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Pain in the Gas, Redux
Author: BobR    Date: 04/06/2012 12:36:06

A month ago, I wrote a couple of blogs (Pain in the Gas and Pain in the Gas, Pt 2) about what is driving the price of gas so high, and why there is little that the president can do about it. I reminded that crude oil is a commodity, and the price is set by traders, just like on the stock exchange, where perception and "investment strategy" is more important than actual shortages or surplus. I pointed out that oil companies are creating gasoline shortages by closing "unprofitable" refineries, yet still maintaining obscene profits.

The president reiterated yesterday that there are "no silver bullets" for lowering gas prices, despite what Newt Gingrich says.

But what if it WAS possible to make more gasoline available, thus rebalancing the supply/demand equation? What if Newt's "$2.50/gal" pipe dream could actually be possible? There just might be a way:

Have the federal government buy the shuttered refineries, and re-open them as federal government operations.

I think it's a great strategy: The government does not need to make a profit; it simply needs to break even. This would allow it to sell the gas to service stations at cost, and the savings would be passed on to the consumer. Of course, there would need to be some sort of contractual obligation that the gas stations can only pad on XX% for markup, or else they'd just set the price to match the current market and make 100% profit on every gallon.

Naturally, the Republicans would scream "socialism" and "unfair advantage". They would be undercut by their own dogma, of course. In actuallity, the government gasoline would be competing in the "free market" - consumers could make their own choice of whether they wanted to buy gas from the government or from the oil companies. The Republicans also claim that the "inefficient" government cannot do things as cheaply as private enterprise, so by their own logic, the gas from the government should actually cost more than that from the oil companies.

The one glitch here is that it might be difficult for the government to buy oil on the open market. It's possible that the companies might refuse to sell to them. To address this (and placate the "drill here, drill now" folks), the government could actually contract dilling companies to drill oil for them to refine in these government-owned refineries.

Think about it: U.S. oil being refined and sold in the U.S. You could go to the gas pump and know with 100% certainty that not one penny of the money you spend to fill your tank would be going to "Middle East Terrorists". Of course, 100% of the pennies you spend would be going to the federal government.

That would certainly be a conundrum for these folks, wouldn't it? Do they buy cheaper gas, produced by "socialist" government refineries, knowing their money is going to the hated federal government, or do they buy more expensive "private enterprise" gas, knowing some of their money is ending up in the Middle East?

It really makes me wonder who the Tea Partiers hate more.

I don't know if this is something that the Executive Branch can do without Congress, but if they can, I suggest they do it. It would create jobs and lower gas prices. There is no downside... except to BP, et al.

32 comments (Latest Comment: 04/07/2012 00:24:44 by Raine)
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Comment by wickedpam on 04/06/2012 12:45:57
Morning

Brilliant idea

Comment by Mondobubba on 04/06/2012 13:03:05
Interesting idea. On a related note, did you know that gas stations in some cases pay more for gas than the price they sell it for? There is this thing called zone pricing. All the Shell stations in a given area sell gas at x per gallon, even if they are paying y per gallon, which might be for more than they are selling it. The average gas station makes almost no money on gas, which has a tiny profit margine. They make their money on the beer, snacks and soft drinks.

Comment by wickedpam on 04/06/2012 13:07:18
Quote by Mondobubba:
Interesting idea. On a related note, did you know that gas stations in some cases pay more for gas than the price they sell it for? There is this thing called zone pricing. All the Shell stations in a given area sell gas at x per gallon, even if they are paying y per gallon, which might be for more than they are selling it. The average gas station makes almost no money on gas, which has a tiny profit margine. They make their money on the beer, snacks and soft drinks.



Other then Costco, I found 1 station in town that still has gas below $4, granted it was 3.95 but I'm holding out as long as I can to not go over. I find it wierd that suddenly we are paying inside beltway prices, usually we're 10-20 cents below anything closer to DC

Comment by Raine on 04/06/2012 13:19:37
Good Morning!

