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Plenty of Blame for High Gas Prices


My business partner in public relations consulting likes to say that when our clients are under attack in the media, the best way out is to “switch the b*tch”. That’s to say, find a sexier villain and the media will forget about those who they originally blamed. Needless to say, the oil companies need to find a sexier villain these days. Luckily for them, there’s one institution making almost twice as much profit off of rising gas process as they are—Big Government.
Like the sparrows to Capistrano, every April, just as we Californians switch from winter-fuel to summer-fuel, gas prices start climbing, and 2006 is no exception. Like soaring gas prices, we’re also guaranteed to hear allegations of collusion and price-fixing and calls for investigation of Big Oil from the politicians who don’t realize how much they sound like a broken record.
After years of pointing fingers at environmentalists for stopping the construction of new refineries, auto makers for making fuel-inefficient cars and corn growers for forcing ethanol on us, Big Oil has found a new villain—commodities traders who have forced up the cost of a barrel of oil with their speculation.
While the theory that Speculators are responsible for rising gas prices has gained traction in some circles, it’s still the brand name on the gas station which we blame whenever we see prices rising.
But you know what? There’s plenty of blame to go around for high gas prices.
Yes, blame the automakers for making cars that waste gasoline, and yes blame the environmentalists who have prevented the construction of new refining capacity over the past few decades.
Blame Iowa, for it is there where corn is grown. Of course, corn is used to make ethanol, which explains why anyone seeking to move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue believes that it should be blended into every gallon of gas guzzled in America.
Blame the NIMBYs who have opposed the construction of public transit or the expansion of the freeways in your neighborhoods—for they’re why you’re stuck in traffic needlessly burning that precious fuel you’re paying so much for.
Blame Barbara Boxer and her Senate colleagues who have stood in the way of domestic oil production since the start of the Bush Administration.
Blame the Terrorists for stirring up global geopolitical tensions.
Blame the Bush Administration for not thinking beyond the first 60 days of the invasion of Iraq…for all of these have led to rising oil prices.
Yeah, there’s plenty of blame to pass around for rising gas prices…but someone is making more off of rising gas prices than anyone else—the Government. While The industry is getting only 10 cents to the dollar in profit, the Federal Government makes 6% profit on $3 a gallon gas, and the State of California, for example, is making 8.25% on every gallon sold in Los Angeles. They even get to put a tax on the taxes paid to Washington. Talk about windfall profits!

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