An article in the Christian Science Monitor talking about the gas prices in California has really convinced me of a couple of things. Read the article here
First, I’ve come to believe that the oil companies USE California as a test bed to see how the public will respond to ever increasing gas prices. They raise the prices till the bitching gets really loud and the people of California start demanding hearings in congress.
Then the oil companies back the prices down after apologizing and giving some lame ass excuse.
At the same time they’ve modeled how fast the gas prices can go up before people start really bitching. Then they halve that rate of increase and apply it to the rest of the country. But… and this is the interesting thing… The cost of gas never returns to it’s “Pre-Crises” value.
If the crises is over why doesn’t the cost return to the previous level?
Second, California environmental regulations play directly into the hands of the oil companies. Fully .50 of every gallon of gas is nothing but state taxes. Which means that even those people in California trying to pay attention to the actual price of a gallon of gas have to separate out the state, county, and city taxes on the price per gallon and since those rates are all over the map depending on where you fill up in your 4 hour commute per day you may have all or only one or two of those additional fees.
Southern California is particularly vulnerable to this kind of manipulation. Because the mass transit system SUCKS!
Yes… the politicians would have you believe that mass transit in Southern California is wonderful…
But the reality is; If you happen to live in the Inland Empire (Pomona, Glendora, San Dimas, Riverside, Ontario, Corona, San Bernardino, or Fontana) and you work by necessity in Orange County or Los Angeles you’re kinda screwed. If you live in Orange County and work in LA you’re just as screwed.
Taking a train to Orange County is pretty much pointless because after you’ve gotten there the transit system is unreliable as hell and you’re talking busses or calling a taxi… there’s nothing else. If you’re trying to get from OC to LA that’s an expensive and painful trip via train, provided you don’t get a message like this;
Getting to LA from the Inland Empire via train isn’t that bad then you can grab a metro rail (like the “L” in Chicago but not elevated) the problem is that using the train/metro rail system/bus can literally add hours to your commute and god help you if you have to work late, or you have a swing shift you might get to work but you can’t get home.
Essentially, the people of Southern California are faced with spending 5 or 6 hours commuting via train versus 4 hours commuting via their cars. Which would you choose, given that you do want to spend some time with your loved ones. You’d like to see your children and perhaps have an opportunity to have sex. Then there’s the issue of maybe trying to work out and get some exercise.
I know… I’ve done that madness for years! Give me my car not because I like sitting on the freeway but because I like getting home before 10PM.
The point is the Oil companies have a mostly captive audience.
Los Angeles, Orange County, The Inland Empire are these wonderful petri dishes where Big Oil can float higher gas prices and see just what kind of lame assed excuses the moronic public will accept.
The article I referenced above says that three factors are driving the cost of gas up in California.
1) State refineries have lowered production as they get ready to switch to “winter blend” (This is all about California regulations and pollutions controls. It also causes excessive wear & tear on our engines and a commensurate drop in our MPG. So we’re at the gas stations more often buying more shitty gas.) This is a yearly event and yet… The Oil companies always shut the refineries down at the same time. How about this MORONS? Try scheduling one refinery at a time being shut down then when it’s switched to winter blend, and running again take the next one offline to make the switch and so on. You can do the same damn thing when you switch to Summer Blend so you don’t screw the hell out of the public as they’re trying to get set for their paltry 2 week vacations. (Don’t forget it’s not just Gas. It’s also Airline fuel, and diesel that are suddenly in short supply twice a year.)
2) A power outrage at a Torrance Refinery, and partial shutdown at a Richmond refinery. Really? Just how long was the refinery without power? Months? I think not… And why is the Richmond refinery partially offline?
3) Several refineries in the Central Valley have been shutdown for weeks because of “High Organic Chloride Levels in the Crude”. SAY WHAT??? So what exactly does that mean? Are they shipping the High Organic Chloride crude to another refinery? Are they throwing it away? What EXACTLY does that mean?
SO I call BULLSHIT on Big Oil and think that everyone else should too.
Time to BITCH LOUD LONG and HARD
Write your representatives and demand the oil companies stop fucking with us.
Off to write a letter to politicians
Because I’m not going to pay 4.99 a gallon for gas. Oh and don’t even try to make me say “Oh goodie” about 4.99 a gallon by pointing out that Europe is over $8 per gallon.
Big Deal! So What? 52% of their oil isn’t coming from under their feet.
Don’t even mention a Prius, or accuse me of driving a gas guzzler. I’ll give you an earful that will feel like an ice pick through your brain.