Power play at the pump

A 27-year resident of Magalia, Joe Canzoneri is a former telecommunications branch office manager and a veteran of both the Army and Air Force.

News reporters are naïvely questioning whether oil companies are manipulating gasoline prices. Let’s see …

Recently, crude oil went from the low $70s to low $60s per barrel, yet gas prices continued upward. Currently, there is an oil glut such that OPEC is considering cutting production.

Without fail, gas prices are jacked up as each holiday approaches, usually 4 percent to 10 percent or more per crack. After the holiday, oil companies show their big-heartedness by lowering prices, usually one or two cents at a time, extended over a long, dragged-out period.

Doesn’t it make you feel good?

However, the price usually doesn’t go back down to its previous low. By that time, another holiday approaches and the cycle starts upward all over again to a new high. It is not inconceivable to expect prices to reach the $3 range in the very near future.

Is this manipulation, or not?

We cannot depend on the functions of the “free market” to reverse this trend when there is an element of monopolistic tactics at play.

Gasoline is not similar to other commodities that people can refrain from buying and force the market down. Being an essential, like water and power, it must likewise be (I’m sorry to say) regulated by government.

Since spiraling gas prices impact everything we buy, we would expect that our politicians would intervene in the interest of cutting the cost of living, which is out of hand.

We cannot reach the producers and distributors, so we find ourselves paddling up a creek with seemingly no solutions.

But we can confront and deal with gas station operators.

Simply don’t buy anything other than the gas you need—nothing else. Keep in mind that those items in their stations’ stores can be bought much cheaper at any market.

When their business starts hurting, be assured they will start complaining to the distributors and producers.

Only then can we expect to see lower prices.