Piracy at the Pump? (8/10/06)
Many people think the big oil companies are the only ones manipulating gas prices to rip us off.
But I don't.
Record worldwide consumption and Middle East unrest has played havoc with supply and demand.
America doesn't drill for oil or refine it here at anywhere near the level we could.
And Hurricane Katrina seriously curtailed domestic production even more.
So the high price of crude oil isn't just Exxon's fault.
And there are other dirty hands.
Last week, ten Kentucky retailers received big fines for price gouging in the wake of Katrina. And I may be cynical, but I suspect they're just the ones who got caught.
Current price volatility creates a tempting situation for crooks. When numbers jump all over the place almost every day, who's really going to notice a few extra cents per gallon that gets tacked on even if there's no good reason for it?
I still believe most retailers are perfectly honest. But I also believe Exxon didn't raise their wholesale prices twenty cents a gallon this past week because the street rods were in Louisville.
So the next time you're grumbling over the cost of a fill-up, don't automatically assume the fault lies with that faceless scapegoat known as "Big Oil."
Because sometimes larceny lies much closer to home than we'd like to think.
I'm Bill Lamb, and that's my...Point of View.