Michael Ethridge

The Oily Truth

By: Michael Ethridge

“I need a gallon of gas please,” says the man to the gas attendant. “That’ll be five dollars please.” As we all know this price is outrageous, but is the price really that far off? Rising oil prices have been a major concern ever since the scare of an oil shortage in the 1970’s. In the past ten years, gas has doubled in price. Due to this doubling in price, many questions have been raised. Such as; why so high of a price, and who controls this continually rising price? The answer to both of these questions can be found in oil companies. These colossus companies have been and continue to prey upon the public by attempting to squeeze every single last dollar that they can out of the U.S. public. “These major oil companies have hooked their hose up to the pocketbooks of American citizens and are sucking money from ordinary Americans,” said Senator Byron Dorgan (Rothschild 5) The oil industry, composed of these massive companies, will continue to take our money as long as we say nothing and do nothing about it. Their need to be additional regulations set for oil companies before they get completely out of control.

        Oil companies have become extremely efficient in price gouging. Price gouging by definition is simply overcharging. The average gas price at present time is $2.87, that’s a sixty-five cent increase over the previous year, and a forty-nine cent increase over the past two years. Matthew Rothschild stated “Accusing oil companies of price gouging is like accusing sharks of swimming. That’s what oil companies do.”(Rothschild 1) As terrible as this statement is time has shown that this quote appears to be extremely true. One of the reasons that oil companies have stated that they raise and lower the prices is due to the obvious supply and demand. This means that when the demand for a certain product, in this case oil, is high in price, the company selling the object or the service raises the price of said product. When the product is not used as much, the price is lowered again. The idea behind this is by raising the price, the company will lessen the demand for it and thus keep a balance of the product. The problem with doing this in oil is that oil has become an everyday necessity in today’s world. Some say that oil companies are not forcing people to buy their product, just offering it to them. It is their choice to take it or not to take it.  It may be true that they are not forcing society to buy the oil, but people almost cannot go through the day without using something that needs oil, such as a family car. Cars have become an essential part of society’s transportation system; they get people to work and then back home again, as well as everywhere else in between; work, the mall, out to lunch, to school. Nearly every place a person goes in their every day activities. Whether you own your own car, you use a car pool, or you take a bus or even a cab, almost everyone uses some form of public transportation on a daily basis. Almost everyone, every company, functions because of oil. So by price gouging, oil companies make it harder and harder for society as a whole to function in a proper manner.

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        By increasing the price of oil, oil companies are ultimately raising the price of everything else in society. Just think about it, the cycle begins with oil companies raising the price of gasoline. Semi trucks run off of this gasoline, and semi companies are a major transporter of all kinds of goods throughout the United States. If the semi companies are forced to pay more to transport an item, then they are going to charge the people they are transporting the item for more. By charging more to transport goods, the companies who make the goods are going to charge ...

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