Hands up all those who survived the petrol tanker strike a couple of weeks ago? All of you. Excellent. I know it got a little hairy in Scotland where the main/only refinery is run by Shell. [the only drivers on strike] but otherwise I think we survived the earth shattering crisis quite well.
Crisis? Well only according to the media. I saw one newspaper front page with a picture of empty supermarket shelves. IN SPAIN. But you had to read the copy to find that out and that the story was 'will this happen here'?
What????? The usual feeble exortations not to panic buy were included but were obviated by quotes from hard sought out dickheads who were doing just that. When the media tries to create a story out of nothing you know things are going wrong with their editorial policy.
Fortunately most of us saw through that. Only 10% of forecourts were likely to be affected in the slightest yet the story was punted in YK2 proportions.
The real story should be why the hell we are paying £1.20 a litre. Yeah I know 80% of that is tax and the poor petrol companies make about 2p profit. Bollocks!!!!!!!!!
The money in petrol is in the production and refining, not the retailing. And those companies are so vertically integrated that massaging of pre-retail pricing is a doddle.
The main reason petrol prices are so high is of course the price of crude oil. Except it's not. The main reason is the lack of refinery capacity. Forget all the talk of OPEC conspiring to raise prices. It's the oil companies cartel who are conspiring to choke supply. Sure they could build more refineries, but a cost benefit analysis probably shows that the massive profits being made - Shell posted a record $28 Billion profit in 2007 and made $8 Billion in the first quarter this year- outweigh the cost of building new refineries for what is a quickly disappearing raw material. So they are making money while the sun shines. Simple as. And they know that 9 out of 10 of us will blame the Government or greedy Opec for the debacle and not them. So their PR remains intact.
I'm no eco-warrior, and no communist. But this is the unnacceptable face of capitalism. Joe Public being squeezed til they squeak to provide fat salaries and bonuses for execs and dividends for shareholders.
Well I'm going to do a little digging and write a script. Not much in the way of direct action I agree, but it'll make me feel better.
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