Sunday, May 11, 2008

That's billion with a "b".

If you have heard this joke before hang with me while I tell it again.

I went on a blind date with a very attractive woman last night. When I say her I was so taken by her beauty that I asked her what she wanted to do. She told me she wanted to go to the most expensive place in town; so I took her to the gas station......Okay, so it's not exactly Pryoresque.

But I thought of that joke today while I was gassing up my car. $3.85 a gallon? Are you kidding me? And yet, as someone pointed out, a gallon of gas is still cheaper than a gallon of milk.

Honestly I don't know how some people are making it in this country. I do alright money wise, and I even noticed that the cost of things like groceries have shot up over the past few weeks. I suspect that this has something to do with the cost of fuel as well. After all, someone has to drive those groceries to the grocery store.

But how did this happen? Weren't the Iraqis supposed to be giving up their oil to us after we kicked their asses? Didn't we put an oil man in the White House for this very reason?

11.6 billion in one quarter that's how much Exxon made in profits last quarter. Nothing wrong with that of course, this is A-merry-ca, if the market demands it, they have every right to make money. But at what point does the market stop demanding it? When do A-merry-cans say enough? I suspect that if gas was $6 a gallon mofos would still be driving around in Ford Excursions, Hummers, and all sorts of big ass fuel guzzlers. And most folks would still jump in their cars and drive a quarter mile on a beautiful day to buy a newspaper, instead of just hoofing it. This is what we have become as A-merry-cans, we are lazy, and spoiled.

Now the conservatives are blaming the dumbocrats: They won't drill in the ANWR(Arctic National Wildlife Refuge), the damn environmentalist won't let us explore nuclear energy as an alternative to what we have now, we can drill off the coasts, and on an on. That, of course, is bullshit. Because no matter how much oil the oil companies drill, they will still not release it all to the market. No, they will hold back to create demand just like the Arabs are doing now. We have been down this road before. Give these corporations a chance to make more profit and guess what they will do? Make more profit. And if you think they will pass it down to you, the consumer, I have a slightly cracked bell here in Philly to sell you.

So now one of the hottest sellers at Pep Boys is the gas caplock. This is the case because people steal gas now, and it's only getting worse. People in our area have been going to the mall with a full tank of gas, and after a full day of shopping, they find themselves heading back to a car with an empty tank of gas. Talk about a mood killer.

Every now and then I see signs that A-merry-cans are reaching their breaking point. But then as I sat stuck in traffic on Bustleton Avenue this Saturday--- of all days, I had to rethink my position. Here in A-merry-ca we are still driving every damn where, and it doesn't look like the gas price is effecting our habits very much.

So we will keep bitching and moaning, the oil companies, and Manny Moe and Jack will continue to get rich, and the politricksters that we send to Washington will keep pointing fingers at each other to score political points.

I should have bought a hybrid.


jose said...

Excuse the pun, field, but we got hosed. Fuck a hybrid, what happened to the electric car, or even solar power? I keep telling people this, but we've had the capability to use solar energy for a century now, and yet we don't because, well, big corporations can't control the sun, so there's no money in that. And car companies are in cahoots with the oil co's, or else they would have recognized the demand for said cars years ago. Thank goodness in NYC I don't have to drive, but anytime I go anywhere else, the multiple gas stops annoy the shit outta me.

hennasplace said...

I do not own a car because commute from home to work, but that does not mean that gas prices doesn't affect my pocket either. I am a single person with no children by the way, and food is high. There are times when I do forego buying meat, and purchase produce from the farmer's market because it is a little cheaper to buy locally. Public transportation costs are going up, and think twice about ordering online because the shipping fees are high, it's just cheaper for me to shop in the city since I am already working there and you can find just about anything in NYC. Yes it's not always fun carrying tons of fabric, but saved $25.00 in shipping costs.

I do think we are spoiled if we are going into a car to only drive down or up the street just to purchase a paper. If we did do more walking, we would weigh a little less. However, I do not know about using nuclear power because I am not completely convinced that it is safe, and how do we get rid of the waste when it's too taxing for people to even put trash into a trash receptacle. In addition, people believe that growing corn to produce ethenol would resolve the issue, but it turns out to be more harmful to the environment. There is also the matter of companies such as Exxon building new refineries that would enable them to produce crude oil into gas. The problem isn't the like of oil, but converting the oil into gas, but oil companies have not built a refinery in more than 20 years.


I meant say earlier what a lovely family.

Wine Dog said...

