THE DEM PARTY LINE: America’s Oil Companies Must Be Regulated

By Clark Hopper

U.S. refiners are selling diesel and gasoline to Mexico, Canada and even OPEC member Venezuela, at historically high levels. This makes America’s number one export fuel for the first time since 1949, according to the Energy Department. U.S. exports of all refined petroleum products, including gasoline and diesel, have risen more than 123 percent since 2006. This is an average of more than 107 million gallons a day through the first eight months of 2012. Mexico is the number one destination, followed by Canada, the Netherlands and unexpectedly Venezuela, which has more oil than it can refine!
Americans are just realizing this is the major reason gasoline prices have been sky rocketing during the past decade! Consumer advocates see the exports as harming motorists, because the gallons exported are not available at U.S. gas pumps. Not only are America’s giant oil corporations over charging Americans for our national resources, remember they lease the property they drill on, they are controlling what levels they make available to us by saying there is a shortage! Then they sell the so-called shortage of gasoline and diesel to other countries for even higher profits! Remember the deceptive excuses the oil companies and their refineries made for the rising costs of refined petroleum products over the past decade. They claimed we did not have enough petroleum or refineries available in the United States, blaming that on environmentalists. Now, suddenly there are enough refineries and oil to send over seas to foreign countries. What is wrong with that picture?
William Klesse, chief executive of Valero Energy Corp., which owns two new oil refineries in California, is very bullish about these exports. Kleese says, “It’s not the way some people have represented it, the markets are essentially pulling it and we actually make more money going to the export market,” and there you have it! Valero is the big oil corporation and major player pushing for construction of the purposed Keystone XL Pipeline to transport dirty tar sand oil from Canada to Houston, Texas, where it will be refined and transported to foreign countries. Valero has recently constructed additional oil storage facilities in Cushing, Oklahoma, a pipeline crossroads of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Chevron’s executive vice president for downstream and chemicals says, “This includes exports to Asia (can you say China) and Latin America when such opportunities arise.”
Energy analysts point to increased exports on top of lean refinery inventories as a factor in price surges, when refinery problems occur. Executive director of energy and sustainability at the University of California-Davis, Amy Myers Jaffe said, “Fuel exporting removes gasoline and diesel that would otherwise be available to the market and to mitigate price spikes. There is no such thing as surplus gasoline. It is a little like saying you are only going to take water from the shallow end of the pool. If I take water out, there is less water in the pool.”
The petroleum industry needs to maintain a large volume of refined gasoline and diesel in reserve, in case there are unexpected refinery shutdowns or national emergencies. A large tariff must be established and placed on all refined gasoline, diesel and petroleum products exported from the United States. These taxes should be utilized for reducing the price of gasoline or maintaining highway infrastructure.
The oil industry uses every little hiccup world wide, to raise oil and gasoline prices for weeks or months. Even though these problems never occur, the increased costs are not returned to the customers and there is no justification. The profits are just kept and the increased costs are not lowered. It is just like robbing candy from a baby and we put up with it!
So how long are you going to allow your Legislators and Congressmen to give away $2 billion of your tax dollars to subsidies for the big greedy oil corporations every year? How long are you going to allow these greedy oil corporations to hold us hostages to price increases and shortages, whenever they have a notion? How long are you going to allow these greedy oil corporations to fight and monopolize alternative energy sources? How long before we demand our government regulate the greedy oil corporations to keep them from price fixing and gouging. How long are we going to allow greedy oil corporations to buy campaign elections for their chosen paid legislators? How long are we going to wait before we take back the control of our national resources? How long before we demand to know how little the greedy oil corporations have to pay for their oil leases and where the money goes. How long before we demand the greedy oil corporations stop polluting America’s leased property and return it to a condition at least as good as they found it.
If you do not believe the oil corporations control your future, ask yourself this question. What will happen to us if they continue turning down the oil spigot in America even more and ship it over seas for even higher profits?
The opinions discussed in the column are my opinions alone and not those of the entire Saline County Democratic Central Committee.