Gasoline, Markets, and Regulators
Engage, Vol. 8, No. 3, pp. 4-13, 2003
11 Pages Posted: 31 May 2007
Rising gasoline prices have brought energy issues back to the forefront of public policy debates. Gasoline markets today are the result of almost a hundred years of conflicting regulatory policies, which have left them dangerously fragmented. In this article, I analyze that regulatory history, highlighting the unintended consequences of regulation that have pushed the United States into a series of loosely connected regional markets rather than a broad, deep national market. This fragmentation leaves the American economy is vulnerable to natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and foreign dictators in ways that it need not be. It also produces higher prices for consumers and reduced innovation by refiners.
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