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Fairly recent.  WTI has faded slowly since the 70's while consumption has gone up up and away.  

Lt. Sweet supplies are indeed a problem.  But i think the current high prices are due to tight gasoline supplies and minimal reduction of demand.  We've had a big shutdown season + a couple of major falldowns.  That has gasoline on fire and therefore has gasoline crudes on fire (pricewise).  Couple that with Nigeria in a real mess and up up and away.

US refiners have been investing heavily in desulph capacity to make ULS Diesel, low S gasoline and to deal with heavier crudes.  But they didn't choose to keep the refining industry capacity in glut like it was from 1983-->2000 ish.

by HiD on Tue May 29th, 2007 at 06:41:24 AM EST
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