Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Yes Virgina, there is an oil cartel

“It was a good idea for the next 100 years - but not for the next fiscal quarter.”
-Daryl Aretz

Daddy, I have a question.

Yes sweetie?

How come all our cars run on gasoline or diesel fuel and why is it sooooo expensive?

And how come there aren’t any sidewalks or bike lanes where we live? And why does the public transportation suck so much? How come we don’t have any train travel, like Europe has? I don’t understand why they build suburbs out where there are no stores so everyone has to drive everywhere. Why do oil companies get subsidies? How come vehicle mileage standards haven’t changed in decades? How come-

Actuallly, baby, that’s a lot of questions. But I’ll try to answer as best I can.

You see Virginia, like many suppressed thoughts and innovations, “It was a good idea for the next 100 years - but not for the next fiscal quarter.”

The people and companies inolved in the oil industry are what we used to call “robber barons.” Robber barons are the opposite of Robin Hood. They steal from everyone, the poor, the middle class, the rich, Iraq, whoever, just to enrich themselves.

An interesting fact is that the diesel engine, named for inventor Rudolph Diesel, was orignally designed to run on vegetable oil. It had to be modified to run on petroleum. That explains why soy biodiesel works so well.

According to a book called Earth Oddessy, in 1932 major companies in the automobile and oil industries formed an unholy alliance to dominate American transportation. General Motors secretly joined with Standard Oil of California, Firestone Tire and Rubber, Phillips Petroleum and Mack (Truck) Manufacturig to form National City Lines.

National City Lines purchased railroads across the country and shut them down. The companies then used the taxpayers (you and me) through the Congress, to pay to build local and national highways and byways. In 1949 the conspirators were convicted in Federal court of antitrust violations and fined $5,000.

Oil and its many byproducts are a valuable commodity. A lot of people have an interest in exploiting it as much and as long as they can. Many governments and many companies have trillions of dollars to gain or lose in the oil market and its offshoots, as well as all the powers that go along with such wealth.

I could keep going because that’s just a small part of the story, but basically, Virginia, it’s all a big swindle. There are plenty of alternatives to oil as a fuel source; but there are plenty of people who stand to lose big if we start driving around in cars fueled by vegetable oil McDonald’s throws out every night. I even heard of farmers who were threatened to take down their windmills because they were putting too much power back into the grid.

What’s the grid?

The electrical grid sweetie, but nevermind that, you’ll get me started again. Just remember, in life sometimes you have to sacrifice for the short term because you’ll benefit in the long term, like when me and mommy gave up smoking crack so social services wouldn’t take you away. The oil people either don’t understand or don’t care about that kind of thing.

I care, daddy.

I know you do sweetie. Just remember:
Oil people say “We could have made things better, but that would have cut into our profits.”

Don’t be an oil person.


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