Sunday, September 23, 2012

Gas. Why so much?

It’s that time again, my annual rant against gas prices. Once again, prices have soared as we near record highs of the year. As always, the question is, what the hell? Why the increase?

At least one spokesman for the American Automobile Association had the refreshingly good sense to admit, “We haven’t a clue.”

Let’s look at the excuses from the past and present:

         Hurricanes halts production in the Gulf.

Granted, Isaac shut down a few refineries for a few days and they are, as the media reports, “slow to restart.” Umm, have these people never dealt with hurricanes before? Are there no backup plans? No spare parts on the shelf?  Keep in mind, it doesn’t take an actual hurricane to slow production, a single black cloud over Cuba will do it.

         Tension in the Middle East.

Gee, that’s the first time that’s ever happened, huh? Iran and Israel are rattling sabers? Wow. Unheard of. Yet, this rerun excuse is trotted out each and every summer as the cause of higher prices. A slightly new twist blames the recent riots because some loony film maker insulted the Prophet Muhammad and given yet another excuse for every flag-burning extremist over there to riot and murder. However, I did not see where any refineries were torched.

         The refineries have to shift to a summer blend which means added costs.

Oh, poor babies. BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell—earned a combined $33.5 billion, or $368 million per day, during the first quarter of 2012. Recall that these companies made a combined record profit of $137 billion in 2011, mostly due to high oil and gasoline prices. Think they could find it in their hearts to forego a little profit in the interest of the country's economy? Hah!

      It’s Obama’s fault.

     That’s the latest one. News flash! The President does not set the price of oil.
     But we all know the real reason for the outlandish prices don’t we? It’s the boys on Wall Street and their ilk, the speculators, the pirates that bid the price up on the slightest whim or rumor.  We pay and somebody profits while these boys sit back in their chairs and try to come with unique excuses. Actually, they’re not even trying for originality anymore, they don’t have to. Any old reason will do. And if they can't think of one, raise the prices anyway. 

This just in: Tulsa World, 9-20-2012. Oil prices lower for 3rd consecutive day.
Why? What changed? Did the Mid-East sign a peace treaty? Did the lone black cloud over the Gulf dissipate? No. As one analyst explained, traders are taking profits after oil dropped below $100 a barrel.

Taking profits? Profits? Really? Suddenly, it all becomes clear.

And this: Crude inventories rose three times more than analysts expected.  

Three times? Poor judgment? I think not. Can’t we just see these bloodsuckers analysts sitting in their high rise Manhattan apartments? “Boy, we missed that one didn’t we? snicker, snicker. Sorry about that folks. Our bad.” At which point they all fall to the floor on their thousand dollar a yard carpet, spilling their drinks, and laughing hysterically.

Back in the day when I worked for Ma Bell, the Corporation Commission set the amount of profit that the company could earn because we were deemed to be a “monopoly.” Guess what. Despite the restriction, Southwestern Bell ( now AT&T... again) was and is one of the most successful companies in the United States.

 I think it’s high time we appointed a commission to set the price of oil. When one product can so drastically effect the lives of the entire population, there needs to be an oversight group than can stand up and say, “Hey, enough is enough. You can earn a fair profit, pay your employees, explore for new oil, and satisfy your stock holders, but you can not continue to hijack the American public. We are sick of your obscene profits at our expense and we’re not gonna’ take it anymore.”

Now some people may claim: you don’t understand how the oil business works. You don’t have your facts straight. Maybe, but our politicians aren’t bothered with any inconvenient truth, why should I be any different?

Until next year.

1 comment:

  1. I whole heartedly agree. I know they now talk also about exploration expense....which they've always had, so what's up with that? But who is setting the price of a barrell? the middle east? or are our companies raising the price when it gets here?


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