Brilliant

Comment by Raine on 04/06/2012 14:09:57
I meant to share this yesterday.... Bob wrote a blog or 2 about Kathy Nickolaus and the wisconsin election last year.

She royally screwed a few things up... Well, it looks like she did it again.
Last year, Nickolaus failed to initially report spring election results from the city of Brookfield, a failure that contributed to an expensive and unnecessary recount in the Supreme Court race between Justice David Prosser and JoAnne Kloppenburg.

On Tuesday, when Nickolaus' staff tried to upload data delivered by local clerks into her computer program, it didn't work, as the Journal Sentinel's Laurel Walker reported Wednesday.

"We were shocked," said Nickolaus, adding that she and her staff had tested the program "many times" and yet apparently not enough.

So her staff then manually entered every vote total for every candidate in every race and every municipality by hand, and then proofed them against the voting machine tapes before posting totals online.

Nickolaus described the process of online posting as being "slower than we had anticipated." No kidding. It was nearly six hours after polls closed that somewhat complete results were posted. The results of the presidential primary were posted about 2 a.m.; County Board results at 2:21 a.m.


This is a great editorial, and I concur, she needs to step aside.

Comment by Scoopster on 04/06/2012 14:10:39
Mornin' all & Happy Fridee!!

Comment by Mondobubba on 04/06/2012 14:22:31
Quote by Raine:
I meant to share this yesterday.... Bob wrote a blog or 2 about Kathy Nickolaus and the wisconsin election last year.

She royally screwed a few things up... Well, it looks like she did it again.
Last year, Nickolaus failed to initially report spring election results from the city of Brookfield, a failure that contributed to an expensive and unnecessary recount in the Supreme Court race between Justice David Prosser and JoAnne Kloppenburg.

On Tuesday, when Nickolaus' staff tried to upload data delivered by local clerks into her computer program, it didn't work, as the Journal Sentinel's Laurel Walker reported Wednesday.

"We were shocked," said Nickolaus, adding that she and her staff had tested the program "many times" and yet apparently not enough.

So her staff then manually entered every vote total for every candidate in every race and every municipality by hand, and then proofed them against the voting machine tapes before posting totals online.

Nickolaus described the process of online posting as being "slower than we had anticipated." No kidding. It was nearly six hours after polls closed that somewhat complete results were posted. The results of the presidential primary were posted about 2 a.m.; County Board results at 2:21 a.m.


This is a great editorial, and I concur, she needs to step aside.



Access? Really?

Comment by BobR on 04/06/2012 14:26:30
Quote by Mondobubba:
Quote by Raine:
I meant to share this yesterday.... Bob wrote a blog or 2 about Kathy Nickolaus and the wisconsin election last year.

She royally screwed a few things up... Well, it looks like she did it again.
Last year, Nickolaus failed to initially report spring election results from the city of Brookfield, a failure that contributed to an expensive and unnecessary recount in the Supreme Court race between Justice David Prosser and JoAnne Kloppenburg.

On Tuesday, when Nickolaus' staff tried to upload data delivered by local clerks into her computer program, it didn't work, as the Journal Sentinel's Laurel Walker reported Wednesday.

"We were shocked," said Nickolaus, adding that she and her staff had tested the program "many times" and yet apparently not enough.

So her staff then manually entered every vote total for every candidate in every race and every municipality by hand, and then proofed them against the voting machine tapes before posting totals online.

Nickolaus described the process of online posting as being "slower than we had anticipated." No kidding. It was nearly six hours after polls closed that somewhat complete results were posted. The results of the presidential primary were posted about 2 a.m.; County Board results at 2:21 a.m.


This is a great editorial, and I concur, she needs to step aside.


Access? Really?

yes really. I wrote about that in my previous blogs. That's what the Diebold machines use too.

Comment by Raine on 04/06/2012 14:45:22
BTW, did anyone see Rachel last night? Her report on what is going on in Michigan was really stunning.

