|Op-Op-Ed: My Letters
To The Editor rev.09.08.2006
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|8.01.06: Raleigh News & Observer: "Who's to blame for gas prices? Not just oil companies" By Jeff Donn, The Associated Press
"U.S. oil companies blame the global oil market for high gasoline parides, but5 a close analysis of pricing suggests that it's not so simple. The run-up also comes from domestic refining, which is largely controlled by Big Oil. ... The suspicion of frustrated drivers is correct. After moving up, the price of gasoline drops more slowly than the price of oil."
Well, Duh, Jeff! Of course domestic refining is largely controlled by the major US oil companies. Who else? Unlike the simplistic answers offered by the AP, it really is a complex issue. For one, gas retailers have to have enough money from their current sales to buy the next load of gas for their stations' tanks. If supplies are constrained (remember, refining capacity in the US hasn't gone up for about 20 years, while demand has), if the retail dealer is afraid of another gas price spike, they have little choice but to maintain prices a little higher, just for insurance that if another spike comes along, they'll be able to pay for the next, higher-priced tanker load of oil.
I learned this from a friend of mine who owned a hobby shop in the early 80s, during the first "Oil Crisis" when crude's price jumped and prices for all petrochemical derivatives jumped, too. He sold plastic models in his shop. When his suppliers raised prices of the "next shipment" of kits, he went through his store, repricing nearly every item upward. Why? So that he could afford to buy the next shipment and keep his electric bills and rent paid.
What's different between his hobby shop and your local gas merchant? Less than the Associated Press might want you to think.
And finally, for now, if it's Jeff Donn's job to write an article about "Who's to blame for gas prices," who's job is it to write the next logical articles, entitled "Who's to blame for toilet paper prices?" and "Who's to blame for bread prices?" and "Who's to blame for milk prices?" ??? And why isn't Jeff writing those articles? And you thought the "media" doesn't have its own agenda? Ha!
|08.28.2006: To recent writers to the News and Observer who argued for increased mass transit in the Triangle Area of North Carolina:||
Do you support Mass Transit? Buses, light rail, trains, etc.? Do you oppose expanding highway systems? If so, please complete this questionnaire before wasting our time or your breath:
From the Raleigh, NC News & Observer, September 7, 2006 Editorial page:
"U.S. oil production has been declining, according to the federal Energy Information Agency, while domestic oil use has been on the rise. As things stand, only a fraction of the 6 billion barrels of oil used every year in this country come from domestic wells. Importing the Middle East's plentiful oil has been cheaper and more profitable for producers. New oil from the Gulf of Mexico would be unlikely to break our addiction to imported oil.
For that, consumers are going to need a range of transportation options. Ethanol made from switchgrass sounds good, as do cars that can run on electricity. Gasoline will remain an option for many, particularly those who can move closer to their jobs and use less. More people should have the choice of public transportation. The only foolish choice would be counting on some new gusher to bring back cheap gas."
From the Washington Post, Tuesday, July 26, 2005:
Despite repeated calls by President Bush and members of Congress to decrease U.S. dependence on oil imports, a major energy bill that appears headed for passage this week would not significantly reduce the country's need for foreign oil, according to analysts and interest groups.
The United States imports 58 percent of the oil it consumes. Federal officials project that by 2025, the country will have to import 68 percent of its oil to meet demand. At best, analysts say, the energy legislation would slightly slow that rate of growth of dependence.
"We'll be dependent on the global market for more than half our oil for as long as we're using oil, and the energy bill isn't going to change that," said Ben Lieberman, who follows energy issues for the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington. "There's a few measures to increase domestic production . . . and that would not do much."
I'm embarrassed for the sake of the Editors of the N&O. Here's why: