Some simple facts:
Right now, the oil producing countries have opened the spigots to near full capacity. The stock of crude on our shores have been going up for the last several weeks. The problem is that we don't have the ability to refine it. It's compounded by the fact that the plants must be shut down for periodic maintenance and it's that time of the year. There is no choice in that. Big Oil would love to have more capacity.
There has not been one new refinery built in this country in the last thirty years.
They haven't built it because they can't get it approved. No one wants one near them. We've compensated by building more fuel efficient vehicles and by bringing in gasoline that was refined elsewhere in the world. Lately, India and especially China have significantly increased their consumption and are competing for the available supply. They have the money to do so of course from the salaries paid to outsourced workers and the profits from exports.
"Not in my backyard" for a refinery has it's costs - and we're seeing them.
So too does, "Lower prices, every day." We've seen what WalMart has done to downtown small town USA. You might also want to consider that they are responsible for 10% of the total imports from China. Home Depot and K-Mart are not very far behind either. Those low prices are a two edged sword, and both sides cut into our traditional economic fabric.
In a very real sense you're paying at the pump for that discount at the checkout register.
Think about that.....