Category Archives: gas prices

>The Stupid Vortex

>Yesterday I got behind a Cadillac Escalade with a McCain-Palin sticker and one of those “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” bumper stickers. The Cadillac Escalade gets 12/19 mpg.

Today I got behind a BMW X5 with a “Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” bumper sticker. The BMW X5 gets 15/21 mpg.

You people are both assholes. Yes, you know who you are. You’re the eeedjuts who bought Newt Gingrich’s bullshit suckup to the bloated oil industry. Aaron Tippin is the asshole who wrote the theme song. All three of you make me laugh.

When I see those bumper stickers and hear that song, all I can think is: you folks are morons. Listen, I don’t feel sorry for anyone who can’t afford to fill up their Cadillac Escalade. Don’t drive it, then. Get a clue.

Here’s another clue: this week I filled up at $2.02/gal. On Sept. 29 I purchased gasoline for $3.89. So gas prices have dropped $1.90 in eight weeks. Did we drill here, drill now in the past eight weeks? No we did not. And yet, we are paying less.

Wow. Imagine that.

Why? Because demand fell.

Here’s another clue: with the price of oil dropping like a rock, oil companies will not “drill here, drill now” now matter how many bumper stickers you plaster on your SUV. Why? Because the oil that is left in America is too expensive to pull out of the ground (or ocean) at $56/barrel.

And then of course we have the greatest clue of all: drilling here, drilling now does not mean you will pay less, because oil is a global commodity traded on the global market. We do not have a nationalized oil industry in this country, which means ExxonMobil, Chevron and everyone else who drills here is free to sell it wherever they like. Chances are that will be China.

Suck it up, assholes.

Newt Gingrich knows this. He’s not a stupid man. And yet, he will push this fraudulent campaign on uninformed Americans who think drilling “our” oil makes sense, because they think it’s like making widgets or something.


And now we have the latest news most Americans won’t read from OPEC:

Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) — OPEC, supplier of more than 40 percent of the world’s oil, will probably announce plans to lower supply for the third time in as many months to prevent prices plunging toward $50 a barrel, a Bloomberg survey showed.

Hilarious! So, no matter how much we drill here, now, whenever, wherever, it won’t impact the price at all because OPEC, which controls 40% of the global oil supply, will cut production to keep prices high.

This stuff isn’t rocket science, but it does require you to pay a little bit of attention, people. And that doesn’t mean watching only Fox News: it means consuming a wide variety of news from a variety of places.

I have no patience for teh stooopid.

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Filed under gas prices, Newt Gingrich

>Remind Me: Why Do We Want To Drill There?

>Gas stations in Nashville are still dry. My cousin, who lives in Houston, had this to report yesterday:

Gasoline? Well, that’s another story.  A lot of the stations are still closed because they don’t have electricity to pump gas; those that are open have  folks in long lines with short tempers and little patience.   Having to go through all of this stuff locally makes one think what it would be like if there was a national disaster.  (God forbid.)

Indeed it does.

In fact, this reminds me an awful lot of 1973. I was just a kid back then, too young to drive, but old enough to remember the long lines at gas stations, the gas rationing, the “vehicles with odd-numbered license plates can purchase gas Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, even-numbered plates get Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays.” Good times, good times. You’d think we’d have learned our lesson then, but noooo!!!

So now we have the same GOP morons singing “drill here, drill now!” Really? You think we can drill our way out of this mess? And in the hurricane-prone Gulf of Mexico, too?

Recent events show how insanely precarious it is to locate our energy security in this region. Hurricane Ike, like Katrina before it, has wrecked havoc on regional oil and gas supplies:

Hurricane Ike destroys 49 oil platforms in Gulf

WASHINGTON (AP) — At least 49 offshore oil platforms, all with production of less than 1,000 barrels a day, were destroyed by Hurricane Ike as it raced across the Gulf of Mexico, and some may not be rebuilt, the Interior Department said Thursday.

It said in the latest hurricane damage assessment that the platforms altogether accounted for 13,000 barrels of oil and 84 million cubic feet of natural gas a day.

That doesn’t sound so bad until you read the rest of the story:

The agency also said five gas transmission pipeline systems sustained damage, although the extent of damage is not yet known. It earlier had reported four oil drilling rigs had been destroyed and another damaged.

