Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Beyond Comprehension

It still amazes me how no one can ever, ever get to the bottom of the simultaneous and overnight 30 cents a gallon gasoline price increases at every gas station in town. No matter how many stories are written, how many blog posts are posted, how many calls to talk shows are made, no one can ever explain this phenomenon. All we are told that it’s just market forces (or some version of that) and not to worry our pretty little heads.


rickmonday said...

Yes, this really ticked me off. But it just wasnt in spfld. Monday night I was going to fill up at Thorntons for $3.51, but I figured I would wait until Tuesday morning.

Before heading back to Chicago on Tuesday I checked and saw that prices in Bloomington were $3.55 at 7am so I figured I would just make a pit stop there. By the time I got to Bloomington they had already gone up to $3.91.

JeromeProphet said...

One thing I know is that a former supervisor managed a gasoline station. She admitted to me that she would call up other gasoline stations to find out what their prices were, and then she'd adjust her station's prices.

She said everyone in town did the same thing, and that they'd call over to her station to ask what she was charging.

It's not illegal to call, but it is illegal to conspire to fix your prices. It's uncompetitive, and is a violation of antitrust laws.

But they all do it, and no one ever gets caught, no one ever gets prosecuted, and when some big wig higher up is brought before a committee they just stick to their stories about refinery capacity, and no one is ever fined, let alone indicted.

Oil, in a word, is King.

If this were a hundred and thirty years ago we'd be seeing members of congress sucking up to executives in the whale oil business, because if it weren't for whale oil how would we read from our lamps at night - candles? Don't make me laugh, no one wants to go back to having to depend upon candles!

And one day, the people in the future will look back at our time, and see our leaders for the corrupt on the take cronies that they are, and they'll say, Oh my God, they were willing to wage wars for the stuff, they were willing to destroy the environment for the stuff, they were willing to base their entire economy on oil - and they'll shake their heads just like we do when we think about how some whale oil king was telling congress what to do way back when.

Nothing will be done about the price of oil, or the price of gasoline. We can hope, and pray that the stuff reaches such high prices that auto manufacturers design plug in hybrids, and that wind, solar, and biofuels replace the evil stuff.

rickmonday said...


Although oil has more than its fair share of negatives, it also provides a lot of good in our world.

From ambulances, to hospitals, to heat for our homes and shelters. In general, our lives are better off than if we had no oil.

Of course we do need to get off of it as alternatives become available. But I dont see a legitimate alternative hitting the market on a widespread basis anytime within the next 10 years.

Regarding your wish for high prices, I am against that. High prices in oil, drive high prices in almost every other industry. Too much of our disposable income now goes to gas and heating oil prices.

Demand has actually decreased this past summer and the price of oil is near $100 again. Still too high in my mind. Opec said they will be cutting production by 500,000 barrels a day. This should cause a rise in price unless someone else can increase output.

geek_guy said...

The earliest cars ran on ethyl alcohol. Alcohol was used for lighting, cooking and industry (and hospitals). From 1862 to 1864 the tax and spend Republican Lincon raised taxes on alcohol to pay for the civil war. People then switched to petroleum based fuels, almost overnight.

So Rick, we could have had an alcohol based society. Yes, we ran into problems recently switching from food crops to alcohol crops, but that happened over a year or 2. If we were an alcohol based society, we would have developed different sources of it, and the food crops would not have been so hurt. And the great part would have been no need for middle-east islamofascist oil!

rickmonday said...


Wow, I agree with you.

But what will it take to make it happen.

I attended a sales conference 8 years ago where the head of NASA control for the Apollo 13 Mission was the guest speaker. I was shocked when he mentioned that the lunar capsule back then (early 70s I think) ran on hydrogen fuel cells

blevins said...

Oh my friggin god: Geek & Rick agree on something?!? I call for unfettered dancing in the streets!

And geek, did you just sully Lincoln's (the tax and spend Republican Lincon raised taxes on alcohol to pay for the civil war.) reputation as a do-no-wrong, all good man-god? Pretty sure the good people of Springfield aren't gonna like thinks it's time for a good ole fashioned tar & featherin....

And JP, have you lost your Lars Larson/Rush Limbaugh handbook? The reason why gas prices are so high is because of that darned ethanol...which coincidentally is the cause for the high food prices. Next time you are at the pump punch the next farmer that stops in and say "thank you for nuthin," and continue pumping gas and feel good knowing that you are helping those poor destitute oil executives. They too have had to make cut-backs; particularly on goose livers.

geek_guy said...

I was surprised nobody accused me of blaming Abe for 9/11.

In all seriousness, the oil is high because the dollar is weak. We are using credit cards (China) to finance our deficits from Iraq war. There is instability in the ME, Iraq War. Administrations didn't push for higher MPG vehicles because the OIL/Car lobby were bribing politicians. We switched rapidly to ethanol because the Corn/Farm lobby bribed politicians. Without regulations, our oil is being sold to the highest foreign bidder. That's what you get for (s)electing Oil Execs. The other day I was reading about all our Alaskan Natural Gas being sold to Japan.

re high food prices: I said Yes, we ran into problems recently switching from food crops to alcohol crops, but that happened over a year or 2. If we were an alcohol based society, we would have developed different sources of it, and the food crops would not have been so hurt.

rickmonday said...

Geek, or anyone else:

I heard an interview last night about 11:30 on Air America. I didnt catch the host's name but they were talking to their Air America Host in Alaska. They were trying to disparage Palin, but they got sidetracked on the use of Natural Gas.

We have over 35 Trillion cubic feet of natural gas on the North Slope of one of Alaska's mountain ranges. Supposedly this gas is clean burning and can be used in cars as is today.

So, what is going on here? Is natural gas really a true alternative? How volatile is it? Will it blow up if you get in a fender bender?

On the show, they said it would cost about $2.20 a gallon.

Does anyone know the upside and downside of Natural Gas?

Supposedly Exxon and other big oil companies have held leases on large Natural Gas reserves for more than 30 years without doing anything. If this is true, why hasnt any congress or President forced, in the national interest, forced the companies to harvest it?

geek_guy said...

Check out, he is the swiftboat of lies funder and oil baron, his plan is to put windmills in Texas and use natural gas in cars. It is being used in busses and cars in EU now.

My understanding is natural gas is deeper then oil. As for greenhouse gasses, natural gas is "cleaner" not "clean". According to the Bu$h-ran EPA website

At the power plant, the burning of natural gas produces nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide, but in lower quantities than burning coal or oil. Methane, a primary component of natural gas and a greenhouse gas, can also be emitted into the air when natural gas is not burned completely. Similarly, methane can be emitted as the result of leaks and losses during transportation. Emissions of sulfur dioxide and mercury compounds from burning natural gas are negligible.

The average emissions rates in the United States from natural gas-fired generation are: 1135 lbs/MWh of carbon dioxide, 0.1 lbs/MWh of sulfur dioxide, and 1.7 lbs/MWh of nitrogen oxides.1 Compared to the average air emissions from coal-fired generation, natural gas produces half as much carbon dioxide, less than a third as much nitrogen oxides, and one percent as much sulfur oxides at the power plant.2 In addition, the process of extraction, treatment, and transport of the natural gas to the power plant generates additional emissions.

And like oil, it is non-renewable. We, and Russia, have "plenty" for now and I would rather this be the result then "drill, drill, drill" for oil.

My opinion: We should use it in our homes and in power plants, I'm iffy of the car thing because of the mileage range and the costs to upgrade "gas stations" to do natural gas, too.