The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Gasoline prices:
The up and down game

Jul 5, 2004

U.S. gasoline prices have started to drop. By mid-June, the nationwide average for regular dipped below $2.00 a gallon for the first time in five weeks. In some states, like Michigan, it was even lower, while in others, like California, it was higher. By the end of June, prices had gone down two cents a gallon more.

The big oil companies, which had claimed that higher prices were due to shortages of crude oil, now explained that shortages had eased. And Saudi Arabia announced it was increasing shipments. In fact, the amount of oil being shipped today is about the same as it was at the end of May, when prices peaked at $2.07 on average for regular. And Saudi Arabia's announcement was only an acknowledgment of how much it had already been shipping for months.

So if all this didn't change, what did? Nothing. The big oil companies have simply been manipulating the price of gasoline to establish a new, higher plateau today – 30¢ higher than a year ago – just as they do every couple of years. Ever more profit is the name of their game.