Meanwhile, the Energy Department reported that as of midafternoon Thursday, 12 of 31 refineries in Texas and Louisiana, with a total production capacity of 3 million barrels a day, remained shut down as a result of the hurricane that swept through the region on Sept. 13. A number of the others are operating at reduced runs.

[…]
About 93 percent of the Gulf’s crude oil production remains shut down as does 77.6 percent of its natural gas production, said the Minerals Management Service.

The Energy Department said 10 of 39 natural gas processing facilities also were still closed as a result of the Hurricane Ike and Hurricane Gustav which hit two weeks earlier, giving the Gulf’s energy infrastructure a glancing blow.

The Gulf region accounts for 25 percent of the country’s domestic oil production, or about 1.3 million barrels a day, and 15 percent of its natural gas supplies, or about 7 billion cubic feet of gas a day.

Wow. So a region of the country responsible for 25% of our domestic oil production is vulnerable to storms. And hey, as we saw with Hurricanes Gustav and Hannah, the mere threat of a storm is enough to send gas prices hopping.

And this is the foundation of our so-called energy security/national security? Geeez. At least when dealing with unfriendly Middle Eastern regimes we can always, you know, send the U.S. military in to keep the oil flowing (ooops I mean spread democracy, gosh what was I thinking?) The National Guard is pretty powerless against the whims of weather and other “acts of God.” Talk about a faith-based policy.

The fact that Republicans fillibustered the energy bill last December is just further proof that they are in the pockets of Bil Oil. This has nothing to do with energy security and everything to do with giving more breaks to Big Oil, using high gas prices as a way of manipulating public opinion.

The American people may be singing “drill here drill now” today, but they will be singing the blues tomorrow. That’s not “our” oil. It’s ExxonMobil’s oil. It’s Shell’s oil. We do not have a nationalized oil industry in this country (unlike most of the rest of the world, I might add.) There is no assurance that oil pulled out of the Gulf of Mexico or off the coast of California or out of the Alaskan Wildlife Refuge will end up in U.S. automobiles. It’s all sold on the world market and it’s just as likely to end up in the car of someone living in Beijing.

So if you want to rape American land and waters to ensure the continued economic dominance of 1.3 billion Chinese, more power to you. Doesn’t exactly sound like a winning plan to me.

Nothing against the Chinese, of course. Just don’t try to portray this as some kind of “patriotic duty” because it’s not. It’s more pandering to multinational corporations, and the American people are the chumps who swallow the lies every single time.

Alternately, you can start conserving NOW. You can start transitioning to alternative fuels NOW (we can’t sell our solar power to the Chinese). We can start rethinking how we live NOW. We should have started doing this back in 1973. If we had I guarantee you we would not be in the position we’re in today.

True energy security and national security means never having to say I’m sorry to a multinational oil conglomerate like ExxonMobil.

(As for the photo above, it’s an oil slick surrounding a pumpjack September 14, 2008 in High Island, Texas. The photorapher is Smiley N. Pool/AFP/Getty Images).

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Filed under Big Oil, gas prices, Hurricane Ike

>What A Difference 2 Months Makes

>Back in June I wrote about gas hitting hit $3.98/gallon.

Today I filled up at that same station for $3.59/gallon. The sad thing is, I feel like I’m getting a bargain.

Mission accomplished, indeed.

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Filed under gas prices

>Still Dropping

>According to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report, gas prices are still dropping. The national average for regular unleaded is $3.77, down from a high of $4.11 a month ago. However, locally I’ve seen prices at $3.67 around town.

This reminds me that back in April when gas prices started climbing into the stratosphere, local conservative yakker Steve Gill said it was the Democrats’ fault.

Well, bless his heart.

So, now that gas prices are falling, do Democrats get the credit? Since they were in charge back in May when Congress voted to stop adding to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, over Republicans’ objections?

Estimates of the impact of suspending the deposits varied. Some economists predicted the impact would be negligible, while Speaker Nancy Pelosi, citing others who have studied the issue, said prices could drop 5 to 24 cents a gallon.

But Representative Joe L. Barton of Texas, the senior Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee, said the measure was meaningless. “If all the members of the House would go out onto the steps and clap our hands three times and say, ‘Down prices, down prices,’ that would have as much impact as passing this bill,” he said.

