Jun 3, 2002
In early May, a Senate investigating committee questioned executives from BP Amoco, ExxonMobil, Shell Oil and Marathon Ashland about whether they contributed to high gas prices. Of course, the oil company executives insisted they did NOT contribute to high prices, blaming oil suppliers, natural disasters and those mysterious “market” forces.
In fact, the Senate Governmental Affairs subcommittee already had internal company memos on hand which showed that over at least a ten-year period, executives wrote memos to each other about how they could manipulate oil supplies so that prices would rise.
Nonetheless, executives continued to blame price increases on suppliers of crude oil, even though these corporations are themselves the suppliers of the crude oil through the deals they make with the petroleum exporting countries, not to mention through their own holdings in this country. The price of a barrel of crude oil had fallen by November to as low as $17.45 per barrel. Nonetheless, prices at the pump fell very little and from the beginning of this year on, the price of gasoline has been going up and up and up – reaching $1.50 per gallon in many markets.
And what can we expect from these Senators who pretend to look out for us, as they ponder this so-called new information? Expect a nice new study.
A week after these hearings made the news, the Federal Trade Commission said it was going to start collecting information on the price of gasoline at all the gas stations in the United States to determine why prices spike up. They should have a report ready to tell us what we already know ... in about another ten years.