It amazes me how gullible some otherwise intelligent people can be.

With few exceptions, pundits clamor about the poor oil companies making only 8 cents on the dollar when it comes to profits. It was said that Exxon Mobil had $82 billion in revenue and only posted a profit of something over $8 billion for the first quarter. With the Enron and WorldCom cases showing how large corporations hide losses, should anyone be surprised at other companies hiding profits?

It seems to me that those who whine about companies losing money should ask themselves some basic questions. If General Motors has been losing money for the past 15 years, how is it still in business? In all the years the oil companies were supposedly losing money, how did they acquire enough for all of the mergers? Why when their refineries were running at 60 percent efficiency did they close down some and force the others to increase to near capacity? Now when any small thing happens, it affects the supply of gas and drives the price up. But you tell me that this is just good business. Sounds more like price-fixing to me.

As to all of the environmental burdens, the oil companies and the drilling contractors for a specific reason initiated some of these. Some of the license requirements for workers were done to limit liability, not to improve safety or environmental concerns.

With the oil companies exercising a virtual monopoly on fuel and the government making so much revenue from gas taxes, don’t expect either to actually do anything that would cut into their profits, like force auto manufacturers to make more efficient vehicles. Isn’t capitalism grand, especially when certain segments of society can profiteer off the rest?

The only real effect Americans could have is to stop all unnecessary driving and actually conserve. With an estimated 55 million drivers on the road each day conserving to the point of one gallon of fuel each day, at $3 a gallon, it would remove $165 million from the economy daily.

That might get their attention. It is also highly unlikely to happen.



Donald Dunnam

Quitman

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