Field, you touched on one of my favorite rants. 4065 dead soldiers, countless civilians, 517 billion dollars, five years and out here in the Golden State we enjoy $4.13 a gallon. Those numbers may vary by the time this posts. It took $70 to fill the Wine Dog diamonds in the back sun roof down, diggin' the scene mobile yesterday. I don't pay that for groceries...although I suspect I will soon...and I take public transportation to work.

Jonzee said...

I left NY to come to Columbia MD for a job--but couldn't do suburban hell so moved to Baltimore. Um, and now I pay more than twice as much as I did in gas. And I am about to lose it on my boss about our agreement to let me work from the crib twice a week.

But that is an aside. Drilling ANWR will not significantly lower the price of gas. There is not enough oil there to make it a long term solution--and the havoc it would wreak on the environment? Whole 'nother story.

I think those burning oil fields in Iraq was a hint that we were about to have to belly up to the bar and pay the gas prices other folk around the world have been paying forever.

Unfortunately, there has never been enough political will to force cities to develop more public transportation which has been a way to divide by class forever.

Cali Tejano said...

Y'all are feeling my pain. For the longest time, I was paying $2.50 to $3 a gallon for gas in Cali while the rest of the country paid half as much. This only proves that oil companies were gouging me for the longest time, and now they're screwing the entire nation now that they can get away with it.

How am I getting by? For the past year, I've had to do without things like new clothes, vacation getaways and girlfriends. That stuff's expensive!

If I'm lucky, I may land a new job this year. Hopefully something that pays a lot more.

szechuanpork said...

Arrgggg. Field, I agree with you on Irag. But the reason for the price increase is the new demand from India and China, and the lack of new refineries in the US. The Chevy Volt is scheduled for 2010 and the VW ??? is unknown. The VW gets something like 235 miles per gallon but it's probably unsafe. Better off with a Vespa, heh. There's a ton of new drilling going on in AR now, mostly for gas, but at least it's not imported. You know what, I love the outdoors, I love to fish and hike, but we gotta get some more American Oil drilling here. Just my 2 cents.

StillaPanther2 said...

Brother Field.. Been driving for 40 years and the gas companies ALWAYS have made outrageous profits. These companies hire people that analyse our micro-habits. They know when the looting frenzy will be placed in neutral to give us a sense of gratitude that the price is no higher. Is it not strange that they can speculate (put it in your mind)months ahead to give you forewarning. I guess they say "we told you so" and you will feel guilty that you didnt prepare yourself. For forty years I have heard every excuse to raise the price but I have never heard of a reason to lower the price. Elementary,and higher learning of economics doesnt apply to these guys. So what can you say..."happy motoring". :{

Bob said...

Alaskan oil isn't sold in the USA at discount because it's pumped out of the ground in Alaska; it's sold to Far East nations at market rate. The way China & India are growing, our production & consumption won't have much effect on the price from now on. The only sure way to spend less on energy is to use less energy like they're learning to do in Europe.

Curious said...

You said it. Should have bought a hybrid. Prices in the US pale to those in Europe which are taxed at a much higher rate than they are here. But to back up what Bob said, regardless how much oil costs, we need to reduce our dependency on something that will run out anyway.

szechuanpork said...

Bob, find a lake and sink in it. The world will be better off without you.

szechuanpork said...

The quest for alt_fuel will continue and the pace is quickening, why make the meantime more painful? New drilling for oil in North America makes a lot of sense to me. I despise OPEC but you and I both know we will be dealing with them for a while. How about we lessen our dependence by drilling here again and build refineries and nuclear power plants instead of just complaining about the inevitable.

Anonymous said...

Please oh Pleas field you got to follow up on RON CHRISTIE, he's my favorite :
Effeminate Non-Threatening Negro

Which should be a catagory of political pundit that you should explore.


field negro said...

Good point bob, so even if we drilled ANWR it probably wouldn't make a difference.

"These companies hire people that analyse our micro-habits. They know when the looting frenzy will be placed in neutral to give us a sense of gratitude that the price is no higher."

stillpanther2, if that shit is true, then we don't have a shot.

szechaunpork, I didn't even touch on the demand for fuel in places like China and India, and I am quite sure that the growth in those countries is far outpacing ours.

jonzee, I feel for you. From NY to MD calls for a serious change in your driving habits. I know you New Yorkers, like Jose, don't do a lot of driving. I always liked that about NY. And tell that damn boss of your to chill and let you work from home.

