BP official: fuel prices will stay high if demand stays high | TahoeDailyTribune.com

BP official: fuel prices will stay high if demand stays high

CARSON CITY – The new regional president of the company that purchased Atlantic Richfield Co. doesn’t expect gasoline prices to drop as long as demand remains high and oil sells for $30 a barrel.

”It’s a matter of supply and demand,” said Robert Malone, western regional president of BP, the company formerly known as British Petroleum. ”The demand is up significantly now with SUVs (sport utility vehicles). And look at global oil prices.”

He pointed out that when oil sold for $9 a barrel a year and a half ago, gasoline sold for less than $1 a gallon. Now oil brings $33 a barrel. He could not guess what will happen next in Saudi Arabia, Iraq and other oil producing nations.

But he added Tuesday that these nations could meet their legitimate needs if they sold oil for $18 to $22 a barrel.

Nonetheless, Malone said Arco will continue to sell gasoline at ”competitive prices.” The company traditionally has sold gasoline for less than other major brands.

”We continue to make that our strategy,” said Malone.

BP bought Arco last April. The company sells 22 percent of the gasoline in Nevada.

While BP also acquired Amoco stations in the Midwest and will put its BP name on stations there, Malone said there are no plans to switch brand names in Nevada.

BP is the world’s second-largest producer of oil. In the United States, it produces more natural gas than any other company and also is the nation’s largest producer of solar panels.

In northern Nevada, BP also owns closed Anaconda mine sites near Yerington and south of Minden that potentially are hazardous.

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