Heh. But gas prices are dropping. No new oil wells have been drilled. ANWAR is still a wildlife refuge.

So suck on it Congressman Barton. And you can take Rep. Michelle Bachman with you, since she thinks ANWAR is the “most perfect place on earth” to drill for oil.

Maybe she needs to check out the Middle East?

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Filed under gas prices, Michelle Bachmann, Rep. Joe Barton

>22 Days & Counting

>[UPDATE]:

And still more news:

Oil sinks more than $4 as dollar rallies

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Oil prices tumbled Friday as the dollar rallied strongly against slumping foreign currencies and concerns about a Turkish supply disruption were eased.

Light, sweet crude for September delivery lost $4.03 to $115.99 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Wow. From “a record high of $147.27 hit set July 11” to today. Tell me, which new oil fields opened up in the past month? Which oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico were built in the past four weeks? How many wildlife refuges were opened to drilling?

All of which proves the point that offshore oil drilling and opening ANWAR won’t do a damn thing to lower gas and oil prices here at home. Conservation and controlling rampant speculation will.

——————————————————–

Gas prices still dropping like a rock:

Gas prices fall: 22 days and counting

The national average price for a gallon of gas slips to $3.836. Only 10 states are above $4 a gallon.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Retail gasoline prices fell, on average, more than a penny overnight, extending declines for the 22nd straight day, a survey of gas station credit card swipes showed Friday.

The national average price for a gallon of regular gas fell to $3.836 from $3.849 the previous day. That’s down nearly 7% from the record high of $4.114 that gas prices hit on July 16.

Gas prices have eased substantially in recent weeks amid signs that global demand for petroleum products is slowing.

Isn’t that amazing. Who could have anticipated …?

Here in Nashville I saw $3.69 at a Pilot station earlier this week. That’s a 40-cent drop from the high of $4.09/gallon back in July. Funny none of the stories about that Republican kabuki theater on offshore oil drilling bothers to mention that.

Hey! Rep. Roy Blunt! Yeah, I’m talking to you! Guess we didn’t have to lift that offshore drilling ban after all!

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Filed under gas prices

>And Yet, Gas Prices Are Dropping

>Amid all the discussion about energy policy in the last few days, one fact has been overlooked by virtually every single media outlet save CNN: Gas prices are dropping.

Today’s AAA Fuel Gauge Report puts the national average at $3.86/gallon for regular. Three weeks ago it was $4.11/gallon. That’s a 25-cent drop in just three weeks.

What happened? Did we open ANWAR to drilling? Build some new oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico? Have we drilled one new well or built one new refinery in the past three weeks?

No.

How can that be! To listen to Big Oil’s supporters, the only way we can lower gas prices is to drill more at home. You know, this kinda pokes a hole in Newt Gingrich’s ”Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less” balloon. Because we’re paying less and we haven’t drilled one new drop.

Amazing.

Bob Herbert put his finger on it in yesterday’s column:

In addition to the obvious need for more fuel-efficient vehicles, we should be demanding more efficiencies from utilities across the country; we should be requiring (as Senator Schumer has been pointing out) that states revamp their commercial and building codes; and we should be trying to weatherize homes from one coast to the other, including the homes of families without enough money to make such improvements themselves.

And, of course, there are the everyday good energy deeds that would help make a world of difference: car-pooling; taking public transportation when possible; using more efficient lighting; dropping the thermostat a couple of degrees; buying more efficient appliances; unplugging appliances that aren’t in use, and so on.

Prompted by high gas prices, Americans have already implemented these “everyday good energy deeds.” And it’s one of the main factors leading to this 25-cent drop in gas prices in just three weeks.

Look what we did without even trying, without even thinking about it. Imagine if we did think about it. Imagine if we decided to go after this “low hanging fruit in our economy”–the huge amounts of energy we’re just throwing away on a daily basis because of inefficient power plants, low-fuel economy automobiles, and the like.

No one is really talking about this, and there’s a reason. Salon.com tapped into it with last week’s excellent article, “Why we never need to build another polluting power plant”:

Suppose I paid you for every pound of pollution you generated and punished you for every pound you reduced. You would probably spend most of your time trying to figure out how to generate more pollution. And suppose that if you generated enough pollution, I had to pay you to build a new plant, no matter what the cost, and no matter how much cheaper it might be to not pollute in the first place.