Anon 5:51AM. Yeah Ron is a funny guy. But you know what? I think he is actually a true believer. Anyone (black or white) who actually thinks that our current VP is good at his job needs to get his head examined.

curious I am still thinking about that hybrid.

"I do think we are spoiled if we are going into a car to only drive down or up the street just to purchase a paper. If we did do more walking, we would weigh a little less.."

Ding ding ding. Hennasplace, you nailed it with that quote.

andyfrombrooklyn said...

drove to outer long island this weekend where the size of the vehicles grows with each exit. paid 40 dollars to fill up the corolla. wife complained about one monster truck that was particularly over the top. i said just think about how much it costs to fill. these people are paying for their boneheadedness now.

jody said...

We need to start re-thinking how we are livin.... the good news is that there are some really great, creative thinkers that are invisioning simple yet elegant "green" living..... I would encourage everyone to investigate..... Its not just the cars... it is plastics and all kinds of other things that use oil. But, good news, there ARE green alternatives.... Nuclear Power Is NOT GREEN!!! Please do not get sucked into the nuclear industry's slick promos that it is. There is NO SAFE way to store the waste, which is radioactive for thousands of years. ALL mining, dumping is done on Native people's lands, globally, so PLEASE NO NUKES!!!!
Look at any garbage dump and you are looking at our new source of energy. Seriously, methane can be created from our garbage and used for power... Where there is political will... there will be a way. We all just need to demand it.

Deacon Blue said...

The gas cap lock! Ooo boy that brings back memories. Grew up in California and I was a young 'un during that 70s oil crisis with the huge hour-long lines to get into gas stations...hoping the station wasn't out by the time you got your turn. My mom had to buy one of those gas cap locks way back then to prevent people siphoning it off for themselves. As they say, everything old is new again eventually. Damn. Hope this doesn't mean white leasure suits with huge lapels are coming back...

New Black Woman said...

Drilling in ANWR won't make much of a difference. With over 300 million people in this country (and our expensive toys), all the oil found up there wouldn't last us 10 years (generous estimate there).

I once did a story about a guy who bought a Smart Car. After doing the story, I thought to myself: What am I doing driving an 2005 Honda Civic Coupe???

Anyway, the only way we can survive this crunch is to live smarter--cut down on unnecessary spending and invest in alternative energy sources.

However, many Americans can't afford the newer sources of energy, so we are pretty much in a bind right now. At least I know I can't.

We can't win from losing.

hennasplace said...

There are things that we can do now to save energy. I would like for urban cities to have better and more efficient public transportation like in Europe, and France has a great railroad system. I believe that closet thing what is France is Washington, D.C. subway system.

I know that I did not turn up my heat this past winter, and wish my block had more trees on the street so I wouldn't have to run my air conditioner as much in the summer. We are a wasteful society. We take so much for granted as if everything is to our disposal. We could drive less particularly if it only take less than 5 minutes by car, unless you are leaving where public transportation is non-existent. We energy and food, and those people who do not cook will tell me that they do not like leftovers when they can barely afford to buy six-pack of Bud. If there is extra meafloaf and potatoes from Sunday's dinner, then make shepard's pie. I take the extra pancakes from breakfast and make peanut sandwiches. Then is no need to waste food or energy, particularly when you make have to take out a second mortgage or personal loan to buy food and gas.

Anonymous said...

Let's blame the ppl who followed the marketing scheme and invested in american Suv's, let's blame China and India.

No the gas company's are only paying $25 to $35 dollars a gallon, they reserved the price years ago that's why they are making record profits.

We drill oil in Cali and Alaska, where does that gas go? not to Americans, so you can believe the hype about drilling in ANWR if you want to.

You know who I blame, those losers that voted for Bush not once but twice. Before he got in office we were warned about his ties to Big Oil, so blame the right ppl and stop believing the hype

RedLipstick said...

When I filled up last night I paid $30 at $3.63 a gallon. I own a tiny car & only fill up once a week so I'm not really feeling a pinch.

Nevertheless, the best thing that could happen in this market driven society is for the price of fuel to go through the roof & actually it's not quite high enough. $6 a gallon gas is a good thing.

Unfortunately people respond best to negative reinforcement. Folks will reduce their driving and buy smaller, more fuel efficient cars if gas prices keep rising. Some people will suffer more than others but such is life--we have to make hard but smart choices.

Sprawl is another factor that needs to be dealt with. Public transportation works well in geographically small & densely populated areas [NYC/DC]. Our geographically large cities especially in the Sunbelt are growing beyond the capacity of public transit to do any real good. Seriously, if you move 30 to 40 miles from the city center or major job centers it will take hours to get back in on a commuter train or park & ride buses.

