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A Review of West Coast Gasoline Pricing and the Impact of Regulations

  • Christopher Taylor
  • Jeffrey Fischer
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    There have been numerous proposals for legislating restrictions on vertical supply relationships on the West Coast and elsewhere. However, there has not been a systematic examination of gasoline prices on the West Cost, relative to the rest of the country, to understand the size of possible pricing anomalies. We examine the differences in the price of gasoline on the West Coast and the Gulf Coast both at the rack (wholesale) and retail. We also examine structural factors that have kept average West Coast prices higher than elsewhere, such as the higher costs to produce CARB gasoline and higher opportunity costs to produce conventional gasoline, higher shipping costs, Unocal's patents on CARB gasoline blending, higher taxes, Oregon's ban on self-service gasoline, and higher land costs. While a number of these factors are difficult to quantify, they would appear to explain most or possibly all of the measured difference in average prices.

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    File URL: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/13571510305061
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    Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal International Journal of the Economics of Business.

    Volume (Year): 10 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 225-243

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    Handle: RePEc:taf:ijecbs:v:10:y:2003:i:2:p:225-243
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.tandfonline.com/CIJB20

    Order Information: Web: http://www.tandfonline.com/pricing/journal/CIJB20

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    1. William Comanor & Jon Riddle, 2003. "The Costs of Regulation: Branded Open Supply and Uniform Pricing of Gasoline," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(2), pages 135-155.
    2. Ronald N. Johnson & Charles J. Romeo, 2000. "The Impact Of Self-Service Bans In The Retail Gasoline Market," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(4), pages 625-633, November.
    3. Shepard, Andrea, 1991. "Price Discrimination and Retail Configuration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 30-53, February.
    4. Molly Espey, 1996. "Explaining the Variation in Elasticity Estimates of Gasoline Demand in the United States: A Meta-Analysis," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 49-60.
    5. Archibald, Robert & Gillingham, Robert, 1980. "An Analysis of the Short-Run Consumer Demand for Gasoline Using Household Survey Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 62(4), pages 622-28, November.
    6. Vita, Michael G, 2000. "Regulatory Restrictions on Vertical Integration and Control: The Competitive Impact of Gasoline Divorcement Policies," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 217-33, November.
    7. Puller, Steven L. & Greening, Lorna A., 1999. "Household adjustment to gasoline price change: an analysis using 9 years of US survey data," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 37-52, February.
    8. John Barron & Beck Taylor & John Umbeck, 2001. "New evidence on price discrimination and retail configuration," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(2), pages 135-139.
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