Kurtz…

Just a thought

Chuck Kurtz

Chuck Kurtz

In the past two weeks, the price of crude oil has hovered between $50 and $52 a barrel. That’s dramatically down from the $60 to $62 a barrel that it had been when the price gasoline ranged from $2.73 to $2.79 a gallon.

Also in the past two weeks, the price of gasoline slowly decreased to around $2.65 to $2.66 a gallon. That is where it was last night (June 16) about 6:30 when I passed the local gas station on the way home.

This morning, it had jumped to $2.77 a gallon.

My jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

I was flabbergasted!

Bewildered!

Stunned!

And then simply pissed off!

Don’t even try asking why. Most folks, me included, don’t have a clue. Those folks who should know, elected officials, oil officials, even folks in the media, will say they don’t know or enjoy messing with your brain by trying to explain the complexities of making gasoline, plant shutdowns, what price the oil was when purchased months ago, the effects of speculators, events taking place in the Middle East, and on…and on…and on.

I’m tired, and embarrassed for, folks in the media, especially the broadcast media, spending time and wasting video telling me what the price of a gallon of gas is in the area and that the price is either increasing or decreasing.

Hell, I know what the price is everytime I fill up my car or drive past a gas station! Tell me something I don’t know, like why the price is fluctuating and don’t give me any of those spoon-fed, standard industry/political excuses.

It gives me a headache just thinking about it.

Seems to me that the oil industry has a pretty good monopoly going on oil and gasoline: No matter where you go, the prices are generally the same and they increase or decrease by the same amount — everywhere. And when the price of oil increases a couple of dollars, overnight prices at the pumps almost automatically get double digit increases.

But when the price of oil goes down, like it has in the past two weeks $10 or more, consumers are supposed to feel good with the paltry one- to two-cent price decline every couple of days.

What a shame. What a sham!

Those of us old enough can remember when oil and gasoline wasn’t a monopoly, when when there were competitions between gas stations and oil companies; when there were price wars. What a real-life lesson in economics: Competition is good for the consumer by keeping prices low.

I also remember when Congress successfully went after AT&T saying it was a monopoly and therefore bad for consumers. AT&T was legally broken up into what was called the “Baby Bells,” of which the old Southwestern Bell, which a few years ago purchased the failing AT&T, was one of the most successful. Today, the “Baby Bells” are gone, Southwestern Bell renamed itself AT&T, and it now competes with the likes of Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Google.

I remember when Congress unsuccessfully went after Microsoft, calling it a monopoly. Congress didn’t succeed in breaking Microsoft up into “Nano-softs,” but it did force the company to give up a microscopic part of the computer programing giant. I’m not even sure that “Nano-soft” is still around.

Now, I realize there are, I think, five oil companies. That’s probably how they get around being called a true monopoly. They also probably get around being charged with price fixing by each one having a slightly different pricing structure. Large corporations have a way of using financially benefiting loopholes in the law.

But is sure would be nice if our elected leaders in Washington, supposedly elected to represent us, would stop flapping their jaws about Obamacare repeal, would stop talking about increasing taxes on a gallon of gasoline, would stop allowing Social Security, Welfare, and educational benefits to illegal immigrants, would significantly secure our borders, and maybe check into why the people they represent are constantly getting ripped off by Big Oil.

But then, I sit back in the chair and stare out the window. That’s never going to happen because while competition between companies is good for the consumer, it’s never good for a politician’s campaign war chest!

3 Responses

  1. how true Chick,

  2. It’s a shame they act like they do because they can.

  3. Great rant, Chuck! I have wondered if the sudden unexplained hikes in gas are related to oil company dividend payments to stockholders.

    Oil isn’t the only thing taking unexplained hikes. I take a simple anti-anxiety med that’s been around for decades….in one month, the cost was raised nearly $100 for 60 pills. All but one pharmacy passed that cost along to the consumer and I figure it won’t be long until they all dig the dough out of my wallet.

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