Gas Prices and Consumer Councils


Nothing is worse than the smell of shit.

I can’t get used to it.

And I smell shit.

Yesterday I read this on Yahoo! News:

Shell’s Chief Financial Officer Peter Voser said oil companies are not to blame.

"We don’t understand the oil price at this stage," he said. "The fundamentals will not justify an oil price as we see it at the moment."

Let’s say I sell apples.

I pay $0.50 for an apple and sell them for $0.75.

Let’s say the price of apples go up.

Now I pay $1.00 for an apple but sell it for $2.00.

My profits are going up much like the profits of oil companies are increasing.

In a sense it is true that the price of apples are due to how much the producers charge the merchants, but if the merchants increase their profit margin then it is absolutely deceiving to say, "’We don’t understand the [apple] price at this stage."

Despite Voser’s attempt to point the finger-of-blame away from themselves he is right on one thing. "The fundamentals will not justify an oil price as we see it at the moment."

But none of this delves into other more important issues. Should we even be putting so much emphasis on the use of oil? Shouldn’t we also be employing other sources of energy like wind, solar, hydro, electric and so on?

In the short term we, the consumers, ought to focus on bringing down prices. The impact on our pocket books is severe.

But for the long term we have got to look towards renewable energy sources that don’t exacerbate our environment (i.e. carbon emissions) or deprive the hungry from much needed food (i.e. bio-fuels).

Michael Albert and Robin Hahnel have postulated that an improved economy would be the product of consumers and producers participating together to address problems of exploitation, inequity and so on. Perhaps now is the time to begin establishing consumer councils to reign in the tyranny of oil companies and producers.

Imagine that American consumers had already formed consumer councils and we were discussing ways we could put our goals into action.

Well then comes along those "economic stimulus" checks and someone says, "it would be a great idea to invest those checks into groceries and things needed to sustain a general strike."

The councils appeal to their members for approval.

We could offer the oil companies the chance to lower gas prices to, say, $1.50 a gallon (which would still make them multi-billion dollar profit companies). If they dont comply then we announce a general strike.

Consumer councils all across the country could organize with truck drivers (who are already taking the initiative to organize resistances to increasing gas costs) and other unions.

We could bring the economy to a halt.

Rex Tillerson would be begging for an end.

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