Comment by Raine on 04/06/2012 14:54:20
Quote by Raine:
BTW, did anyone see Rachel last night? Her report on what is going on in Michigan was really stunning.
Here is a link to the report. Please check it out later if you can't watch during the day.


Comment by Mondobubba on 04/06/2012 14:56:01
Quote by BobR:
Quote by Mondobubba:
Quote by Raine:
I meant to share this yesterday.... Bob wrote a blog or 2 about Kathy Nickolaus and the wisconsin election last year.

She royally screwed a few things up... Well, it looks like she did it again.
Last year, Nickolaus failed to initially report spring election results from the city of Brookfield, a failure that contributed to an expensive and unnecessary recount in the Supreme Court race between Justice David Prosser and JoAnne Kloppenburg.

On Tuesday, when Nickolaus' staff tried to upload data delivered by local clerks into her computer program, it didn't work, as the Journal Sentinel's Laurel Walker reported Wednesday.

"We were shocked," said Nickolaus, adding that she and her staff had tested the program "many times" and yet apparently not enough.

So her staff then manually entered every vote total for every candidate in every race and every municipality by hand, and then proofed them against the voting machine tapes before posting totals online.

Nickolaus described the process of online posting as being "slower than we had anticipated." No kidding. It was nearly six hours after polls closed that somewhat complete results were posted. The results of the presidential primary were posted about 2 a.m.; County Board results at 2:21 a.m.


This is a great editorial, and I concur, she needs to step aside.


Access? Really?

yes really. I wrote about that in my previous blogs. That's what the Diebold machines use too.


I know there is a "lite" version of SQL Server, I would think that Oracle and DB2 come in something similar. Cause you know you want your votes to be secure, right?

Comment by Mondobubba on 04/06/2012 14:57:20
Comment by BobR on 04/06/2012 15:16:24
Comment by BobR on 04/06/2012 15:18:09
Quote by Mondobubba:
Quote by BobR:
Quote by Mondobubba:
Quote by Raine:
I meant to share this yesterday.... Bob wrote a blog or 2 about Kathy Nickolaus and the wisconsin election last year.

She royally screwed a few things up... Well, it looks like she did it again.
Last year, Nickolaus failed to initially report spring election results from the city of Brookfield, a failure that contributed to an expensive and unnecessary recount in the Supreme Court race between Justice David Prosser and JoAnne Kloppenburg.

On Tuesday, when Nickolaus' staff tried to upload data delivered by local clerks into her computer program, it didn't work, as the Journal Sentinel's Laurel Walker reported Wednesday.

"We were shocked," said Nickolaus, adding that she and her staff had tested the program "many times" and yet apparently not enough.

So her staff then manually entered every vote total for every candidate in every race and every municipality by hand, and then proofed them against the voting machine tapes before posting totals online.

Nickolaus described the process of online posting as being "slower than we had anticipated." No kidding. It was nearly six hours after polls closed that somewhat complete results were posted. The results of the presidential primary were posted about 2 a.m.; County Board results at 2:21 a.m.

This is a great editorial, and I concur, she needs to step aside.

Access? Really?

yes really. I wrote about that in my previous blogs. That's what the Diebold machines use too.

I know there is a "lite" version of SQL Server, I would think that Oracle and DB2 come in something similar. Cause you know you want your votes to be secure, right?

it used to be called MSDE and was free. I'm not sure what they call it now. Regardless, it is insane that something so hackable is used for tallying votes. Might as well have ballots written in #2 pencil.

oh wait....

Comment by Raine on 04/06/2012 15:19:09
Good. IT took long enough, imo.


Comment by Mondobubba on 04/06/2012 15:27:40
Quote by BobR:
Quote by Mondobubba:
Quote by BobR:
Quote by Mondobubba:
Quote by Raine:
I meant to share this yesterday.... Bob wrote a blog or 2 about Kathy Nickolaus and the wisconsin election last year.

