan / AP
Get gas in the morning: This myth really depends on where you live. Gasoline does expand as it warms, meaning you get less gasoline volume when it’s warm. In most places, this isn’t a concern, but Texas is a different story. You might get a few extra drops of gasoline by buying in the morning.
E. Joseph Deering / Houston Chronicle
Tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve could lower prices: This is obviously not true. President Barack Obama tapped the reserve, and drivers barely noticed a difference.
Oil companies produce less in the spring: During the spring months, consumers usually see an increase in the price of gasoline. However, it isn’t because oil companies are reducing production. The increase usually happens because refineries are switching from winter to summer blends and tighter supply due to refinery maintenance.
Turn off the air conditioner, roll down the windows: It’s a popular myth that you can save fuel by turning off the air conditioner and rolling down the windows on the freeway. Sadly, there isn’t much of a saving in doing it. However, you can see a fuel savings by turning off your air conditioner and keeping your windows up.
Overinflating your tires: Some people claim overinflating your tires can help save your money by improve the rolling resistance of the car, but it doesn’t hold up when tested. Overinflating your tires gives you a bumpier ride and a very minimum increase in fuel economy.
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Gas savings products increase gas mileage: Some products do help improve gas mileage, but a bulk of them don’t do what they say. The Federal Trade Commission tested more than 100 devices and found 25 percent didn’t improve gas mileage. A few even damaged the engines.
The traditional peak for gasoline use in the U.S. from late May to early September remains significant and suggestions that seasonality in demand has faded are premature, the International Energy Agency said.
U.S. gasoline consumption will rise by about 300,000 barrels a day this summer, known as the national driving season, the IEA said. The forecast increase will follow less pronounced seasonal growth in 2008 and 2009, when the global recession affected demand, it said.
The U.S. remains the world’s largest gasoline consumer, with average use of about 8.7 million barrels a day last year, the IEA said today in its monthly Oil Market Report. That’s equivalent to almost 10 percent of global demand and is as large as the combined total consumption of Mexico, Canada, Germany, France and New Zealand, according to the Paris-based agency.
Demand in the U.S. is set to decline by 0.1 percent in 2013 as cars become more fuel-efficient, a pattern that will probably continue in coming years, the IEA said.
“This downwardly sloping trend in U.S. gasoline demand is nevertheless expected to remain consistent with continued seasonality in demand patterns,” the agency said.