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Why Gas in California Spiked So Sharply
September 9, 2003 2:00 PM   Subscribe

What Made Gas Prices Spike So Sharply in California? One hint, it has something to do with greed and the ability to arbitrarily raise one's profit margin.

The oil refineries decided that they weren't making quite enough money so they decided to gouge California by nearly tripling their profit margin to $.69 a gallon.

My response is to say I'll vote for which gubernatorial candidate that's going to go after the corporate greedheads who seem to think its perfectly acceptable behaviour to bleed people because they can.

Are you listening Arnold, Gary or Georgy?
posted by fenriq (21 comments total)

 
What make cheap gas an inalienable right?
posted by stchang at 2:07 PM on September 9, 2003


What makes you think that anyone of those folks care about this issue?

Davis isn't my favorite, but it bothers me that most everyone running against him is treating the energy and budget crises California faces as straight out his fault. This tends to produce in me the feeling that none of the candidates sees the role that corporate greed played in the energy problem, or the role that the generally severe economy played in the budget problems.

I'd give $100 to be able to hear some reporters really grill Arnold for some meaty-thinkin-wonky policy details on what he would have done back in 2000 -- and what he plans to do. Won't happen, of course.
posted by namespan at 2:08 PM on September 9, 2003


fenriq, not that I personally appreciate paying higher prices but we have this thing in America called capitalism, perhaps you've heard of it?
posted by billsaysthis at 2:11 PM on September 9, 2003


The state has had a task force on gasoline pricing for some years, but its reports have never found proof of market manipulation or wrong-doing.

If they aren't breaking the law, they are allowed to set any prices they want. If the market works, other companies will spot the opportunity and move in if the prices are too high. If there is a cartel, the anti-trust laws will have to be applied. It really is perfectly OK to be a "corporate greedhead".
posted by Triplanetary at 2:11 PM on September 9, 2003


Maybe the oil refineries are run by a secret liberal pro-environment cartel that are trying to use market forces to reduce demand for gas..
It's all in the spin.

Frankly, I'm all for it.
posted by dness2 at 2:18 PM on September 9, 2003


No, its not breaking the law because they removed regulatory laws regarding energy.

This message brought to you by the committee to deregulate everything!
posted by skallas at 2:19 PM on September 9, 2003


What makes cheap gas an inalienable right?

I'm pretty sure that it's somewhere in the back of the constitution, near the part about being able to buy hollow-tip bullets and in the same clause that says that the President has to answer to Jesus. Either that, or it was implied when Patrick Henry said "Give me convenience or give me death."
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:27 PM on September 9, 2003


"Patrick Henry said 'Give me convenience or give me death.'"

No, he said "Give me Liberty or give me death", you silly person.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:36 PM on September 9, 2003


I'm pretty sure high gas prices are a net "good thing."

If any other type of energy infrastructure is ever going to take off and end the age of carbon then prices have to stay high in comparison to their historical levels for research and devleopment to produce results.

As it is I have far bigger concerns than the price of gas. But then I don't drive a hummer and walk as often as I can.
posted by filchyboy at 2:45 PM on September 9, 2003


aaahhhh.... nothing like the smell of collusion in the morning.
posted by bshort at 2:47 PM on September 9, 2003


I don't drive often either but I also don't like knowing that some gas company wank just decided to make more money than ever off of people that really have no choice but to drive.

And is it a free market economy if its collusion between the refineries?

billsaythis, yes, of course, but is a fundamental tenet of capitalism to molest the law as best you can because you've got pals in the same business who'll do the same thing and know the president's soft on oil interests because those are his buddies?
Capitalism isn't the issue, unfair and most likely illegal price fixing is.

Filchyboy, yes, in the end it might be good to drive innovation of newer and cheaper and better means of transportation. But right now it means that there are families in California who are having an even harder time of making ends meet because the refineries want to make more money. And I hate Hummers (the kind with wheels) and ride my bike to work. I just hate knowing that companies are getting away with pretty pathetically self absorbed behaviour.

And Namespan, they better start caring about it or pretending to care because it is affecting just about everyone in this state.
posted by fenriq at 2:54 PM on September 9, 2003


Are you listening Arnold, Gary or Georgy?

Angelyne!
posted by homunculus at 3:04 PM on September 9, 2003


I'll be the obligatory bitter European pointing out that you still have nothing to complain about.. (Someone had to.)
posted by cell at 3:29 PM on September 9, 2003


cell, I'd feel bad but what's a pence? And what's a litre? I've heard of liters before but litre?

Just kidding, I know everyone else gets screwed on gas prices too.
But here its California's that's getting the screwing and not anywhere else in the US.
posted by fenriq at 3:37 PM on September 9, 2003


"But here its California's that's getting the screwing and not anywhere else in the US."

Not true fenriq, Hawaii has been quietly bitching about this sort of thing for years, to the extent that the state even filed an anti-trust lawsuit. The crux of the issue, between 1988 and 1995 Chevron made almost 1/4 of its national profits in Hawaii, while selling only 3% of its total volume there.
posted by MetalDog at 4:07 PM on September 9, 2003


"Give me convenience or give me death."
posted by inpHilltr8r at 4:44 PM on September 9, 2003


"Give me liberty... or give me... something of equal or lesser value from your 32 page glossy catalog!"
posted by namespan at 5:17 PM on September 9, 2003


It might be wise to separate two items for discussion:
1. steep rise in gas prices 2. European/American prices compared.
Captialism, by the way, does have or did have some constraints: like cartels, monopolies, price rigging with companies etc.

I do not live in Calif, so I can't blame gas prices on their gov or possible gov. I live in the East and prices took huge jump here too. Does that mean our govenor working with Davis to help gas copanies?
posted by Postroad at 6:07 PM on September 9, 2003


Cell, try living where there's no public transport.
posted by Tlogmer at 8:17 PM on September 9, 2003


It's quite shortsighted to live your life on 100% reliance of the automobile.
posted by LinemanBear at 5:22 AM on September 10, 2003


Charge a lot for CDs and they're perpetuating corruption;
charge a lot for gas and they're a captain of industry. Does it just feel that good to side with a winner?
posted by todds at 7:48 AM on September 10, 2003


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