Back in the year 2000, in the small town of Mackenzie, B.C., gas prices sat somewhere in the range of 39 cents a litre. Somewhere between 2001 and 2002, gas prices increased by 20-25 cents a litre. Nowadays…forget about it. Today, May 27th, 2007, in North Vancouver, B.C., gasoline goes for $1.20 a litre. What are the reasons given for these increases? There may be many, but keep in mind that the majority of the people who explain these reasons are spokesmen (some very well paid) for an oil company or some other entity that profits greatly from the amount of money the general public has to pay in order to drive a vehicle these days (money that could be better spent on health care, insurance, donations to various charities, etc, etc.). No matter how much the general public argues or complains about high gas prices, the think tanks at the oil companies have already written dozens of pages of script to be handed to the spokesperson to calm down (or mystify, even if for a short time) the general public. These companies do not want to stop the money from rolling (or flooding) in, so they will trump out whatever bullshit line it takes to justify their ever-increasing profits.
The general public (for however good-natured and decent some members are) is so cute in attempting to defy oil companies; I have received many forwarded emails in the past two years telling me to not buy gas on a certain day or not buy gas from a certain company (or companies). The boys at the oil company think tanks must laugh themselves into tears when they read a copy of those emails, and then forward a copy to their superiors, who will laugh themselves into such fits that will cause them to cough horrendously until either all the buttons on their shirts pop off or their faces turn so red in that their secretaries (who has no doubt heard the deathly loud coughing from outside the office) rush in but are afraid to get any closer for fear of being burned alive at the mere touch of their skin. Once they re-compose themselves, one of them says, “Go ahead, DON’T buy gas on September 5th! Hell, don’t buy gas on September 6th either! But on September 7th, they’ll be forming LONG lines, some even FIGHTING each other, to get that sweet, sweet motor juice that they desperately crave and will pay ANY amount for.”
Here is the final solution, once and for all, to get the attention of the oil companies:
DON’T BUY GAS AGAIN. ALL OF YOU. STOP NOW.
Seems impossible, doesn’t it? That’s because it is. The oil companies have a power grip on our jimmy and they’re fishing every bit of cash and change out of our pockets that they can. What can we do about it? Public transit needs gas to keep buses running, lest thousands of people cannot get to their jobs or to the stores to keep the economy going. Taxis need gas to get people around. Trucking companies need gas to deliver products and/or equipment from one place to another. Ambulances, fire trucks, and police all rely on gas to provide their services. Movie crews, Nascar drivers, hardcore bikers, gangsters doing drive-bys, pizza delivery drivers, moving companies, FED-EX and Purolator (and the like), and driving school instructors all need gasoline, so don’t expect them to stop buying gas. And most of the general public can’t stop buying gas either. Why, you ask? They have jobs that are far, far away from where they live; they have vacations to go on; they have errands to run and kids to pick up and groceries to buy; they own small businesses that require the use of vehicles, etc. Take all those people and services out of the equation and who does that leave?
A friend of mine sent out an email telling some of us that oil companies, like many other companies, practice “safety netting”. He explained it in this way: the general public is WAY too unpredictable to base all their gross profits upon, so the larger companies buy smaller companies that don’t necessarily sell the same products but bring in money anyway. Examples: Player’s (the cigarette company) owns Kraft; Chevron has agreements with Bread garden and White spot; Esso has agreements with One stop shop and Tim Horton’s. Bread garden, White spot, One stop shop, and Tim Horton’s are the SAFETY NETS of Chevron and Esso, so if you buy gas and gas ONLY, the safety nets won’t bring in the extra money, therefore putting the gas companies back into competition with one another. In the old days, I believe people bought their gas from certain places based on service, and gas wars may have resulted from that, leading to lowered gas prices. When gas prices at one Chevron station are low, the parent company may still profit because of the sales of the Town Pantry that is attached to the gas station
Face it: we’re not going to intimidate the oil companies into lowering their prices with complaints alone. When they’re good and ready, they will do it themselves…if they ever do. Unfortunately, this isn’t a Hollywood movie, so I can’t leave you with a feel-good ending; reality often isn’t that way. I think that’s why we have movies; they provide the happy endings that reality can’t deliver. In real life, the evil dictator lives to be very old and is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people and dies happily and peacefully in his home, while in the movies, that same dictator is wrestled from the height of his power by the lone man, the ‘hero’, the ‘good guy’, justice prevails over the land and everyone is happy in the end. Ain’t happenin’ here, but know this: members of the think tanks of the oil companies, the governments of the world, NASA, the CIA, and others all came from the general public. The general public, the PEOPLE, should have a think tank of their own. If we’re going to make our voices heard, understood, and listened to, we’ve got to do it with intelligence…and we have to do it peacefully, because resorting to violence makes us all look like savages that need to be controlled and scared into submission, and diplomacy does NOT need bloodshed.
The forwarded emails are, however, a good start, though. Where can we go from there?