The only real way to get us moving in a new direction is to hit us where it hurts the most--our wallets!

Anonymous said...

Anon. Let's say Gore won just for fun. Did you know he wanted an increase of 1 dollar on gas tax, it's in his book. and how would he reduce demand overseas Goober? Nuclear weapons?

Big Man said...

Thanks for the shout out on your sidebar.

Milk has been high for a minute. It's funny that folks are just noticing this. It's been up around $4 a gallon since last year.

Jibreel Riley said...

Because of YOU.

Yes You Obama Supporters with your O stickers on your SUV's.

Its not the SUV's or the the spots cars or the fact you dont ride the bus...

Bio-fuels have turned corn into gold. The bad thing is now, more farmers are growing corn for fuel than FOOD! Just because you can grow it dose not make it insufficient and starving African Children.

YOU are the reason why gas prices will just keep going higher... Yes, YOU! Oil Companies dont set the price the market dose (just like other commodities like: wheat, gold, copper, rice). You silly buffoons can cry poor to big oil all you want however you know how much money you already pay in gas taxes? You know how much The Government made in gas taxes... like 5 Trillion and they are not doing a damm thing to get that fuel to the pump.

I know I'm going to here from the kids who have no clue how the world works and thinks you and stick a mast on a semi truck or something ells asinine. These are the same kids who scoff at the notion of driving a Chevy Aveo or catching the bus to run errands.

or cars like it...

I know I'm going to here from the Midtown Kids who think the A train goes everywhere and never set foot outside of the Hudson River and its clueless on how the rest of America lives.

I know I'm going to have to come to terms that this is the way gas is going to be for a very long time until we get some true Communicators about this issue.

Ignorance is this nations most expensive commodity.

field negro said...

No problem big man, you have a nice site.

jibreel..., don't be so tough on the Obamaholics.

leneypoo said...

redlipstick- good point. Eventually we're going to have to go looking somewhere else for energy, we might as well do it now before things get really bad.

The nuclear energy thing is one of the things that annoys me about Obama, btw.

The hurricane season is coming! I mean for the past couple of years there hasn't been any major storms, but when our luck runs out, I will hate to see the gas stations. And I will wonder how high the prices will get by then...

tenacitus said...

Field once you throw in the cost of the hybrid you will just break even. Also in terms of its' environmental impact it might be worse for you to buy a new hybrid instead of an old car

field negro said...

tenacitus, thanks for the tip. I was looking for an excuse not to get one :)

burpster said...

Our society runs on oil. For the near future we will need gas/diesel to run our society. You people raggin' on SUV owners need to get over it, nothing is changing in the near future. I get tired of hearing about my driving a big pickup with a large motor, I'm the one that pays 130$ to fill it up, not anyone else.

Speculators are driving the price of fuel up, check it out. The weak Yankee dollar is also causing alot of the rise in price...Iraq War ring a bell? As an American you are largely responsible for the price of fuel, your lack of courage in stopping Dubya and the neocon agenda is a major reason for high fuel prices. Next time you pull up to the pump...take a moment and think about it.

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...

Someone needs to ask the First Slut that got married on that cow chip patch known as the Ranch how much did her wedding cost, cause we all know those ExxonMobil profits got kicked back to her Pappy.

We didn't even see $2 a gallon gas until his dusty butt stole the White House...TWICE.

I guess I'm about to drop about twenty pounds off my fat butt, because if gas goes any higher, my car is staying PARKED, and will only be used on weekends to go places where the buses don't run regularly.

And in DC Metro, there's very few places that fit that description, but lo and behold, I happen to live in such an area where the buses only run during the weekdays, and getting to the Rail is about two to five miles away from the nearest station.

I'll also be losing some of that weight because I won't be buying as much groceries as I have in the past, and trying to eat healthy is also skyrocketing in prices, too. That is the only thing making me homesick for Cali, cause I was right near all the fruit and veggies I could ever eat...sigh

Constructive Feedback said...

[quote]That, of course, is bullshit. Because no matter how much oil the oil companies drill, they will still not release it all to the market. No, they will hold back to create demand just like the Arabs are doing now. We have been down this road before. Give these corporations a chance to make more profit and guess what they will do? Make more profit[/quote]

Of course you have EVIDENCE of this stockpiling, right Field-Negro?

You see they took old Veterans Stadium and towed it down Broad Street and moved it over to where the Sunoco refinery is. They sealed up all of the portals of the stadium and THIS is where Sunoco is sandbagging their oil. I BELIEVE YOU MAN!!!

