Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Evil Oil

I can understand why some are upset at the price of gas. After all, we live under a fairly consistent message from Big Media that Big Oil is eeeeevil. The idea that Big Oil always lies while Big Media never does strikes me as amusing.

But what drove me up the wall this time is the following post from Wise Bread, one of several budget-living blogs I enjoy:

What she's upset about is a packet of BP-branded sunflower seeds (for planting, not eating), bearing a drawing of a little girl who wouldn't look out of place in the world of Hello Kitty. What I'm... well, upset is too strong a word, we'll say bemused by, is the fourth tag in her cluster of keywords. It contains a name not otherwise used in the post, nor is the position that person holds referred to at all. The implication is that the current oil prices are so obviously Bush's fault that it requires no explanation at all.

That's a pretty big leap to make from a package of sunflower seeds.

So, of course, I went Googling. Here's what I found:
  • A 2005 brochure from the Energy Information Administration breaking down the components of the cost of a gallon of gasoline
  • A chart of the same information, current as of March 2007 (The government, via taxes, makes about twice what the oil companies do on each gallon sold.)
  • Conoco-Phillips' attempt to answer the question, Why Are Oil Company Profits So Large? (Answer: Because the industry is large. But if you look at the profit margin, the net profit as a percentage of sales, the oil industry, while profitable, is only slightly more so than industry at large, and significantly less so than, say, computers, beverage/tobacco, or pharmaceuticals.)
  • BusinessWeek's cover story from 5-15-06, "Why You Should Worry About Big Oil" (Because the easy pickin's are gone, and satisfying the world's demand for petroleum is only going to get harder -- and more expensive.)
Ooh. That's too hard to think about. Hey, look, Birkenstocks are on sale!

LATER: Wouldn't want anyone to think I'm ignoring opposing viewpoints. I'm not. Some of the best unintentional comedy is found there. (Same reason I listened to Air America from time to time.) "There is simply no competitive market in this industry." Please, no more, I can't breathe.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Companies people hate: Try working for an airline. :)