Who’s Fighting For Rights of Motorists?

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Who’s Fighting For Rights of Motorists?
Southwest News-Herald Friday, May 31, 2013

Gasoline prices swing up and down like the roller coaster, seemingly without any rhyme or reason. It’s more like watching a moody person. One day you are up. One day you are down.

The other day, I stopped at a Shell Station at 143rd and LaGrange Road and the price for premium unleaded was $4.999. Are you kidding me? Why not just say $5 a gallon?

Even the gasoline companies know most Americans are easily manipulated by perception. They have a new pricing system in place.

The industry misleads us by referring to the price of regular gasoline when it reports prices. That’s the cheapest gasoline.

Only last year, the difference in the price of the three main types of gasoline — regular, mid-grade and premium — was 10 cents.

So, if regular gasoline cost $3.50, then mid-grade cost $3.60 and premium gasoline was $3.70.

That changed right about the time of the oil spill down by BP (British Petroleum, that foreign conglomerate that squeezed out most of the jobs when it purchased AMOCO).

BP discovered it could easily recover losses by changing the 20-cent formula. BP increased it to 20 cents, initially between mid-grade and premium.

Guess what? No one complained. Or, if they did complain, no one cared. Or, more precisely, those who complained found there is no public agency to fight for their rights.

Then quietly, they raised the spread to 20 cents on the first jump (regular to mid-grade) and 30 cents in the second jump (mid-grade to premium.)

Gasoline prices went from $3.50 for regular, $3.70 for mid-grade, and $4 for premium.

Add to that artificial manipulation of gasoline prices the unexplainable fluctuations in gasoline prices, and suddenly you can see why everyone else would follow BP’s price gouging practices.

Today, the spread between grades is as much as 30 cents today, explaining why premium gasoline at Shell was $4.999.

It’s all upsetting as a motorist. One day it’s $5. The next day, for no reason, it drops down to $4.69. Then it goes back up.

Worse, is that the gasoline in Chicago is higher than the gasoline in other parts of the country. In fact, as you drive away from Chicago, the price of gasoline at the same gasoline franchise starts to fall significantly.

And it’s not just the gasoline taxes that make the difference. I’m talking about still being in Cook County. So don’t just point a finger at the local governments and blame them. They’re not responsible. And don’t just blame it on the “Arabs.” Saudi Arabia is holding their prices down to help the United States market.

The oil companies are responsible. American and British and Venezuelan Oil Companies.

It’s greed. Sadly, we have no way to confront this greed either. There is no agency where we can go to get answers or to find a champion for the public interest. Why not?

Well, it’s because you, the public, don’t care. That’s one aspect of the War on Terror. It’s a mindset to distract you from the real issues that are destroying our lives. Everything is going up and no one is there to monitor it or bring it under control.

There should be.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist. You may reach him at http://www.TheMediaOasis.com and follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/RayHanania.)

This post has already been read 66 times!

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com