Oil companies pump up the prices
People who remember the infamous Arab oil embargo and U.S. oil companies' subsequent opportunistic fleecing of the American public at the gas pumps in the 1970s have to look at the recent hefty hike in the price of gasoline with a jaundiced eye.
The oil companies' "reasons" for the increase are: 1) a cold winter in the North diverted oil into home heating products instead of gasoline, and 2) oil companies kept reserves to a minimum and refrained from buying long-term contracts because they were "afraid" Iraq would be allowed to sell oil in order to buy food during a temporary respite from the U.N. embargo.
If all this sounds as phony as "you-know-what" to you, you aren't alone. The weather is cold in the North EVERY year. Home heating device production increases in the fall and winter EVERY year.
As far as argument No. 2 goes, a temporary lifting of the Iraqi embargo will not upset the world oil market for anyone except the oil companies. If Iraqi oil flowed into the world market, the price of gasoline would theoretically go DOWN. So, what we are really seeing is an artificial inflation, a situation created by the oil companies with the sole purpose of driving gasoline prices UP.
The major U.S. oil companies don't have a reputation for doing things that are good for the public. Americans stood in line every other day to buy gas during the "Arab oil embargo," and those who found themselves suddenly paying 15 to 30 cents more per gallon of gas later discovered that the oil companies played a major part in "creating" the gasoline shortage. By the time Americans realized the oil "shortage" was artificial and had allowed the oil companies to reap huge profits at the expense of the American motorist, it was too late.
In cities like Houston, motorists are at the mercy of the oil companies because our elected officials, wooed by the money of the gasoline lobby, refuse to invest money in solving the transportation problems with expanded mass transit. So when prices shoot up, we have no alternative but to buy higher-priced gas, or stay home.
But on the highways, we are just at the mercy of the oil companies ... and we all know they have NO mercy.
Isn't it a strange coincidence that these "oil shortages" and the accompanying price gouging always seem to occur just before schools let out for the summer, when families will begin their vacations, mostly by automobile? And if you think the price of gas is steep in Houston, take your heart pills with you when you and your family drive off in the direction of places like Yellowstone National Park this summer.