Pump Prices Perturbing? It’s Time For ANTI-OPEC!
For several years now, I’ve been explaining that it’s the U.S. oil companies, not “supply and demand,” Foreign Oil, or any other flimsy fiction, causing gas prices to be so high. Just 4 years ago, (starting 3 months before the last time the nation went to the polls,) petrol plunged at the pumps. In northern New Mexico, the price of regular unleaded was down below $2.29 a gallon. Other places in the nation saw gas even lower than that. I wondered then how the oil baron president, G.W. Bush, managed to get the prices to drop so dramatically, in order to make his GOP party’s candidates look more electable. Slowly, they’ve been edging up since then. Senator Bernie Sanders (D, VT) wrote that it was at $5 a gallon in some places this past week. Here in S.Cal, we’re paying about $4 a gallon… and the simple truth is that it is the same gas we were buying 4 years ago for $2.29, last month for $3.35.
EDIT: As of 3/8/2012, just 3 weeks later, we’re now at $4.25-$4.50 per gallon in S. Cal.
Another examination about four years ago demonstrated that the higher gas prices being blamed on OPEC were only happening here in the States. In Mexico, the exact same gasoline (even made in the same El Paso refineries) was $1.58 a gallon cheaper. Excuses were offered, of course, but the bottom line is that, according to the increases in the price of crude oil, Mexico was paying exactly — down to the penny — what they should be for that increase (relative to the increased base cost of the product) while we in the States were being hosed… again.
The bottom line is that it isn’t the oil producing countries which cause the majority of our woes. Pump prices are being manipulated right here at home by our own giant corporations. Still not convinced? Think about the way prices go up at the pump on holidays, but drop on Sunday afternoon, before the work week begins again. The excuse is “Oh, it’s a matter of supply and demand,” and like dumb sheeple, we soldier on, accepting whatever line we’ve been fed. So long as they give us SOME explanation, we accept the extra rip off, and dig deeper to help them gain tens of BILLIONS in profits a year — AND tax breaks that allow them to pay next to nothing on those profits! But have you noticed that there’s never actually a gas shortage? I remember when there was a real gas shortage in the 70′s. Many stations closed up while they were out of gas, and the ones that still had fuel had lines blocks (and an hour or more) long to fill up. THAT was a gas shortage. Holidays are just an excuse to rake in some extra profit because we have plans to drive. They may as well have said “Oh, it’s Tuesday” as given us that line about Supply and Demand.
Over the years, there have been various petitions to tell the oil companies that we’re not going to take it any more — each of them more laughable than the last. “Don’t buy gas on November 10th — WE’LL show em!” Right. So everybody fills up on November 9th, and they make as much or more as they would have otherwise. Yeah, that’s really showing ‘em, huh? A more damaging campaign would have been to not DRIVE that day… but we lack the courage of our convictions. Few would have actually participated in that protest.
Here in the U.S., there seems to be an unspoken honor amongst the thieves that dig ever deeper into our wallets at the pump. According to Bart Chilton, a commissioner at the Commodity Utilities Trading Commission, Wall Street has their hands in the pie as well — up to their elbows! Chilton calculates that if you drive a car like a Honda Civic, you’re paying $7.30 more than you should every time you fill up. If you drive a Ford Explorer it’s an extra $10.41. Got a Ford F150? Then you’re paying an extra $14.56 per fill-up. That’s $750 a year — to Wall Street speculators. Talk a reason to Occupy Wall Street!
There is some culpability owed to foreign oil. Oil-producing nations can band together to fix prices (in part simply by controlling the rate of production — or lack thereof). And therein lies our solution: Anti-OPEC. Just as they can set prices on what they will sell for, and how much oil they will produce, we can set prices on how much we’ll buy and how much we’ll pay. Just as it takes some spine on their part to stick to the price-setting, it takes spine on our part, and solidarity. We could have the price of crude oil back down to $60 a barrel in no time, if we simply refused to buy it for any more. WARNING: They might very well refuse to sell at that price, in which case we might actually see a real Supply & Demand situation. But they won’t do it for long, for the following reasons:
1) They like the money from that black gold, but couldn’t care less about keeping the stuff itself.
2) They were already being made very wealthy at prices far lower than $60 a barrel.
3) If they hold out too much or long, we’ll start finding alternative energy and transportation solutions, and then they’re the ones who are hosed at the pump.
It doesn’t have to stop with OPEC. In fact, it shouldn’t. As I’ve explained, OPEC aren’t the only villains. The prices we’re paying now, supposedly higher because of nervousness about Iran, have nothing to do with OPEC and everything to do with price manipulation. NERVOUSNESS shouldn’t cost us one red cent. It doesn’t cost them anything, so why are we paying so much more than we were a month ago? Oh, that’s right. $10B a year in profits — each! Come on, people, say it with me: SCREW THAT!
Price setting isn’t a one-way street. We can also tell THEM how much we’re willing to pay. In fact, we do it all the time… unwittingly. The key to Anti-OPEC is in CONSCIOUSLY, INTENTIONALLY telling them what we’ve decided the market will bear. Can you do that? Can you forgo that extra trip to the store? Can you simply drive less when the gas is crazy expensive? WILL YOU? Will you take public transportation whenever possible, rather than obeying the habit of just jumping in the car? Offer to ridepool. Ask your neighbor if they need anything from the store, help THEM stop feeding the Pump Demon.
We are not powerless. We DO have a say. The Occupy movement is very powerful… and it starts with Occupying your wallet! Then tell Congress you’re mad as hell and you’re not going to take it any more. Don’t blame the President. Unless he has oil holdings like Bush did, he isn’t the one in charge of that. Congress is. Tell them to take the futures trading of Wall Street in hand. Tell them to stop the tax loopholes for mega-corps, especially those in the oil industry. Make sure they understand that if they don’t do something about it, we’ll replace them with someone who will.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do: Pass the link to this post along to your friends. Post it. Share it. Shout it from the mountaintops (if you have any where you live)! Together, we can make a very big difference.