About this blog

Incoming BYTES
contains highly variable subject matter including commentary on the mundane, the extraordinary and even controversial issues. At Incoming BYTES
we want YOU to think...if you dare...


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Got Gas, Mr. Grinch?

BIG OIL                                              photo by r.a. kukkee  2010

With winter close to  full swing and the Christmas season fast approaching,    I thought, (or more likely imagined, suffering from a lack of natural sunshine ),  that  Corporate good-will might flare up for a change ('Tis the season to be jolly  and all that !)

It seems I guessed wrong.  Instead,  it appears  that corporate profits  remain their primary concern, and the Grinch himself is flailing about with much gusto in one  sector  in spite of  the spirit of the season, or the stifled North American economy.

Only a few days ago the price of gasoline once again  skyrocketed like magic,  inexplicably and forcefully,  just in time for Santa  to stuff  great bags of cash  into the bulging coffers, caves and penthouse apartments  of the richest and most powerful corporate elite  in the world.  Who else could that be, but the Petroleum Industry?

The price of gasoline at the pump  jumped more than ten cents per liter,  from $1.09 per liter to over $1.20 per liter  within a day.   Instantly.  Why did the price jump sky-high?   I wonder how that happens?
I am also curious to know 'who' actually makes the calls  to set the new  universal price we see almost immediately at the pumps, regardless of brand.

Let us imagine for a moment THAT  mysterious  “Mr. Who” is on the telephone.
  Hello? Is this Joe’s Gas station?  You got gas?  Surprise!   Your gas is a  new, improved price starting right now!”  
“....... But Sir, what about the gas in the  tanks here, should I sell it at  the old price?
Are you kidding, Joe?  You a bit stupid or something? Do as you’re told, don’t ask questions, jack up the price on it too,  why not?”  Mr. Who orders with disdain, “After all, what are the peasants going to do about it?”  Mr. Who, ( is he related to the  Grinch, by any chance? ) ,  smirks happily and hangs up.

What just happened at Joe’s Gas station seems to have happened everywhere. How can that be?  How can gasoline prices possibly be so closely orchestrated?

According to www.Oilprice.com,   the price of crude oil was  $89.02 as of Dec. 6th at 10.00 a.m. EST. (1).,    having risen from approximately $85.00 a few days previously.  That equates to a  price increase of  $4.00 US   for a whole barrel of crude oil.
One must immediately wonder how a $4.00 increase in the price of a barrel of crude oil equates to a pump price increases of a half-buck per gallon for  gasoline?  The fact is, it does NOT.  Did all petroleum industry executives fail to get a passing grade in  arithmetic in school?  Perhaps that’s the problem. Perhaps we should calculate it for them.

Let’s see....We know that about  20 US gallons ( 75.70 liters) of gasoline is  produced from each barrel of crude oil.  Crude oil is not all made into gasoline.    Other products such as diesel fuel, home heating oil, and various other oils and lubricants are ALSO  made from the same barrel of crude oil
Any doubt about that?   See for yourself Check them out at: http://www.txoga.org/articles/308/1/WHAT-A-BARREL-OF-CRUDE-OIL-MAKES

Regardless, and totally  ignoring price   increases on  other products listed the recent  price increase at  your local gas pumps infers  there was  an increase of about  $8.00 per barrel of crude oil.
  ---But wait, Virginia, the real price increase for raw crude oil in that same time period, as we now know, was only about $4.00 per barrel.
Clearly a problem exists. Does price gouging by error, or by designExecutive ineptitude, or just willful, blatant greed?   Organized criminal activity? Government control? Eyebrow- raising cooperation and a wink  between  oil-producing nations?   Perhaps the reader has other suggestions.
  Who is assigned the responsibility of calculating the price of gasoline, and how does it magically become the new, virtually universal price?

Is this all part of the cute board game called Monopoly?
Should  any thinking individual be expected to actually believe  there are not  cooperative and behind-the scenes forces controlling prices at the gasoline pump?       Huge and instantaneous price increases just do not magically happen, and there is one certainty. The imagination is sorely over-worked to believe it is “competition”.  

Vehement denial of unfair practice  is the standard response in any investigation of price-fixing, monopolistic practices or price-setting agreements by Big Oil.
The classic defense offered includes  arbitrary excuses historically used to justify windfall profits.
It is such good fortune we suffer to know why we are being robbed. 
 The search for answers  becomes  a quick  spin on a  “Wheel of Fortune” for which  the consumer must both play and pay.
  The wheel is spinning.... automobile owners everywhere are waiting at the pump with abated breath.....Which of these wonderful excuses shall be offered this time?  

Official List of Excuses and Justifications for Windfall Profits
  • The price of crude oil at the pump (Set by Mr. Who?)
  •  Global prices (Controlled by Mr. Who?
  •  Low supplies (Controlled by Mr.  Who?)
  •  OPEC policy and agreement changes ( Controlled by Mr. Who?)
  •  Corporate losses. (  Details to be offered by Mr. Who?   )
  •  The bad economy
  •  Competition (we may have to laugh about that one)
  •  Bad weather
  •  Drilling and exploration costs 
  •  Refinery fires and equipment failures
  •  The unstable Mid-East and it’s perpetual political unrest, the war against terror (ad infinitum)
  •  Shipping accidents   ( the Exxon Valdez, was that oil collected in 5-gallon buckets for resale?....) 
  •  Oil spills  and rig fires ( BP Gulf --2010 --all that spilled crude oil in the gulf just “happily” disappeared after a few weeks?)
  • Government taxes on gasoline ( the most famous excuse offered in Canada ) 
Understandably, other exciting game features conveniently left off of the sparkling corporate wheel  are:
  • Corporate  greed
  •  Excessive Profits
  •  Multi-million dollar year-end  bonuses for chief executive officers.
  • Creative pricing agreements

We have but one question for the petroleum industry:   Which excuse are you going to use this time?  Not that it matters.  At this time of the year even Santa himself would have to call your actions unethical,  opportunistic,  and monopolistic price gouging.

 Naughty, naughty, naughty.   Santa’s list is getting longer by the day.



  1. Poor Mr Who needs a special fund for financial aid for college tuition. He must return to school promptly before the fossil fuel market collapses and sends Dubai into the hungry ocean around him.

    this explains why middlemen bulge at the middle.
    i personally have long been a fan of pedal powered cars, sleek, low slung and high on self-power esteem; the market is wide open for these and other 'real' innovations.

  2. Nadine, electric cars have been a reality and were in use before gasoline internal-combustion engines were "promoted". Read this link about the original Tesla electric vehicle (documented) and weep:


    Modern battery technology is changing and will make electric vehicles 'viable' - IF the greedy petroleum industry allows it, or more likely, figures out how to get control of it completely.

  3. By the way, DO read the accompanying links contained at the end of the previous link.


Comments are always appreciated ! No SPAM allowed.