The number one subject these days seems to be gasoline prices and fuel prices in general. It’s a long ugly story of corporate greed.

Oil Companies claim that they need more money to do research and development to find more oil and better ways to handle and refine it. Over the years they have been given God only knows how many *BILLIONS* in tax breaks and incentives to do just that.

They tell us that there is a shortage of supply, that for a whole host of seemingly logical reasons, there just isn’t enough to go around. Then there is talk of scares because of Iran developing Nuclear weapons or Nigeria having internal problems that interfere with oil production and delivery.

It’s a given, no matter WHAT the situation, that oil companies will find SOME reason to explain away the ever rising price of fuel. And John and Jane Q public is expected to simply accept these explanations and continue forking over more and more per gallon of fuel every day.

…And now the latest word about their profits is all over the news. Are they in trouble because of the “problems” that they keep feeding us this line about? Are they having financial problems because they’re spending every cent they can on coming up with an answer to the need for fuel and the rising price?

NO. They are not.

They are in fact, reporting *ALL TIME RECORD PROFITS*. Once CEO recently got a severance package worth almost FOUR HUNDRED MILLION dollars! Oil companies are not having any financial problems, they’re doing better than everyone because they have the fuel that everyone needs and they’re going to insist on squeezing us for every last cent for as long as they can get away with it.

People have been blaming the President and Congress for oil prices and while I agree that both need to act quickly and definitly, they are ultimately not responsible for the price we pay at the pump. That responsibility falls directly on the oil company executives.

If any other product were sold with a pricing policy like the one used on gasoline sales, the seller would have be hauled into court in a hot second and penalized severely for price gouging. Yet big oil has been doing just that since the so-called oil shortage in 1973 that was allegedly brought on by the arab oil embargo.

When that embargo began, the oil companies suddenly realized that they were sitting on a gold mine (In fact, I personally would not be surprized if the oil companies actually secretly encouraged the embargo.). All they had to do was keep reporting shortages in supply. In the decades since then, there has hardly ever been a time when there wasn’t *some* reason to ‘explain’ the level of fuel prices, nor has there been a lack of potential threats to the supply of crude, particularly the ‘light, sweet crude’ that is considered the best for making gasoline.

OPEC, internal difficulties of one kind or another in various oil producing countries: Venuzuala, Nigeria, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the list goes on and on. Despite years and years of talk about developing more oil resources and reducing America’s dependance on foriegn oil, the new resources never seem to appear.

Over the years they have driven up the price of fuel. It was done just slowly enough to keep Joe and Jane public from noticing what was going on. People didn’t complain too much because it looked like the price of everything was going up and gasoline was just one of them. Plus there is that seemingly never ending supply of reasons why we need to be told there is a shortage or that the price has to go up yet again.

What wasn’t noticed however is that the general rise in prices for nearly everything can be traced back to the rise in fuel prices. Manufacturers need to pay higher fuel costs to move their products. That cost is passed on to wholesalers who pass that cost, plus their own increased fuel expense to the customers. Then the price of fuel increases again and we start the cycle over again.

This continues over nearly four decades. Once in a while the price of fuel does drop, but the reduction in price is never back to it’s original level and then soon rises to the level of what was originally a spike in prices, which then becomes a new average price.

There are two reasons for this. Greed and Power. Greed can be seen easily when oil companies keep raising prices and then post record profits while the little guy is shafted. Power because all those hundreds of billions of dollars can buy an amazing level of influence. When you can overwhelm somebody with how much money you can pay them, or devastate them with nearly unlimited resources to fight them, people will do what you want nearly every time.

It’s time that the oil companies were stopped. It’s time that the American people demanded that something be done. The price of gasoline needs to return to an acceptable level, no more than $1.50 per gallon and preferrably somewhere around $0.50 per gallon.

To be truely effective, this penalty against the oil companies needs to be applied not just in the U.S., but worldwide. The people of every nation need to let big oil know that they’re done with it.

I can’t help thinking of a line from the movie ‘Network’ that is most apprpriate to this situation.

“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

I can just see it now, That phrase appears on T-shirts, Bumper stickers, Billboards, magazine and newspaper advertizements and more. It starts getting heard in public and shows up in graffiti.

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