Da Legal Stuff...

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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Petroleum Pricing, or Price-Fixing, Office

Contributer: Kevin S.

The price of gas on da Rock is outrageous, but, you don’t need me to both tell you that, nor remind you. I apologize if I have upset you. The Petroleum Pricing Office, who’s existence was intended to stabilize fluctuations in gas prices, has not only failed to achieve this goal, but has cost Newfoundlanders and Labradoreans hundreds with the high gas prices.

Today, as I write this piece, the cost of regular gas in St. John’s is 99.9 cents per litre. Here in New Orleans (where I live), it is a 51.5 cents a litre. This is a 48 cent difference! For a fill-up of my truck (Ford Ranger), this is almost $10 per fill-up that I would be paying extra if I lived on da Rock.

Does this upset you? If you are paying those high prices, then it should.

You should also be asking the number one question of the year – “Why are gas prices so high?”

Lately, it seems as if the oil producers and retailers will use any lame excuse to keep the money rolling their way. Over the past few months, I have heard that a snowstorm in Europe caused a 2-week price hike because a refinery had to reduce production. I guess that was their first ever snow fall.

Remember the great black-out a few years ago, you know, when New York, Detroit, and Toronto lost power? Guess what – that caused the price of oil to go up.

This week, the excuse is that China and India are consuming more oil, so the demand is up globally. We all know about supply-demand, so this sounds a bit more plausible, except when you think about it.

Have China and India suddenly discovered the invention known to the rest of the world as automobiles. Maybe just last week, Apo and Lin Lin were visiting Canada and were amazed to see people riding in horseless carriages. They quickly headed back to their countries and told everyone, who then bought horseless carriages for themselves, thus driving up global demand for fossil fuels. Yes, it makes perfect sense.

So, nothing new that the big oil companies want to make more money. They can pretty much tell us that the price of oil is going up because the wind is blowing from the east today and we have no choice but to accept that. They control the oil, we want the oil, and they know that.

Back to da Rock and the Petroleum Pricing Office. They are billed as being on the side of the consumer, but yet, the price of gas is higher than elsewhere in Canada (right now, you can buy gas in Nova Scotia for 89 cents a litre).

I wonder if they have a hidden agenda – is this another tax on the poor (like the lottery). They are ripping off consumers to the tune of at least 10 cents a litre. Add that up over a period of weeks and months and you are talking a large chunk of your hard-earned cash lost forever.

This is one issue that needs to be given more time in the spotlight and under a microscope.


No Gas Glenn said...

Good points Kevin,

The commissioner's office has an interuption formula in place to adjust prices other than the normal date of the 15th of the month. I have noticed he is quick to use the formula when oil prices rise but when they fall he conveniently forgets that he has the mandate to roll prices back as well.

Jerry said...

Its all a tax scam. The higher the price, the more tax revenue the province gets. The commissioner answers to the provincial government.

You won't get far by cutting the purse strings of your boss so we pay the price at the pumps. It makes me sick.