Well, that’s pretty much how we have run the U.S. electric grid for nearly a century. The more electricity a utility sells, the more money it makes. If it’s able to boost electricity demand enough, the utility is allowed to build a new power plant with a guaranteed profit. The only way a typical utility can lose money is if demand drops. So the last thing most utilities want to do is seriously push strategies that save energy, strategies that do not pollute in the first place.

Bingo.

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Filed under energy conservation, gas prices

And The Money Keeps Rolling In From Every Side

It’s another new record for ExxonMobil: the world’s largest corporation has just reported second-quarter profits of $11.68 billion.

That’s profits. Not gross. Profits. That means the expenses are already subtracted out.

Did I mention this is for the second quarter only? Not the entire year?

Meanwhile, Shell Oil reports higher profits despite decreased production:

LONDON – Royal Dutch Shell, Europe’s largest oil company, reported a 33 percent increase in second-quarter profit Thursday, helped by a higher oil price even as production declined.

Like smaller rival BP earlier this week, Shell profited from an oil price that almost doubled in the second quarter from the year earlier, but a 13 percent drop from a record on July 11 raised some concern among investors about whether oil companies can keep up the pace of earnings growth.

Your concern is noted.

BP said earlier a higher oil price started to affect consumer demand for its gasoline, which declined as much as 10 percent in the United States and Europe.

Shell’s profit rose to $11.56 billion from $8.67 billion in the same period last year. BP reported a 28 percent increase in profit earlier this week, and Italian oil company Eni said Thursday that profit in the second quarter had risen 52 percent, citing a higher oil price.

Again, this is profit, not gross. Profit. In the billions. With a “b.” Just for the second quarter.

Looking at the gasoline front, some bloggers point out that a “surprise decline in the nation’s gasoline stockpile” (reported by CNN), coupled with a U.S. gasoline demand that is “significantly lower than the same week a year ago,” means that oil companies have cut production to inflate prices.

Could it be that the oil companies have become accustomed to a certain lifestyle, so to speak? To certain record profits every quarter? As bloated as these profits may sound to us, when investors show “concern” when one record-breaking quarterly profit might not be quite as absurdly high as the last, it’s reasonable to assume they will take appropriate action.

I read all of this as CNN touts their own poll claiming that most Americans favor off-shore oil drilling, though “Americans are divided over whether or not offshore drilling will have an immediate impact on high gas prices.”

Well, in that case, most Americans are grossly uneducated on this issue. If it were really as simple as supply and demand, then everyone would be in favor of the simple conservation measures that have been proven to lower gas prices immediately. After all, we’re told lower demand is why gas prices dropped 20 cents a gallon two weeks ago.

Unfortunately, oil is a global commodity and the oil companies are global multinational corporations. It’s not as easy as drilling off the coast of Florida or in the Alaska wilderness and all of our troubles disappear. What consumers in China and India do has as an impact on gas prices here in America too, and we have no control over that. In fact, anyone who is stupid enough to believe that increased oil drilling at home will do anything other than further inflate already obscene oil company profits is smoking something.

Oil companies don’t give a crap about $4 gasoline in the U.S., except as it affects their bottom line. And when consumers start cutting back, ExxonMobil and Chevron, like their brethren at OPEC, turn off the spigot. They’ve gotten a taste of $149 barrel oil and they aren’t backing down now.

So the American people can decide they want to trade tourism and fishing industries for the oil industry all they want. It isn’t going to change the price of gasoline or heating oil or electricity rates at home.

The only thing that will accomplish that is getting off the oil tit. And if ExxonMobil and Chevron and the rest are too blinded by profits to read the writing on the wall and get on the new energy bandwagon, well, you can’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Filed under Big Oil, gas prices, oil industry

>How To Lower Gas Prices

>This story at the Los Angeles Times tells us how:

Gasoline prices fall in California, U.S. as demand drops

By Ronald D. White, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
July 22, 2008

Worries that Tropical Storm Dolly could become a hurricane that might threaten the Gulf of Mexico sent crude oil prices past $131 a barrel Monday after big losses last week.

Meanwhile, gasoline prices retreated nationally and in California, the Energy Department said. Analysts attributed the decline primarily to lower demand.

[…]

Last week, worries that a weakening economy would further slow demand sent oil down more than $16 a barrel, the biggest weekly decline ever in dollar terms.

