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More gas from “Big Oil”…

Livermore Oil Well

When I filled my tank on Thursday at Costco, the price of “regular” was $4.159/gallon. This contrasts nicely with the nationwide average price of regular gasoline, which is below $4/gallon. Costco is one of the least expensive places around here. (Update August 5, 2008: KTVU TV news last night said that the average price for regular gasoline in California was $4.209/gallon, as compared with $3.889/gallon in the rest of the country.)

(Update August 6, 2008: It looks like there is “sort of” an unofficial confirmation that the high gas prices are really about offshore drilling after all. :-) “Newt (remember Newt?) and the gang” are “playing to an empty House” in the dark and threatening to shut down the federal government. It is nice to have that clarified…. My question is, “If offshore drilling is something that ‘Big Oil’ really wants THAT BADLY, isn’t it something that the rest of us should oppose AUTOMATICALLY – at the VERY least until we have thought it through?” :-) I can’t remember the last time that MY interests were aligned with those of “Big Oil.”)

(Note added November 01, 2008: “Newt and the gang” successfully coerced Congress into dropping a provision to continue the moratorium on drilling.)

Some people are so happy that the price of gas is “down” that they forget it is now over $1/gallon HIGHER than it was last year at this time!

The oil companies remember, though! :-)

Exxon Mobil posted a record $11.68 billion (USD; that is a U.S. “billion”) profit this QUARTER, once again the LARGEST QUARTERLY PROFIT in U.S. history (please excuse me for “shouting,” they mean for any company at any time in U.S. history). CNN was kind enough to tell us that the figure works out to $1,485.55/second. Even Chevron, which is based in nearby San Ramon, reported a Q2 profit that was up 11 percent to nearly $6 billion. The combined profits of 6 major international oil companies THIS QUARTER topped $50 billion!

I have finally figured out why they say the U.S. economy is “TANKING!” :-) It seems that everybody knows it except the Harvard Business School, some of whose folks are still suggesting sending more U.S. jobs offshore. (It is always good to know who your “friends” are.)

Yesterday, I heard (twice) a commercial on the radio that was sponsored by the Sierra Club alerting people to oil company profits and urging action through a local congressman. Finally. I do not understand why the outrage is not louder.

…and on the political front, we see the President and at least one presidential candidate continuing to urge Congress for offshore drilling (sure, California), even though the effect on gasoline prices would be delayed and perhaps negligible. (Update August 5, 2008: Make that at least two presidential candidates who could support offshore drilling…. I suppose that, after both coasts and the Gulf of Mexico are trashed, people [with enough money] can fly to Hawaii or other islands [or other parts of the world] for a clean beach. :-) Wildlife in Alaska, marine animals [BTW, even humans eat some of these :-) ] and the recreation/vacation industries [i.e. tax revenue] in affected areas may not have it so easy.) (Note added August 24, 2008: An article in NANPA‘s “Currents” magazine for Spring 2008 states that the wild salmon seafood industry ALONE is a $300 million/year industry… and let’s not forget all of the other fish, lobsters, crab, and shellfish.)

So is there anybody left out there who (really) still thinks that the high gas prices and consequent effects on the U.S. economy are the result of “market forces?”

It may be time to think about voting “out” incumbent politicians who seem slow or reluctant to “do anything” about this major problem. This week, members of Congress seemed more focused on their vacations (Note added on August 08, 2008: This focus may have resulted in part from their desire to avert a VOTE on offshore drilling [nice when your politics align with your need for vacation] :-) ) than in addressing the problem, but we shall see….

(Update August 5, 2008: I just saw the results of the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll that 24% of those Americans polled have a positive outlook for the country, while 76% say things are on the wrong track. The 24% is the lowest result since 1980 (when Americans elected Ronald Reagan, former Governor of California, to be President).

Is anyone in D.C. (or even Harvard Business School, for that matter) listening?

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

You can view higher-resolution photos (*generally* 7-30 megabytes, compressed) at the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Pro Gallery on Shutterfly™, where you can also order prints and gifts decorated with the photos of your choice from the gallery. Apparel and other gifts decorated with some of our most popular photos can be ordered from the Cheshire Cat Photo™ Store on CafePress®. Both Shutterfly™ and CafePress® ship to most international locations worldwide! If you don’t see what you want or would like to receive an email when new photos are up on the site, send us an email at info@cheshirecatphoto.com.

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