The Seattle Times: Opinion: Nation's thirst for gas reaching the limit
For some reason, America's politicians and special-interest groups never mention the limits of oil companies' capacity for making gasoline. The domestic refining industry has not grown significantly for years, and it will probably shrink in years to come. Plant emissions rules, community hostility and a series of money-wasting betrayals by regulators discourage expansion. So does the burden of paying for equipment to make fuels that comply with clean-air rules for a marketplace so competitive that investments do not earn any money. Worse yet, these conditions encourage closure of marginal facilities. Many consumers say they won't cry for the big, rich oil companies. If so, they'll cry for themselves in the gasoline line — or leave the keys in their SUVs, hoping they'll be stolen.