The attorney general for New Hampshire Tuesday released a report on petroleum markets that examines the gasoline and heating oil markets in his state and Massachusetts, Maine, New York and Vermont. The 330-page report also includes information on the difficulties and high costs of converting from a heating oil system to a natural gas system.
The report, prepared by ERS Group, provides an overview of market conditions specific to the region that may affect petroleum prices.
“This report provides the best information we have available on this important topic,” New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly A. Ayotte said. “We undertook this study so that we would have a better understanding of how the market for these necessary commodities operates. In the past we have assumed that price fluctuations have been due to everything from seasonal usage changes to natural disasters such as the hurricanes of 2005.
“Because we made this study, we now have factual information on how the market operates and will better be able to analyze what is behind these price changes. This will make it easier for us to determine when we may want to look more deeply into the causes for variations in the price of gasoline or home heating oil in New Hampshire. For example, the report states that in New Hampshire and the other states involved in the study, over 80% of the variation in prices of gasoline has been due to variations in the price of crude oil. This is a significant fact.”
The report also includes a discussion of federal, state and local regulations that may affect wholesale and retail gasoline markets. Among these are federal and state environmental regulations, along with state and local excise and sales taxes. In addition, the report touches on futures markets for crude oil, gasoline and heating oil and how the presence of nonregulated, over-the-counter trades by private parties in times of market volatility could potentially affect the prices for crude oil, gasoline and heating oil in the region.
The report is available at www.doj.nh.gov/consumer.
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