Thursday, April 27, 2006

WaPo rips bush on gas prices.

The Washington Post has a really good editorial today and everything in it is pretty much the truth. Unfortunately, it wasn't all the truth. They let the oil companies slide. And believe me that is a big omission.

NO DOUBT IT makes everyone feel better when the president states his concern
for Americans, who are now paying more than $3 a gallon for gasoline.
Unfortunately, the measures President Bush chose to announce this week to combat
high prices are either meaningless or possibly dangerous in the long run, even
if they do offer a bit of temporary relief. For example, just talking publicly
about "price gouging" can spook gasoline providers into slightly lowering
prices. And maybe it's useful to inspire state officials to start looking harder
for crooks, given that price gouging is defined at the state level, not by the
federal government. But in the long term, such talk encourages the public to
believe that evil price gougers are responsible for higher pump prices, when the
real culprits are global economic growth, increased demand and Americans' own
large cars.

And he could have used his statutory authority to raise automobile fuel
economy standards or persuaded Congress to find other ways to improve mileage
per gallon of U.S. vehicles. Again, if he were completely honest, the president
would tell Americans that the main reason fuel prices are higher in this country
is because demand is growing -- and one reason for growing demand is that people
drive inefficient cars. They drive inefficient cars because public policy, long
shaped by the president and by Congress, has made it advantageous to do so.
Until that changes, little else will.

What they didn't seem to want to tell you is that the few big oil companies that control supply and pricing, have been playing us for fools and doing a damn good job of it.

The campaign to avoid responsibility for high gas prices is much like the
campaign to avoid responsibility for global warming. Big Oil pays off an army of
think tanks like Heritage and AEI to tell the public that big, bad
environmentalists and consumer advocates are to blame for not letting them build
more refineries. And to be sure, more refineries could indeed mean cheaper gas.
But it's Big Oil that's been keeping its refinery capacity down, not

The Foundation for Taxpayer
and Consumer Rights
has a handful of internal memos from Texaco, Chevron, and Mobil, all dated
from the 1990s, detailing company plans to purposely reduce refining capacity to
raise profits. The plan worked. From 1999 to 2004, American
refiners increased their profits by a whopping 80%
, from nearly $0.23 to
$0.41 per gallon of gasoline. From the beginning of 1999 to the end of 2004, the
retail price of gasoline went from about $0.98 to $1.84 per gallon.

Oddly enough, the Washington Post knew this last September.

When the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline peaked at $3.07 recently,
it was partly because the nation's refineries were getting an estimated 99 cents
on each gallon sold. That was more than three times the amount they earned a
year ago when regular unleaded was selling for $1.87.

OK WaPo, in the future let's try to get the whole story out and not just half of it. People might think you're knuckling under to Big Petro.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't a Bush Oil Plan like Colonel Sanders promising better treatment for chickens?
    Peter Leon- Tampa, Florida


I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.

John Stuart Mill (May 20 1806 – May 8 1873)