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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Political/War Lounge > Should Big oil companies keep their excessive profits?

Should Big oil companies keep their excessive profits? (Page 2)
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finboy
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Apr 27, 2007, 03:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post

NOT ONE of you would refuse if over the next few years your income started to double, then triple, then quadruple…NOT ONE.

You're wasting your time. Don't bother.
     
Dakarʒ
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Apr 27, 2007, 03:10 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
I sold my car back in October. Now I use Zipcar maybe once or twice a month when I need to go somewhere that's not on public transportation or buy something that would be unreasonable to transport without a car.
Well, its not because gas costs too much. I just hate my car.



Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
I agree. Regulation is not the answer. Things are actually working as they should be. If gas prices are too high for people, that creates demand for alternatives and so someone will start to provide them. Capitalism at work.
Well, I wonder what the alternatives are for people outside of cities with public transportation systems. All I can think of is Geo Metros.
     
peeb
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Apr 27, 2007, 03:21 PM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post
The taxpayer shouldn't be subsidizing anything, but history has proven that the taxpayer is a fool.
In general, I would agree, but I do think that there are some things that the taxpayer probably should subsidize - clean air, police forces, road and rail infrastructure, public health messaging etc.
     
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Apr 27, 2007, 03:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by wolfen View Post
Whaddya mean "what system?" The system that gives BILLIONS of tax $$ to oil corporations without me getting a vote about it. The system that pays for their pipelines. The system that gives them public land and mineral rights far below market value.
We are in agreement there.

The system that retains p*ss poor mpg standards.
But not here.

The system that has sinultaneously done JACK **** to develop alternatives in the last 40 years.
Who was supposed to do this? Our f*ck-up, self-absorbed and corrupt government or the "greedy" oil companies who are out to "rape" the common man?

The system my tax money and my consumer dollar maintains against my wishes. The system that DOES NOT work for the benefit of the consumer -- which is what in theory a capitalist market is meant to do. And, finally, the system that perpetuates a rationale for US involvement in the middle east.
AMEN!

I think there are plenty of valid arguments for not trusting "the system" at work. And none of it involves petty jealousy and complaining for me. One can argue against the validity of these issues, of course, but that doesn't mean people who hold my position on these matters are being disingenuous.
Then you are in the minority!
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nonhuman
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Apr 27, 2007, 03:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by Dakarʒ View Post
Well, its not because gas costs too much. I just hate my car.
Yeah, I just hated parking. It's a pain in the ass in Cambridge, and you can't get a parking permit without registering your car in Massachusetts which would be a huge hassle for something I don't really need.

Well, I wonder what the alternatives are for people outside of cities with public transportation systems. All I can think of is Geo Metros.
Not much, unfortunately. If we had better battery technology, electric would be the best way to go as the electricity to power it could come from any source we wanted. Maybe super capacitors will be good enough.
     
Dakarʒ
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Apr 27, 2007, 03:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
Yeah, I just hated parking. It's a pain in the ass in Cambridge, and you can't get a parking permit without registering your car in Massachusetts which would be a huge hassle for something I don't really need.
Yeah, one of the many reasons I'll never move to a city.


Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
Not much, unfortunately. If we had better battery technology, electric would be the best way to go as the electricity to power it could come from any source we wanted. Maybe super capacitors will be good enough.
This is why I say oil companies have people by the balls.
     
nonhuman
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Apr 27, 2007, 03:46 PM
 
[QUOTE=Dakarʒ;3366806]Yeah, one of the many reasons I'll never move to a city.

Yeah. I like being in the city for now, but I definitely plan to end up somewhere a little more rural. (Eventually I want to live somewhere where my nearest neighbors are over the horizon.)

This is why I say oil companies have people by the balls.
Not everybody.

     
Dakarʒ
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Apr 27, 2007, 03:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
Originally Posted by Dakarʒ View Post
Yeah, one of the many reasons I'll never move to a city.
Yeah. I like being in the city for now, but I definitely plan to end up somewhere a little more rural. (Eventually I want to live somewhere where my nearest neighbors are over the horizon.)
I'm not that bad about it.



Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
Not everybody.

The cons far outweigh the pros on that deal.
     
tie
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Apr 27, 2007, 04:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by mac128k-1984 View Post
msnbc reports that another senator filing a bill to take away big oil tax credits and direct them to help the poor pay for the gas.
The main reason oil companies are so profitable is because gas prices are so high. This has a lot to do with Iraq, of course, but it also is because we don't have enough competing refineries in the United States. When was the last refinery constructed? Refineries are operating at nearly capacity, so when one of them shuts down -- say to switch from winter to summer fuel blends -- prices shoot up. Different fuel standards in different states make it difficult for refineries in different parts of the country to help meet demand.

