The fallacy of $2.00 per gallon

If life was a movie, this whole $2.00 plus a gallon for gas would be some great, big conspiracy. You know, throw the gullible public some “minor” problem to mask the greater and more insidious machinations of a corrupt government. It would be the surface peel of an onion that is very rotten–quite pungent–with each successive layer our hero would pry away.

Or…the whole thing would be some form of mind control. You know, get the masses to move beyond some psycholigical barrier–like $2.00 for a gallon of gas. Once you get them to accept that, who knows what they’ll buy, eh? You’re home free.

Then again…this isn’t a movie we’re in…is it?

I was listening to NPR in the car yesterday. They had some guy on from some non-partisan Washington think tank (no pun intended) that focuses on energy resources. The guy confirmed what I knew all along. The reason why our gas prices are so high is that the companies that pull it out of the ground and the companies that refine it are making more money per gallon of gas created (representing over $1.40 of the price of a gallon of gas that costs $2.00) than they did in years past. In a nutshell, they are enjoying record profits.

All of this, while the poor guys who pumps the stuff are making no more than 5 to 10 cents on each gallon sold. No wonder why they stock everything else in their stores. Gas is definitely a loss leader! And these margins are being squeezed even tighter. Further, we, the gas-buying public, experience our sticker shock at the retail outlet–not the oil well or the refinery–so we blame the guys pumping the gas for our fiscal misfortune.

It isn’t, however, all the oil guys’ fault. Studies show that, in spite of record-high gas prices, people are still buying gas-guzzling cars and actually driving MORE. One needs to ask, my fellow Americans, what’s up with that? Back in the 1970s, didn’t we call something kinda like this an energy crisis?

Think about it. Do you want your pocket book–and more, so much more–to be held hostage by oil companies, refineries, OPEC, et al., whose pockets are bulging with more and more of the fruits of your labor? I certainly hope not.

A week or so ago, I heard about a gas boycott that was supposedly going on. I guess it was perhaps on the news, but I didn’t hear about it. Luckily, someone mentioned it to me while I was standing in line at the grocery store. I had taken my bike there…whew! So…I decided regardless of whether the guy was right or wrong, I would go ahead and leave the Jeep and the Saturn in the driveway that day.

I’m thinking that another one of those days would be good soon. Maybe a week. Other countries do it–go on some sort of strike our boycott to show solidarity for a cause. Why not us? Is it because we don’t want to give up our creature comforts, even if it means sacrifice a little of our own flesh every time we fail to take action against some governmental or corporate injustice that is being perpetrated against us? Of course…when we start talking about stuff like that, we’re not just talking about gas anymore, are we? One might be tempted to ask, at this moment, do we live in a democracy or a consumerocracy.

And don’t think I’m acting the pot calling the kettle black. I’m right there with you folks. I’m the worst of the worst when it comes to standing up and being counted. Hell, I’m sitting here writing this thing IN MY FREAKIN’ RECLINER! Geeze!

For my part, though, I think I’m gonna get up out of the recliner. Start remembering what two great presidents–one real, one ficticious–said:

JFK — “Ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.”

Andrew Sheperd (THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT) — “Everybody knows (being) American isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight.”

Soon as I can, I’m getting me one of those hybrid cars. Yikes. And I am BIKING to Dunn Bros. today.

…Then there’s this little thing about some war in Iraq.

…And then there’s the Phillips neighborhood in Minneapolis.

Hmm….

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