case youre wondering why crude oil prices are down from last year,
hanging around at about $60 a barrel, while gasoline prices have soared
past $3.10/gallon nationwide, just check out the latest profit reports
from the oil companies. They are at record levels. The answer for this
seeming contradiction is simple: Americans are being robbed blind by the
oil industry. Sure, the oil companies, and their PR and lobbying agency,
the American Petroleum Institute, will give you all kinds of reasons for
higher gasoline prices at a time of falling crude prices: problems at
two refineries in Texas and Oklahoma, rising demand or whatever. But the
real answer is that there is simply no competitive market in this industry.
Of course, we "all" love to hate Big Oil,
so it is very human to figure out a way to blame them for this. And somehow,
even FMNN's columnists don't seem to really believe in free markets down
deep in their hearts.
Given that some people are EXTREMELY greedy,
it is hard to imagine that one or more of these groups would not figure
(accurately) that they could make even MORE money for themselves by undercutting
everyone else and breaking the cartel - just as has happened with OPEC
for decades. And that doesn't even include the fact that really, the conspiracy
must include a whole host of very wealthy people on the level of Gates,
Buffett, and Murdoch, so that they don't enter the market with their own
refining and marketing. There is no law, as far as I know, against anyone
buying oil, or even, with enough money, buying one of the small refineries
(like that one right there in Mama Liberty’s own town of Newcastle, WY)
and launching their own - if the profit potential is there.
Of course, none of these three things really
provide a satisfying hatred for Big Oil that this guy's theories do, and
don't support a minarchist mindset.
Sick. (And very much like the same argument
in a dozen fields: against “those evil: immigrants, homos, gun-lovers,
breeders, jingoists, evolutionists, papists, creationists, ______ (insert
your own) who will destroy us all if something isn’t done.”)
If this were massive price-fixing, why has the price of 10% ethanol fuel kept pace with pure gasoline? If it is gasoline that is being artificially jacked up, ethanol (which comes from dozens of different producers and is added at various points in the supply chain) would impact retail prices more: a matter of simple math: if 10% of your product does not increase in price, even though 90% does, there comes a point where the price-lines cross. But ethanol-blended gasoline continues to sell for 5 to 10 cents above Regular except in the ethanol producing regions (eastern NE & SD, Iowa) where it continues to remain a nickel or so below Regular.
If production is being deliberately restricted
(as he implies) then it would make more sense than ever for a maverick
producer like Sinclair or one of the other small independents to produce
at maximum capacity, reduce their prices just enough to take a larger
market share, and thereby increase their profits AND lower prices. But
no one seems to be doing so. Are they being threatened? Or all they ALL
part of the conspiracy?
Nathan Barton is writing this from a wonderful place in the West, which might be in the Black Hills of South Dakota or Wyoming, or might be in one of the Four Corners States. Exactly where it is, the breezes blow with the scent of liberty, and the sound of the pines or the pinions is the sound of freedom. For thousands of years, people have fought and died for the liberty that Americans in the great spaces of the West enjoy, and he writes these commentaries in the hopes that continued generations will be able to do so, until the end of Time.