02-21-2019  11:47 pm      •     
By James Clingman
Published: 24 January 2011

Depending on where you live, if you drive something other than an electric automobile, you are feeling the results of rising oil prices, and subsequent gasoline prices. Haven't we been at this place before? Didn't we complain and moan about the high price of gas a couple of years ago? We even organized "Gas Out Day" in an effort to get lower prices at the pump. What happened? Why are we back at the same place once again so soon?

Excuses abound for the latest rip-off of consumers by…hmmm, I wonder whom – or what. Some attribute escalating gasoline prices to simple supply and demand; others say it's the OPEC oil cartel; still others blame the speculators who bet on future oil prices; some say it's government taxes levied on each gallon we purchase; and a few "insiders" say it's all in the hands of the IMF and the World Bank. Whoever or whatever it is, I know it's sure taking a chunk out of my pocket. How about you?

What's the little guy to do? Is there no answer, no way to ease the pain at the pump? Of course, we can always find ways to drive less and make sure we are not frivolously taking "old Betsy" out for a spin; you know, like our parents did in the "good old days" when gas was 30 cents a gallon. Conservation will surely decrease demand, but will that bring the price down, per basic economics, as we have been taught in school? Some say, "Absolutely not."

If there is a hidden hand controlling oil and gas prices, and there probably is, the little people have virtually no chance of impacting prices. You know how greedy those hidden hand folks are – they used to want billions, but now it's trillions in profits.

Back to solutions. Conservation is definitely within our personal control. Then there is collective leverage through an affinity program of some kind. Maybe local groups can organize thousands of consumers and make a commitment to purchase gas from a few selected stations, that is, if those stations offer some kind of group discount. Organizations like the Collective Empowerment Group, headquartered in Prince Georges County Maryland, could lead the way.

I have said before: If gas prices are too high, just increase the supply. How? By refusing to patronize certain brands or stations, on a local level, those stations will surely have a greater supply on hand and will more than likely be a bit more amenable to offering better prices per gallon. Gotta sell that stuff to somebody.

In Great Britain it takes about 70 pounds to fill up the average gas tank. Convert that to U.S. dollars and it's about $112.00. Looks like we may be headed that way, folks. Are you ready? You better hurry up and buy yourself a bicycle or a moped or something more economical.

The bottom-line is this: Somebody out there is manipulating the price of oil. The good news is that big bad China is making a move that will at least curtail our fuel demise in the short run. A recent report disclosed that China is taking actions that will lower the price of oil on the world market. It reported, "Crude prices dropped early in the day, slumping after reports from China that the government was taking more steps to discourage risky bank lending.

"China is one of the largest oil consumers in the world, but a recent crackdown on bank lending has raised fears that China's economic recovery — and its appetite for oil — could falter," the report continued. It just goes to show you what collective leverage is all about.

Yes, we are being ripped off and, knowing that, what sacrifices are we willing to make to respond to it? This is a personal decision we all must make, and then we must be disciplined enough to follow through on whatever solution we pursue. The oil thieves count on us to just whine and complain, and then go to the gas pump to fill up. Maybe $5.00 per gallon gas will change our complacency into creativity when it comes to how much we spend on gasoline, as well as where we spend our dollars.

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