Here's the Scoop: August 22, 2012

Lending a line to Big Oil
Is anyone else a bit skeptical of the “reasons” for constantly changing gas prices? Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to be a cynic about many things — the rate of gas hikes being high up on the list.
I find it just a little odd that posted gas prices often are raised a few times during the course of a single day. Sure, The Man has some prepackaged excuse to explain this phenomenon. But I’m not buying it. Even though I’m paying for it. A lot.

It’s sort of like being at a restaurant and the waitperson announces, “We just heard on the radio that there’s unrest in Columbia that will have an impact on bean prices — we’re going to have to add a quarter to the coffee your just ordered.”

With gas prices, this sort of thing is somehow accepted. Oddly enough, if you listen to industry officials, no one makes any money selling gas — not the station owner, the haulers and certainly not the mega-oil corporations. Weird.

Naturally, there are many reasons for the rapid rises in gas prices — none of them politically motivated! Two fellows arguing over a parking spot in an oil-producing region is enough to spike gas prices 10 percent.

Here at home, we always have to dread the “changeover” from winter to summer blends of gasoline (and vice versa) — that’s always good for a surge in pump prices.

Opps, I should be more careful
Then, of course, we have those pesky “refinery fires.” Sure, we all know petroleum products are flammable — which leads to the question — Why aren’t workers at these places a lot more careful?
There’s a part of me that thinks industry insiders realize that the public will simply shrug off the news of a refinery fire — and never check see that the incident that sent gas prices soaring was actually a trash can fire in a restroom caused by someone sneaking a smoke.

As you may have guessed, I’m no fan of Big Oil. However, as a citizen who is tired of the lame excuses for rising oil and gas prices, I thought I’d help the industry by suggesting a few “new and improved” reasons that officials can use to justify price hikes.

Here they some statements for Big Oil to use:
• People “think” the economy “might” be getting better — so, prices must go up in anticipation of more usage. Oh, wait — that’s a “real” reason being used by Big Oil.
• Use of petroleum products contributes mightily to Global Warming, thus reducing the need for winter heating oil — so we have to charge more to keep profits in line.
• We are creating full-time jobs for people in charge of changing gas station signs.
• We have to jack up gas prices to pay for our anti-solar lobbying efforts.
• Our investors expect us to be greedy. We can’t let them down.
• It’s expensive to diversify and build similar monopolies in natural gas.
• Our CEO had an itchy palm — and that means he’s going to be making more money!
• Then, there’s the old standby — The Truth: We want to rip you off and there’s nothing you can really do about it, because we know you won’t cut back on your consumption.
Wow, that last one was refreshing.
• Wait, I almost forgot — I can’t give these ideas to Big Oil for free. Guess prices will soon be on the rise again! Hey, profits come first.
— Brian Sweeney