Refinery impact claims don’t hold up

An effort by a state senator to help lower gasoline prices in Michigan seems simplistic and naive to us.

Last week, state Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, proposed legislation to attract a new, small refinery to Michigan. The proposed legislation would offer the refinery a 10-year property tax and business tax abatement as a carrot to locate in the state.

Saying the refinery would make gasoline for the Michigan market, Jones credits his inspiration to the frustration in Lansing with fuel prices that skyrocket periodically.

“I’m responding to my constituents; I’m trying to do something,” Jones said in an Associated Press article.

Although his goals are admirable, the legislation proposed by Senator Jones won’t come close to accomplishing what he wants. In fact, thinking one small refinery will impact gasoline prices statewide is just plain naive.

We are all frustrated with the high and fluctuating price of fuel. It impacts everyone – from the motorists filling up their tanks to consumers paying higher prices for products because the increased cost of transporting them is added on. The reasons the price of gasoline rises seem almost mystifying to most people. Many things impact them – most which are completely out of anyone’s control. Refinery shutdown/repair, the weather, political turmoil overseas, market speculation and a host of other factors all play a role from time to time on the price we pay at the pump.

What Jones is doing is admirable – trying to do something to combat rising gasoline costs. Should his legislation pass, it will help whatever area the refinery is located in by creating jobs and boosting the economy there. That’s good for Michigan.

Will this legislation make an impact on gasoline prices in Delta County, the Upper Peninsula, or the rest of Michigan? Absolutely not. The addition of one small refinery shouldn’t be toted as a solution to high gasoline prices in Michigan.

Let’s be realistic.