Gasoline goes to the highest bidder

March 8, 2014

All the talk recently has been about the Keystone XL pipeline. While it’s true that oil sands, tar sands, or more properly bituminous sands, give off 12 percent more greenhouse gases than regular oil – and I believe that global warming is a reality – I’ve never been able to work up much enthusiasm for the environmentalist position.

On the other hand, conservatives have cleverly and politically drawn the lines for drilling oil in America by pitting the consumer paying through the nose for gasoline versus carbon emissions or a bunch of overzealous naturalists concerned about some species of bird that no one’s ever heard of.

The unspoken promise of building the pipeline is that American oil companies would then refine the oil and sell gasoline to American consumers for less money than we’re currently paying. That’s a pleasant fantasy, but a poor business decision.

Let me play devil’s advocate for a moment: Why would a businessman sell gasoline to Americans for $2.50 or $3 a gallon when he can sell it to Europe for $6.50 or to Australia or China for $8.50? Answer: He won’t. He’s a businessman, and he’ll sell it to the highest bidder.

Now, if the big oil companies would be willing to sign contracts with the federal government to sell that refined gasoline to Americans first, we could certainly make a deal under those circumstances. I’ll watch with great interest for that to happen.

Jay Fenton



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