Gas Prices Rise, President Decides to Open the Taps

Having spent a good portion of the past week at the office (i.e., apartment), leaving only to be detained by the NYPD traffic patrol on the 96th St. Transverse for impersonating James Spader in "Less Than Zero," and contributing valuable life-hours to the futile Gawker—New Yorker softball matchup (it sounds way better in the recap), we were caught unaware by the spike in gas prices here in the Northeast.

A quick survey of the NY metro area's fine gas establishments revealed a nasty, brutish, $3.35/gallon average for regular, sparked by the effects of Katrina on the Gulf of Mexico's oil industry (not to ignore the unthinkable human devastation). For perspective's sake, in 1981 (a previous price peak) the average price of gasoline hit an inflation-adjusted $3.08. Yesterday, the White House announced it will tap into the nation's oil reserves to shore up marketplace supply, after the per-barrel price hit $70. But retail prices will likely remain high as refineries in the Gulf — which contribute 10 percent of US refining capacity — slowly come back online [Update: 95% of the Gulf's refining capacity is currently offline]. [Don't forget the people of New Orleans. Instapundit has compiled a list of aid providers.]

Related:
Hurricane Katrina to Send Retail Gas Prices Higher [internal]