Sen. Howie Morales Introduces Legislation to Make Sense of Gasoline Prices

Sen. Howie Morales


 SANTA FE – The recent downward fluctuation of oil and gas prices put state lawmakers in a bind for planning next year’s budget but at least one senator is concerned about the general inconsistency in fuel prices statewide as well as within the state’s largest city.

Sen. Howie Morales, D-Catron, Grant and Socorro, introduced “NMSU Retail Gas Prices Study,” which requests that such drastic differences in gasoline retail prices be studied by the New Mexico State University (NMSU) College of Business.

According to Morales’ bill, during the period February 2013 through February 2015, the average retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline in New Mexico varied between $1.82 per gallon and $3.54. In addition, between Feb. 4 and Feb. 6, a gallon ranged from $1.70 in Albuquerque to $2.39 in Deming. Furthermore, on Feb. 6 the retail price of a gallon in Albuquerque ranged from $1.70 to $2.19.

“I think every average New Mexican is like me and is scratching their head to understand what factors determine the price of gasoline,” Morales said. “As is often the case, it is difficult to get an easy to understand answer from the oil companies as to why there is such a variance in price from one day to the other, from one city to the next, and even from one part of Albuquerque to the other.”

If the bill is passed, NMSU will need to develop a cost-effective and comprehensive means of communicating the results of the study to New Mexico residents between April 1 and Oct. 1. The bill further states, “It is difficult for consumers to understand the rationale for significant differences in the retail price of gasoline within limited geographical areas.”

“Understanding gas pricing shouldn’t be like understanding rocket science. This study will help make sense of these pricing dynamics and convey it to the rest of us in a more discernible way,” Morales said.

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