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  1.    #1  
    In response to the article appearing in most major newspapers across the country concerning the $8.4 billion profit reported by Exxon. Concern over profits by this oil company has brought about accusations of gouging the American consumer. According to the article, "CEOs from Exxon and its industry peers have already appeared twice at Senate hearings and were asked to justify their profits shortly after reporting them to shareholders." This has to be an American first. I have never heard of a company being called to justify it's profits. One wonders if an extension of this idea could be made to other companies in other industries as well.

    Per the article, "Lawmakers believe the profits are made on the backs of consumers who are paying a national average of $2.91 a gallon - 68 cents more than last year. Exxon says a strong commodities market combined with fortuitous planning and prudent management are producing record numbers." This should make Americans ask the fundamental question: what is the difference between what a public non-profit utility company provides and what a private for-profit oil company provides? Afterall, they both sell energy to all United States citizens. The difference is that natural gas and electricity are sold in the form of a public good whereas oil is sold in the form of a private good. Accordingly, on the grounds of promoting national security, the United States Congress should convert all oil companies to utility companies. This would eliminate the windfall profits and force the oil industry to earn just enough income to cover operating expenses just as natural gas and electric utility companies are required to do. The resulting drop in gasoline prices would further stimulate the economy and lighten the energy stranglehold upon the United States by the Middle East. It would also eliminate the influence of the oil lobby. In this case, desperate times call for deliberate measures.
  2. #2  
    All this hogwash is such a joke.

    The reason for high prices is simple:

    Refinery capacity.

    We have not built any new refineries or expanded capacity in ages. Add to that more demand for gasoline, and it's supply and demand - economics 101.

    One easy answer our energy woes is nuclear power. We could be energy independent if we were serious about the problem.
  3. #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by JOEBIALEK
    This would eliminate the windfall profits and force the oil industry to earn just enough income to cover operating expenses just as natural gas and electric utility companies are required to do.
    There is an argument that by making something public (like oil) then the incentive that drives a company to make more profits might also stifle development.

    In the short term, it brings gas prices down, in the long term, it creates a very slow bureaucratic environment that is not as responsive to economic change.
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  4. #4  
    What major developments has the oil industry produced in the last 20 years.?

    In the 70's the oil companies were slapped with a windfall profit tax for excessive profits in a tight market. We could do that again.

    As for refinery capacity, I'm having trouble believing that when the normally smoke and stinky smell belching refinery not far from where I live has been smokeless and stinkless for several months not. Not 1 out of probably 50 smokestacks producing anything.
  5. #5  
    DHAnderson,

    You would have to be somewhat close to the industry to be aware of advances they've made, and understand there benefits.

    Don't have a clue what you're trying to say in paragraphs 2 & 3.
  6. #6  
    DHAnderson,

    Nevermind comment about paragraph 2 (I'm on Treo) about windfall. Should have replied something along the lines of "great way to raise prices to the consumer" (that would be you and me and everyone else who consumes just about anything).
  7. #7  
    sblanter,

    In paragraph three, I was trying to point out that the refinery not far from where I live appears idle, and has been so for several months.

    As for the technology, has any of it benefited the consumer?
  8. #8  
    As much as I agree that windfall profits ith high prices does not equate, the American consumer is to blame. We have requested lower and lower mileage through our consumer choices. We insist on commuting to work in these ridiculously large vehicles without carpooling.

    As much as we've complained about $3.50/gallon average gas, we're not changing our behavior so the oil/gas companies will continue to bleed us.
  9. #9  
    As far as the idle refinery is concerned, it may just because of the costs to actually run it (don't know which one you're referring to.

    Believe it or not, but technological improvements in the recent past are why gas (and other commodities) are as cheap as they are today (which is also why renewables and such haven't taken off so well).
  10. #10  
    The apparently idle plant is in Rosemont MN. I believe that it is run by Ashland Oil Co.

    Mike C:

    The main drawback to Nuclear power is the waste. As far as I know we still do not have a safe and reliable way to store nuclear waste. Here in MN, Excel Energy is running out of on site storage for at least one of their nuclear plants. When the on-site storage is gone, the plant has to close.

    Since the waste will be around for 100,000 years or so, I consider it to be the most polluting and dangerous of all energy systems.
  11. #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by DHAnderson
    sblanter,

    In paragraph three, I was trying to point out that the refinery not far from where I live appears idle, and has been so for several months.
    Most of hte "smoke" that you see from most refineries is steam (much of the pollution you can't see). Perhaps it appears idle because it isn't cold in Minnesota any more and the steam evaporates?
  12. #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by daThomas
    As much as we've complained about $3.50/gallon average gas, we're not changing our behavior so the oil/gas companies will continue to bleed us.
    That's because it requires us to think about the 'whole' instead of the individual.
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  13. Micael's Avatar
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    #13  
    What excessive profits?
  14. #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by Micael
    What excessive profits?
    Good point. I think to many "excessive" means "more than it used to be." Unfortunately "excessive" is absolute and they are using it as a relative term.
  15. #15  
    KRamsauer,

    The smell is gone that was always there, and the parking lots look pretty barron.

    As for $3.50 per gallon of gas, that's still pretty much bang for the buck. That's one reason why renewables have a hard time getting going. Gas, even at today's price is still a cheap alternative.
  16. #16  
    Quote Originally Posted by DHAnderson
    The smell is gone that was always there, and the parking lots look pretty barron.
    Maybe it's an asphalt facility or somethign other than a fuels refinery? Marathon's only MN refinery is in St. Paul Park. http://www.marathonpetroleum.com/refining/
  17. #17  
    I have to disagree. Nuclear is safe and the storage can be addressed.
    Ever hear of Yucca Mountain?

    Look at Europe...lots of nukes, little issue. Sure gas is $6 a gallon, but electricity is cheap, so they don't care. (unlike here in the states, where gas and electric can be pretty pricey (relatively).
  18.    #18  
    good points

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