She royally screwed a few things up... Well, it looks like she did it again.
Last year, Nickolaus failed to initially report spring election results from the city of Brookfield, a failure that contributed to an expensive and unnecessary recount in the Supreme Court race between Justice David Prosser and JoAnne Kloppenburg.

On Tuesday, when Nickolaus' staff tried to upload data delivered by local clerks into her computer program, it didn't work, as the Journal Sentinel's Laurel Walker reported Wednesday.

"We were shocked," said Nickolaus, adding that she and her staff had tested the program "many times" and yet apparently not enough.

So her staff then manually entered every vote total for every candidate in every race and every municipality by hand, and then proofed them against the voting machine tapes before posting totals online.

Nickolaus described the process of online posting as being "slower than we had anticipated." No kidding. It was nearly six hours after polls closed that somewhat complete results were posted. The results of the presidential primary were posted about 2 a.m.; County Board results at 2:21 a.m.

This is a great editorial, and I concur, she needs to step aside.

Access? Really?

yes really. I wrote about that in my previous blogs. That's what the Diebold machines use too.

I know there is a "lite" version of SQL Server, I would think that Oracle and DB2 come in something similar. Cause you know you want your votes to be secure, right?

it used to be called MSDE and was free. I'm not sure what they call it now. Regardless, it is insane that something so hackable is used for tallying votes. Might as well have ballots written in #2 pencil.

oh wait....



Access is great for creating a database of all your LPs and CDs but not so much for other things.

Pencils? Paper ballots, that is soooo 20th century, Bobber! Who would want to do that? This is America we are talking about! If there is an overly complex method of doing things, we as Americans demand that!

Comment by Mondobubba on 04/06/2012 15:28:43
Quote by Raine:
Good. IT took long enough, imo.



Yeah, there is that. We had to get rid of the Bush era Civil Rights division at DoJ first.

Comment by Raine on 04/06/2012 15:42:18
Quote by Mondobubba:
Quote by Raine:
Good. IT took long enough, imo.



Yeah, there is that. We had to get rid of the Bush era Civil Rights division at DoJ first.
Yeah, that's true.


Comment by Mondobubba on 04/06/2012 15:44:00
Quote by Raine:
Quote by Mondobubba:
Quote by Raine:
Good. IT took long enough, imo.


Yeah, there is that. We had to get rid of the Bush era Civil Rights division at DoJ first.
Yeah, that's true.



Blah people being killed on a bridge in NoLa? Nothing to see there was the Bush response.


Comment by Raine on 04/06/2012 15:49:32
Comment by wickedpam on 04/06/2012 15:51:25
The Boehner one is my fave

Comment by Will in Chicago on 04/06/2012 15:51:53
Good morning, bloggers!!

I fear that gas prices will be used as a bludgeon by the Republicans. I think that the President and his allies should take what measures they can to try to reduce prices, such as dipping into the national reserve. The GOP will cry politics, but they probably do so when President Obama wakes up in the morning.

Comment by livingonli on 04/06/2012 16:26:06
Good day, folks. Gas passed the $4 mark here this week too. I saw one station at $3.99 but even the cheap stations start at $4.03 now.

Comment by Will in Chicago on 04/06/2012 16:39:55
The cheapest gas in Northwest Indiana in now around $4.09.

Comment by Scoopster on 04/06/2012 17:53:59
We still have a few stations under 3.90 around here, but they're getting rarer by the day.

Comment by Raine on 04/06/2012 19:07:46


Comment by Raine on 04/06/2012 19:08:58
Well, that is great news!

(I assume you saw the call for her to step down that I posted earlier?)


Comment by BobR on 04/06/2012 19:26:48
Quote by Raine:



Comment by Raine on 04/06/2012 20:00:55
Quote by BobR:
Quote by Raine:




Comment by Mondobubba on 04/06/2012 21:58:00
I will be looking at potential temporary digs this evening. I hope it goes well.

Comment by Raine on 04/07/2012 00:24:44
Quote by Mondobubba:
I will be looking at potential temporary digs this evening. I hope it goes well.

Waiting for updates!