OR, Field-Negro we can look at WORLD WIDE DEMAND INCREASE. Here is what I don't understand about fake Anti-American American supposed Humanitarians. As other places around the world stand up out of the mud and become CONSUMERS just as we are in America instead of being happy that their long years of condemnation of AMERICAN IMPERIALIST POWER has withered as some of the other 6.2 billion people in the world enjoy a measure of economic success these Americans are flustered!!

The MARKET as was defined where A-MERRY-CANS were the biggest consumers of certain commodities exclusively IS OVER!!!! There are more people attempting to siphon oil/rice/corn from the same bucket IS DRIVING UP PRICES.

What do LOGICAL people do? They get into the market and become SUPPLIERS! No you are not likely to build an oil company as they did back in the day in Texas. What about supplying corn and rice? Funny how our ancestors were able to do it - though not voluntarily.

But wait - you say that the Black farmer was forced to exit farming because HE COULDN'T MAKE ANY MONEY? Ahhhh we have record commodity prices right now!!! You can pay all of your farm hands a LIVING WAGE and STILL have money in your pocket!

Look at all of those abandoned lots in Philly Field-Negro! Think - FARMLAND!! You sound like a brother with more money than the average Philly homeboy. What if you got more people seeking both a job and some skills to learn about MULTIPLE STREAMS OF INCOME? They can bring those lots that you saw the brother in North Philly throw his trash down upon into PRODUCTIVE land that is growing corn and rice.

For you - you could use your skills to line up a corn processing plant to turn this into ethanol.

The current line is that turning corn into fuel rather than food is running up the price for starving people around the world. Field-Negro THIS IS ONLY THE CASE when we look at the market as defined by the current level of SUPPLY. You can be a part of the SUPPLY INCREASE.

You are a strong supporter of "The O Man". He claims to want to spend $10 billion over 10 years for "green jobs". Isn't what I just described above a "green job"? Why don't you turn your blind support for this man into a DEMAND THAT HE FUND THIS OPERATION IN PHILLY? This would turn an fuzzy "audacity of hope" claim into a hard and tangible reality. You provide jobs, you provide young people with a trade/skill, you clean up filthy lots, you supply food, you expand the food market, you supply fuel to lower the prices.

Think about it Field-Negro.
At some point you must come in out of the FIELD as a worker who is valued for his strong back, into the FIELD HOUSE to do strategic planning for the benefit of the greater whole.

Are you going to squander your leadership opportunity that will shape the lives of these young people 50 years from now due to your fear and lack of vision?

GenevaGirl said...

I'm a Philly girl living in Geneva, Switzerland. I laugh at my parents when they complain about the price of gas. Welcome to my world! We've been paying about $6/gallon for years. It's now up to about $7. I just filled my tank for US$102. Since prices have always been high, I barely blinked an eye.

We do get something in return for these high prices: excellent roads. US gas prices might be tolerable if you weren't driving on roads full of potholes and falling down bridges.

Don't even get me started on food prices here. My parents came for Thanksgiving two years ago. When I told my dad that the turkey cost about $85, he almost choked!

Prices are outrageously high here, but everybody makes a living wage. Heck, illegal housecleaners get $25/hour!

Saint Lucian Dutch Canadian said...

I just did the conversion - $3.85US/gallon = $3.85 US for 3.785 L => $1.02 US = $1.02 CDN per litre. We are currently paying $1.25/litre here in Toronto. We used to pay as low as $0.67 per litre. I'm surprised that the US gas price is lower than the Canadian price since we have oil and untapped oil in the Alberta oil sands. Anyway, I only spend $10-$15 per week on gas because I have an economy car and I never fill it up. I always buy either $10 or $15. I park at the subway and take it to downtown so the higher gas prices haven't really affected me. Invest in any economy car.

Sonja Ebron said...

We really have no choice but to power down, to begin using as little energy as we can. A barrel of oil is now at $140 and going up Up UP, regardless of the level of speculation in the market. The fact is that the world simply can't get much more oil out of the ground on a daily basis, and demand is skyrocketing worldwide. Those who can afford it will be the ones who get it, and that leaves a lot of us out. We spend a good bit of time talking about peak oil at blackEnergy, but this is one of the best discussions among Black folks on the net. (Full disclosure: We also sell lots of stuff to help people power down.) We all need to pay more attention to solutions, though, like bicycles and gardens and energy efficiency in our homes. Thanks for covering this important topic.

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