Who’s Fighting For Rights of Motorists?
By RAY HANANIA
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.)
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"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."
Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).
Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
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, Hanania 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. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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