Pump Prices a Bargain, Comparatively
WASHINGTON — The average inflation-adjusted price of gas in 1981 was $2.79 per gallon. So the current average pump price "doesn't look too bad," in comparison, David O'Reilly, chairman and CEO of ChevronTexaco Corp., said in a speech at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Wednesday. O’Reilly said gas prices near $2 per gallon are "really quite a bargain" when compared to historical levels, Reuters reports. The national average for regular unleaded as of Wednesday, June 23, was $1.93 a gallon, up 43 cents from the national average the same day a year ago, according to the American Automobile Association. However, that average has fallen about 9 cents in the past two weeks. Rising gasoline prices helped increase ChevronTexaco's first quarter net profits sharply higher to $2.56 billion, compared to $1.92 billion one year earlier, the news agency reports. Earnings from ChevronTexaco's refining and marketing arm doubled to $640 million in the first quarter.The industry's surging profits and high gasoline prices recently prompted Democratic attorneys general in eight states to launch an investigation into whether big oil companies are illegally pushing up prices, Reuters reports.O'Reilly also said the U.S. Congress should loosen environmental standards that have discouraged building new refineries and allow more oil and natural gas drilling in places like Alaska, the Rocky Mountains and the Outer Continental Shelf.