Mar 15, 2004
Gasoline prices have been rising rapidly and are predicted to go to their highest levels since 1985 by sometime this summer. In California, some people may soon be paying $3.00 a gallon for gas. In other states, the average price is headed to over $2.00.
We hear the usual excuses for this price rise. But the fact is, the big oil companies are using their control of the world petroleum markets to inflate the price of gas. After recent mergers, there are now only five big oil companies left in the world. They now control half of U.S. domestic oil production, half of all domestic refinery capacity, and nearly two-thirds of the U.S. retail market for gasoline – not to mention what they control all over the world. In March of 2001, even before all the recent mergers were completed, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, not an organization noted for making wild, radical statements, reported that the oil companies had intentionally withheld supplies of gasoline from the market as a tactic to drive up prices. They said then that these actions had already cost consumers billions of dollars.
The inflated prices the big oil companies have been charging for gas is being reflected in their inflated profits. ExxonMobil profits went from 11.5 billion dollars in 2002 to 21.5 billion in 2003; ChevronTexaco's went from 1.1 billion to 7.2 billion; Conoco-Phillips from a slight loss to a profit of 4.7 billion; BP-Amoco-Arco from 8.7 billion to 12.4 billion; and Royal Dutch/Shell from 9.4 billion to 12.7 billion dollars.
Outright robbery, you say? Certainly! But don't expect the politicians to step in and stop them. Most of them are married to the big oil companies.