The only solution is clearly for the government to give multi-billion-dollar subsidies to the oil industry to encourage them to build more refineries. House Republicans passed just such a bill in late 2005, but -- boo, hiss! -- Democrats have not made any move to get the legislation moving again. Write your congressmen!
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peeb
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Apr 27, 2007, 04:43 PM
 
Why should the tax payer subsidize these refineries again? It doesn't make sense.
     
wolfen
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Apr 27, 2007, 05:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by tie View Post
The only solution is clearly for the government to give multi-billion-dollar subsidies to the oil industry to encourage them to build more refineries. House Republicans passed just such a bill in late 2005,
Your honor, the prosecution rests.
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peeb
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Apr 27, 2007, 05:41 PM
 
Why should the tax payer subsidize these refineries again? It doesn't make sense.
     
nonhuman
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Apr 27, 2007, 05:54 PM
 
Originally Posted by peeb View Post
Why should the tax payer subsidize these refineries again? It doesn't make sense.
Because that way there won't be a spike in gas prices to compensate for the costs of building a new refinery and hiring the people to staff it. Without a subsidy, the gasoline companies (not the oil companies) will need to raise prices to cover the costs. There will be a whole hell of a lot more bitching from the American people about gas prices rising than about tax dollars going to building a refinery.

For some reason people seem to prefer hidden costs to up-front ones.
     
peeb
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Apr 27, 2007, 06:11 PM
 
Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
What I'm getting at is if you take away the Big Oil's tax credits, they'll make up their losses by just increasing the price at the pump. It's not going to save anyone any money. They have 100% control of a comodity that the U.S. depends on, and they'll set it at any price they want.
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
Because that way there won't be a spike in gas prices to compensate for the costs of building a new refinery and hiring the people to staff it. Without a subsidy, the gasoline companies (not the oil companies) will need to raise prices to cover the costs. There will be a whole hell of a lot more bitching from the American people about gas prices rising than about tax dollars going to building a refinery.

For some reason people seem to prefer hidden costs to up-front ones.
I'm sure that hidden costs are more palatable, but, in the long run, a rational energy policy where people pay what energy actually costs to produce will make everyone happier. Let's not subsidize refineries, and then may other energy sources that don't need wars to make them work properly will get more attention.
Biofuels, wind, solar, conservation, all of these loose out when the public purse keeps oil companies on welfare.
     
wolfen
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Apr 27, 2007, 06:12 PM
 
nonhuman, they don't need our subsidy. They are richer than most NATIONS. Even if they had cash flow problems -- which they don't since they're a cash cow -- there is such a thing as financing. I bet there's even someone running a "0-money down" special.

But you are hitting the point...and the conclusion I've been trying to press here. Oil companies have politicians by the ballz. Internationally. They can make or break administrations at whim, and suffer barely at all for it. The idea that we should continue funding this kind of extortion "Because otherwise Exxon might get mad" is exactly the point.
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peeb
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Apr 27, 2007, 06:16 PM
 
You're on the money Wolfen.
We need to stop cutting them welfare checks.
     
dcmacdaddy
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Apr 27, 2007, 10:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by KarlG View Post
The oil companies have been complaining about the high costs of building new refineries (none have been built in the U. S. in the last twenty years), yet they keep making higher, and record, profits. They do have us by the balls, but the problem is getting them to invest some of those profits in new refineries. Without governmental pressure to do so, and as long as we continue to buy their product at the prices they charge, there isn't much incentive for them to change their tune. It's a Catch-22 situation.
Right there is the answer to too-high prices. People need to start buying/using less petroleum-based products. Once they do so, supplies will increase, reducing the price of petroleum-based products, especially automotive fuel. It is a somewhat simplistic explanation but the laws of supple and demand *do* work. The problem is on the demand side (that's us, the consumers, fault). Heck, after Hurricane Katrina pushed the price of gas over $3.00/gallon demand stayed at the same level, dropping slightly or not at all.

