Why Are Indiana Gas Prices So High?

Indianapolis has hit a record high, with an average price of $4.21 a gallon. Stations in and around the city have gas priced at $4.29 a gallon on Monday, and that price appeared to be holding steady on Tuesday. I paid $4.29 yesterday and purchased $25 worth – which wasn’t much!

Indiana’s average price is seventh-highest in the country. Well above the national average of $3.97 a gallon, according to AAA.

States also battling higher than average prices are: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois and Michigan.

On WRTV 6 News yesterday, Butler economics professor Bill Reiber said he believes prices in Indiana are high because the state’s economy is doing better than others. "The retail owners realize that, and they’re much more able to raise the prices in this state with the economy stronger."

Apparently retail owners are listening to the ‘inflated numbers’ version of jobs as cited by Mitch Daniels and his job creation agency.

In January, WTHR reported the Indiana Economic Development Corporation had conducted an intense audit to examine how state job numbers were collected, tracked and accounted. The numbers presented were a serious contrast to those reported by Daniels.

According to the report, projects were expected to create 44,208 jobs by late 2010 and, based on the information available to auditors, had actually resulted in 37,640 actual jobs – a realization rate of 85%.

That doesn’t seem so bad and obviously retailers didn’t think so either – I think the gas prices are a pretty good indicator of that.

As the investigation dug a little deeper, the number of new jobs the agency had anticipated by the end of 2010 is 57,088 (not 44,208), according to the report. Using that figure, IEDC’s job realization rate is 66%.

Not quite so good. But wait, it gets better!

The big question has been, why did IEDC boast of 800 companies that would bring 98,683 jobs to Indiana in its press releases and annual reports, but then omit 200 of those companies from its jobs data when calculating its job realization numbers?

IEDC and the governor have repeatedly promoted in their press releases, speeches and annual reports 98,683 total new job commitments from 2005 to 2009 – the audit data suggests, only 38% of jobs announced by IEDC have resulted in actual jobs.

Not quite the picture of economical bliss they would have us believe.

According to these particular reports, the governor repeatedly declined requests to discuss this issue. Eventually he was confronted with the findings, Gov. Daniels claimed most of the state’s job commitments had turned into jobs. "We audit all the time. We’re getting about 92% compliance, fulfillment, of the jobs that are committed."

At the same time, Mitch Roob was quoted "We believe about 87% [of job commitments] have actually or are in the process of coming to realization."

Based on months of research and tracking companies statewide, the state’s actual realization rate was likely closer to 60% — far below the numbers cited by the governor and IEDC.

I’m not drinking that Kool-Aid and fellow Hoosiers shouldn’t either.

All anyone has to do is look around and see the numbers are obviously inflated. Obviously retailers are wearing very selfish blinders and going along with the fairytale being spun by Indiana officials.

Fortunately for me, I work from home so the prices don’t exactly impact my personal wallet much – however, my family and friends feel the hit deeply and that makes me want to speak out because this is a man who is looking toward a possible Presidential run?

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