At the nation’s gas pumps, a gallon of self-serve regular dropped 4.9 cents to an average of $4.064, according to the Energy Department’s weekly survey of filling stations. The U.S. average was $1.106 lower at this time last year.

Wow, isn’t that interesting. Decreased demand–something we can achieve through simple conservation measures like parking the Hummer in favor of a Prius, car pooling, public transportation, etc.–has lowered gas and oil prices.

And we didn’t have to drill one drop. Or build one new refinery.

Amazing.

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Filed under energy conservation, gas prices

>Memory Holes

>I just don’t get it.

It seems like just yesterday the media was telling us about how gas prices zoomed after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita because the storms disrupted oil production in the Gulf. It became part of the “conventional wisdom” of the day: hurricanes in the Gulf = higher gas prices. President Bush even released some oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a result.

Look, here’s one story from MSNBC:

Gas prices in cities across the United States soared by as much as 40 cents a gallon from Tuesday to Wednesday, a surge blamed on disruptions by Hurricane Katrina in Gulf of Mexico oil production.

[…]

Katrina knocked out about 95 percent of oil production in the Gulf — a key supply point for the U.S. About a quarter of domestic oil comes from the region. The impact is being felt far from the Gulf.

Hey, here’s another story from CNN:

Rita could equal $5 gas

The timing and strength of the latest storm could cause worse spike at the pumps than Katrina did.

September 22, 2005: 9:32 AM EDT
By Chris Isidore, CNN/Money senior writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) – Remember when gas spiked to $3-plus a gallon after Hurricane Katrina? By this time next week, that could seem like the good old days.

Weather and energy experts say that as bad as Hurricane Katrina hit the nation’s supply of gasoline, Hurricane Rita could be worse.

Katrina damage was focused on offshore oil platforms and ports. Now the greater risk is to oil-refinery capacity, especially if Rita slams into Houston, Galveston and Port Arthur, Texas.

“We could be looking at gasoline lines and $4 gas, maybe even $5 gas, if this thing does the worst it could do,” said energy analyst Peter Beutel of Cameron Hanover. “This storm is in the wrong place. And it’s absolutely at the wrong time,” said Beutel.

Heh. Good ol’ days, indeed.

So why in the hell are people in the McCain campaign–including John McCain himself–saying that Gulf of Mexico oil production wasn’t affected by Katrina and Rita? And why in the hell aren’t interviewers calling them on it?

Has everyone forgotten that the hurricanes were the big reason everyone was given for the last big spike in gas prices? Cripes, I haven’t forgotten. It was just three years ago, for crying out loud.

Is everyone on crack or something? Don’t you people remember anything?!

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Filed under gas prices, John McCain, media, oil industry

>Mission Accomplished!

> I never thought I’d see the day ….

Meanwhile, look what your Republican Senators have done:

Republicans Block Extra Taxes On Oil Companies

WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans blocked a proposal Tuesday to tax the windfall profits of the largest oil companies, despite pleas by Democratic leaders to use the measure to address America’s anger over $4 a gallon gasoline.

[…]

Separately, Democrats also failed to get Republican support for a proposal to extend tax breaks for wind, solar and other alternative energy development, and for the promotion of energy efficiency and conservation. The tax breaks have either expired or are scheduled to end this year.

[…]

The windfall profits bill would have imposed a 25 percent tax on profits over what would be determined “reasonable” when compared to profits several years ago. The oil companies could have avoided the tax if they invested the money in alternative energy projects or refinery expansion. It also would have rescinded oil company tax breaks — worth $17 billion over the next 10 years — with the revenue to be used for tax incentives to producers of wind, solar and other alternative energy sources as well as for energy conservation.

The legislation also would:

_Require traders to put up more collateral in the energy futures markets and open the way for federal regulation of traders who are based in the United States but use foreign trading platforms. The measures are designed to reduce market speculation.

_Make oil and gas price gouging a federal crime, with stiff penalties of up to $5 million during a presidentially declared energy emergency.

_Authorize the Justice Department to bring charges of price fixing against countries that belong to the OPEC oil cartel.

Way to go, GOP! Thanks for being so responsive to Americans in need. The wingnut welfare gravy train chugs on!

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Filed under alternative energy, gas prices, GOP