This activity has in years past resulted in significant increases in gasoline prices at the pump just as the summer driving season is getting underway. The reason is that there are many dozens of different summer blends that are designed to address clean air concerns in many specific geographic areas of the country. This buffet of blends first requires hundreds of refiners to create each specific gasoline recipe in the right quantities, which in turn requires truck, rail and pipeline distributors to deliver specific quantities of each and every blend to thousands of specific wholesalers and retailers in specific locations all across the country at specific times.
It is, in other words, a massive logistical nightmare which inevitably results in bottlenecks, delays, shortages, overages and other kinds of interruptions. All of that in turn inevitably results in rising costs of transportation, which in turn, at the end of the day, get passed along to the consumer at the pump.
In previous years, the public outcry from moms and dads about rising gasoline costs right when they’re getting ready to drive the family out to Yellowstone or down to Key West has been loud and long, and that outcry inevitably makes its way to their members of congress. Those members of congress tend to want to respond to such public outcries, if for no other reason than to slow the numbers of emails, phone calls and faxes flooding into their district and national offices. The quickest and easiest way for them to respond is to hold a hearing.