As long as there is demand for a product then the suppliers have no incentive to reduce the price. From a business stand-point it would be ridiculous to lower prices on a product when demand goes up. So, for everyone who has a complaint about high gas prices, tell me what you are doing to reduce your consumption of gasoline and other petroleum-based products. If you are not doing anything then you need to stop complaining. Companies respond to one thing, and one thing only, financial incentives. So, create a negative incentive for them. Create a negative incentive to continue charging us high prices for gasoline.
( Last edited by dcmacdaddy; Apr 27, 2007 at 10:13 PM. Reason: fixed a their/there error.)
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el chupacabra
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Apr 28, 2007, 07:33 PM
 
Chevron 1Q profit surges 18 percent - Yahoo! News

Dont know if this was posted but more example of oil companies raising prices; considering many people still believe the evil opec and terrorists are the whole cause of high gas.
     
tie
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Apr 28, 2007, 08:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by dcmacdaddy View Post
Right there is the answer to too-high prices. People need to start buying/using less petroleum-based products.
Another even easier way to do your part is simply to shop around. Buy from gas stations with the lowest prices, and you'll make them more competitive. A lot of people don't do this -- and so you can find gas stations with prices 20 cents different only a couple blocks away from each other, or even across the intersection. Don't worry about gas brand names because they don't matter. GasBuddy.com - Find Low Gas Prices in the USA and Canada is one price service; I've never really used them so it may not be the best.
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el chupacabra
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Apr 29, 2007, 05:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by smacintush View Post

My work commute is 108 miles a day. Since I started that commute 6 years ago my weekly gas expense has gone up 10 whole dollars.
.
Really? Just wondering what kind of a car you drive where you can go 540 miles a week on $20 of gas? Assuming you pay close to the average price.
     
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Apr 29, 2007, 10:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by el chupacabra View Post
Really? Just wondering what kind of a car you drive where you can go 540 miles a week on $20 of gas? Assuming you pay close to the average price.
I want one of those also. Even being generous, at $2.50/gallon, that's 67.5 mpg. Something's not right.
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medicineman
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Apr 29, 2007, 11:37 AM
 
It must be great to look at the little picture and come up with fantastic ideas and recommendations.

What are excessive profits? When you sell your PSP on ebay for double or triple its cost? Should we boycott the citrus industry for the 20% increase in citrus prices due to the freeze in Florida this year? Or should we fine the CBOE for increasing oil future prices when there is a ripple in the mideast? Yeah, most of our cude comes out of North America, but the middle east still provides the small balance that makes up our total usage.

This thread is almost laughable. Stop using petroleum products? Motor fuel makes up the bulk of crude oil products, variably 40% to 60%. I guess you could give up diesel and jet fuel, heating oil, lubricants, plastics, paints and pharmaceuticals. That would eliminate the bulk of it.

I guess they don't teach economics, math and chemistry any more. Pity.
     
smacintush
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May 3, 2007, 09:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by el chupacabra View Post
Really? Just wondering what kind of a car you drive where you can go 540 miles a week on $20 of gas? Assuming you pay close to the average price.
Originally Posted by KarlG View Post
I want one of those also. Even being generous, at $2.50/gallon, that's 67.5 mpg. Something's not right.
Ah yes, I don't drive 5 days a week. It works out to 3.5 average.

So:

108 miles x 3.5 days = 378 miles.

378 miles @ 31 mpg = 12.2 gallons or so.

Then; 12.2 gallons @ $1.85 (inflation adjusted) = $22.57 vs. Now; 12.2 gallons @ $2.90 = 35.38

OK, so it's more like $13. Still no biggie to me.
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finboy
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May 3, 2007, 10:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by medicineman View Post
What are excessive profits?

I guess they don't teach economics, math and chemistry any more. Pity.
That's the fundamental question here. Nobody on this thread so far can tell you what "excessive profits" are. Even those not mired in the whole class warfare/populist agenda. Come up with a way to determine what "excessive profit" is, one that applies to the man on the street, the kid at McDonalds, CEOs, politicians, baseball players AND oil companies, and get back to us.

And, no, we don't teach those things anymore, obviously. Some of us try to, but it's hard to compete with the First Church of CNN.
     
Millennium
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May 4, 2007, 06:02 PM
 
The subsidies need to go, as the oil industry no longer needs them. This much can be discerned by even a casual reading of their SEC statements.

As for taking away whatever other money they make, it depends. As long as they are obtaining that money by honest means, then they should not have it taken from them. If, on the other hand, they are getting it dishonestly, then by all means they should have to forfiet it.

Here, alas, we come to a sticky situation. Of course the oil industry is getting this money dishonestly; everyone knows it. Unfortunately, no one can prove it, and there must be proof before anything is done about this. Setting a precedent of legally sanctioned punishment without proof is simply too dangerous: nothing could possibly be worth that.

The end result is that effort needs to be spent finding proof of the criminal activity going on in the oil industry. Once that is done, the rest flows pretty logically. But if something like this is worth doing, and I believe it is, then it needs to be done right.
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