Posts tagged “price gouging”
When Hurricane Sandy was forecast to make landfall on the East Coast, I advised people to top off their automobiles with fuel. There were a number of reasons for that, and some people in New York and New Jersey are learning those reasons the hard way.
When a hurricane hits an area, it can damage refining infrastructure, fuel terminals, and service stations. Prolonged electrical outages can make fuel deliveries next to impossible, which has been the case around New Jersey since the hurricane hit. Any of these conditions can lead to fuel shortages. CBS News reports:
Gas is being rationed in parts of New York and New Jersey. The pumps are running on empty — and so is patience. According to the motor club AAA, 60 percent of the gas stations in New Jersey and 70 percent on New York’s Long Island are now closed.
One fuel buyer said, “This is crazy, it’s like post-apocalyptic scenarios, you know with this gas. It’s as important as food and water to people. It’s a dogfight out here.”
As I noted in a previous essay, rising gas prices inevitably mean that our political leaders start looking to assign blame. The annual ritual has been to call the CEOs of the biggest oil companies in the U.S. to Washington so politicians can engage in a bit of political theater. The 2011 dog and pony show has now been scheduled: Oil-industry CEOs to get grilled by Congress At a Senate hearing, the CEOs will be pressed to explain why gasoline prices are so high — they average nearly $4 in most places and have topped $5 a gallon in few cities. Democrats are also planning to pressure the companies to renounce long-standing government subsidies totaling billions of dollars a year…. Continue»
It is no secret that consumers are suffering from very high gasoline prices. And as a result of these high prices, ExxonMobil just reported a first-quarter profit of $10.7 billion — 69 percent higher than a year ago. The national level of disgust and anger is approaching record levels as we watch the loss of our hard-earned dollars become Big Oil’s gain. The question is, what are we going to do about it? Before discussing how to deal with this, we should first discuss what it is that we are actually trying to do. I believe the very simplistic view is that by going after the oil companies, they are going to relent and lower gas prices. Thus, their profits… Continue»
The Usual Suspects Summer is approaching, and that typically means rising gas prices. And when gas prices rise, our political leaders generally start looking around for someone to blame. Over the past few years it has become a regular ritual that as gas prices rise, the CEOs of our biggest oil companies will be marched to Washington D.C. for a public shaming that involves Congress grilling them on why they are doing such horrible things to the American public. Inevitably, we will spend tax dollars investigating the matter. And as was the case after Hurricane Katrina, one FTC investigation after another has found no conspiracy to fix prices; that supply and demand are in fact the primary reasons that gas… Continue»
As the US prepares technicians for maintaining smart-grids, some consumers are complaining about the technology.
As I warned yesterday, we may be on the verge of runaway gas prices in some areas. Today I spotted this story at CNN: Complaints of rising gas prices as Ike hits Some excerpts: WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Bush Saturday said officials will ensure gasoline stations don’t gouge customers after Hurricane Ike, but with some prices near $5 a gallon, some consumers were not so sure. Sean Kennedy, of Knoxville, Tennessee, took a photo of a Knoxville station displaying a $4.99 per gallon price for regular gasoline on Saturday. The previous day, he said, he had bought regular gas at the station for $3.59 a gallon. “I know the hurricane is causing a spike, but … [nearly] $1.50 in 24… Continue»
Consumer advocate Tyson Slocum recently testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure about the record high gas prices. I am going to resist the urge to do a deep debunking, because 1). I have already taken a shot at his credibility; 2). I haven’t slept in 36 hours; 3). Maybe he’s got some good points? Here is a PDF of his testimony: Testimony of Tyson Slocum Among some of Slocum’s findings (and a “few” comments, since I can’t resist): Public Citizen research shows that oil companies aren’t adequately investing these record earnings into projects that will help consumers, as the five largest oil companies have spent $170 billion buying back their stock since 2005. I… Continue»
Note: This will be my last time to post in this format (a block of stories in one post). Others have commented, and I agree, that this is a bit unwieldly. Besides that, I have been sitting on some of these stories for nearly a week. Also, it is taking me more time to link up and format these stories than if I just posted them one at a time as they pop up. By staying out of the comments section and taking my e-mail address offline, I have freed up a lot of the time that I had lost. So, I am just going to post things as I always have, but I still won’t be commenting. Sometimes that… Continue»
The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OIDA) has launched a new website to “educate” people on the issue of hot gas. And by educate, I mean misinform and obfuscate. I can’t help but wonder about their headline story: Hot Fuel Costs Consumers More Than 2.3 Billion Dollars Annually Let’s see, Americans consume 140 billion gallons of gasoline and over 60 billion gallons of diesel each year. That means that even if their headline above was correct, the “rip-off” amounts to just over 1 cent a gallon. And given that pricing is set by supply and demand, what will happen with temperature compensation is that the average gasoline price will go up by just over 1 cent a gallon, plus a… Continue»
Just enough quiet time this morning (still suffering jet lag and waking up at 4 a.m.) to knock out an essay. I told my daughter last night that I plan to keep writing, but I don’t plan to do it on their time. I will do it early in the morning, at lunch, or when the rest of the family is occupied with something. But I like writing too much to stop. I read an article yesterday in The Detroit News: Energy bill may gouge consumers The article was written by Mark J. Perry, an economics and finance professor at the University of Michigan, and discusses the pending energy legislation. There was been so much to write about on this… Continue»