Saturday, May 24, 2008

Cold-Blooded Profiteering by Oil Companies

On the eve of Memorial Day weekend here in San Jose, California, I paid $4.07 for a gallon of gas. In the distant past, I used to fill up the tank for avoiding frequent stops at the pump. Those were the days when almost every weekend in summer I would drive to the rocky shores of Point Lobos, the boardwalk in Santa Cruz or the redwood forests that ring my city. Now filling up half a tank requires planning and several peeks into the wallet.

What I find outrageous about the skyrocketing gas prices is the lack of media outrage. You open the daily papers and read about the terrible toll a sliding economy is taking on Americans but there is no word on the huge profits the oil companies are raking in. Yes, the price of oil rose to $135 per barrel this week and the end is nowhere in sight but consider this: Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Shell, BP America and ConocoPhillips made a profit of $36 billion in profits in the first three months of this year alone. That’s $36 billion in PROFITS in just 3 months.

Has there been a more blatant display of greed and cruel indifference to consumers by the oil companies? In case you missed it, their profit last year was $123 billion when crude was selling at less than $70 a barrel. And if your blood is still not boiling, consider this: The GOP-led Congress has given the oil industry a $18-billion tax break. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., summed it up when he said the idea of subsidizing the oil industry at time when it is reaping huge profits is absurd. "If you were going to give awards for taxpayer abuse, this would win the Heisman and the Oscar and the Nobel Prize," he said.

With staggering profits filling their coffers, the oil companies still fight for the last penny with gas station owners who sell their brand across the country. If a Mobil station owner, for instance, raises gas price by a penny, his cash register automatically transmits the information to Mobil's central computers. The result? Exxon raises the wholesale price to the dealer by the same amount. You raise the price to pay the rent, you pay, your fate be damned. Such are the ways of these modern mercenaries.

But nary a word from mainstream media on the brazen gouging by oil companies and their bottomless greed, other than empty lamentations about the hardship of Americans during a lean economy.

Is there anything you and I can do? Yes. Cut down on long road trips. Stay home. Share thoughts that we meant to, but never got around to, with family and friends. Play with our kids. Grow a vegetable patch and reduce the grocery bill. Read that classic in the backyard instead of at the beach. Any activity that does not require the use of a car is a good activity.

And let’s mobilize a march down main street against the inhuman and cold-blooded profiteering by the oil companies.

1 comment:

groetzinger said...

Just another part of the Bush and Republican party legacy.Who do you think was at McCain's fundraiser that was held behind closed doors?