This story (subscription) by Rosalie Rayburn questions why New Mexico’s gasoline prices are mostly higher than in other states. She misses the main reason: gasoline in not a fungible commodity because of EPA rules. Refineries must produce gasoline with specific formulations for specific areas, thereby eliminating the possibility of transport from one region to another when there is increased scarcity in a region such as NM:
Presently, the motor fuels industry has to separately refine, transport, and store as many as 18 different so-called boutique fuels for different markets. Some of these blends are more expensive to make, and the logistical burden of having to simultaneously provide all of them adds to costs and causes localized shortages and price spikes.
Higher prices result when when gasoline becomes relatively more scarce compared to other regions. You can be sure that refineries would have plenty of incentive to transport more gasoline to NM absent the EPA rules.
BTW: I spent the first weekend in December in Tucson and the second weekend in Cincinnati. My first hand observation is that Albuquerque’s average gasoline price is roughly 10 cents per gallon less than in those two cities.
Anybody for a $9.50 “living” wage? Then we can really do some damage!
Check this for damage already done by the $8.50 “living” wage (thanks to NCPA for alerting us):
Aaron Yelowitz of the University of Kentucky found that Santa Fe’s
minimum wage had significant and negative effects on the labor market.
Even more troubling, he found that the negative effects of the wage
hike were concentrated on the least-skilled members of the economy —
the very individuals the increase was intended to help.
o The likelihood of unemployment for employees in Santa Fe
went up by 3.3 percent.
o For less-educated employees, however, the results were much
higher, with their likelihood of unemployment
increasing 8.3 percentage points.
o The usual hours of work fell by 1.0 hours for the full
sample and 3.2 hours for less-educated individuals.
o There was significant evidence to suggest the displacement
of adult employees by unmarried high school age
These are all unintended consequences that should give pause to
any claims of success of the ordinance, says Yelowitz.
Source: Aaron S. Yelowitz, “How Did the $8.50 Citywide Minimum Wage
Affect the Santa Fe Labor Market? A Comprehensive Examination,”
Employment Policies Institute, December 6, 2005.
We told you so.
Unfortunately for NM taxpayers our Guv is poised for an enormous increase in spending during the 30-day session that begins next month. Among the proposals is a big expansion of the pre-kindergarten program. Our public schools don’t work very well. Why do we think that pre-k will work? It hasn’t worked in Georgia. It won’t work in New Mexico. See Reason Foundation’s commentary on a similar proposal for California here.
Here is a great idea for New Mexico. If you don’t think eligibility requirements for various welfare programs are complex, then you should spend a little time navigating around here and here and here. Get the idea about the cumbersome system that Texas’s streamlining is attempting to reduce?
As an added benefit Texas style streamlining may give us insights into how to fix incentive problems. For more on welfare incentives look here (pp. 12-19).