DENVER (CBS4) – Forget $4 a gallon for gas — at least for now. After 44 days of consecutive price hikes, the price of a barrel of oil dropped again Friday, settling at just above $97.
Some analysts are saying the price at the pump may drop as much as 50 cents.
Convenience stores belong to a petroleum marketing association and a member of that association predicts a price drop at the pump is coming in about 10 days to 2 weeks. But the bigger story is how lobbying in Washington is keeping gas from dropping by more than $1 a gallon.
“Right now they’re saying it would be a $1.63 a gallon cheaper if we had the speculators out of the crude markets right now,” Mark Larson with the Colorado-Wyoming Petroleum Marketers Association said.
Larson says it’s not happening right now because the Commodities Futures Trading Commission is failing to enforce limits on speculators, as required by federal law. Larson says commodities commissioners are being pressured by bankers.
“Every time that I’m back there and going to a congressional office and lobby on behalf of consumers and Main Street America I have five suits from the banking industry coming in behind me,” Larson said.
Larson says the banking industry has a big stake in petroleum.
“If they’ve been able to successfully make the commodities market act like the stock market and absent a vibrant stock market then they can play both ends against the middle, and who’s going to lose? The consumer,” Larson said.
Larson believes it may take 18 months or longer before a major decrease in the price at the pump can happen. In the meantime, he says the bankers have money to lose and they’ll keep pushing bills that will delay controls on the oil speculators.