Yesterday I felt the first personal shock at the fuel pump when I put another $20 worth of gas in my Jeep Comanche — the gauge screaming now at $4.49 a gallon for regular.
This is 50 cents more than the last time.
Fortunately (or maybe unfortunately), I don’t drive much as the Jeep is in fairly bad shape with exhaust and ignition problems, but visiting my local Union 76 still way-sucks through a small straw.
Prices nationwide are up 14 percent so far in 2012, this on the back of a 10 percent rise in oil.
Despite us California folks consuming less gas (2.6 percent less in the past year), the pump still is a bitch: Back in November, Californiaâ€™s average gas price was $3.85 a gallon, up 64 cents from the average a year earlier. But that sounds cheap compared with the stateâ€™s average of $4.323 a gallon on Wednesday, according to AAAâ€™s daily survey of fuel retailers.
(Illustration found here).
And apparently there’s no end in sight — despite the price of crude slightly easing.
According to HuffPost this morning:
Benchmark oil for April delivery was down 39 cents to $106.68 at late afternoon Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The contract rose 52 cents to $107.07 per barrel in New York on Wednesday.
Brent crude rose 2 cents to $122.68 per barrel in London.
The Energy Department said Wednesday that inventories of crude oil rose by 4.2 million barrels last week.
Analysts were expecting an increase of just 1 million barrels.
Demand for gasoline over the four weeks ended Feb. 24 was 6.7 percent lower than a year earlier, the department said.
If we’re driving less, and crude ain’t at some crazy price, WTF with the high pump prices?
One word: Greed.
Commodity trading was suppose to stabilize prices, but asshole speculators are buying oil commodities, betting that they can sell them at a profit when prices go up, thus, making the whole market jell upward, which ends up at the gas pump.
Although these guys never, ever have anything physically to do with oil, their bullshit adds reportedly 25 cents per gallon to the bottom line we see at the gas station.
Senator Bernie Sanders is mad, too.
In a post at CNN this week, Sanders lashed out at the bastards:
A decade ago, speculators controlled only about 30 percent of the oil futures market.
Today, Wall Street speculators control nearly 80 percent of this market.
Many of those people buying and selling oil in the commodity markets will never use a drop of this oil.
They are not airlines or trucking companies who will use the fuel in the future.
The only function of the speculators in this process is to make as much money as they can, as quickly as they can.
So as speculators gamble, millions of Americans are paying what amounts to a “speculators tax” to feed Wall Street’s greed.
People who live in rural areas like my home state of Vermont are hit harder than most because they buy gas to drive long distances to their jobs.
In Asia the shit is even higher — Reuters reports this morning: Front-month Brent slipped 18 cent to $122.84 a barrel by 0804 GMT, after settling $1.11 higher at $122.66 in the previous session. U.S. oil slipped 33 cents to $106.74 a barrel after settling 52 cents higher at $107.07.
Prices shift faster than I can type.
And now a side of twister.
One of the nasty results of fossil fuel burning the last 200 years is climate change — a kind of horrible vicious circle where mankind goes bananas about crude oil, searching for it, processing it, selling/buying it, putting it in vehicles to go somewhere to buy shit, staring the whole shebang all over again.
And the whole circle is killing civilization.
An obvious distaste of climate change is how freaked the weather, which is the end result of all that oil/gas bullshit.
In that scope, the middle US was hammered yesterday, killing at least 12 people and spawned more than 20 twisters across Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky in one crazy swoop.
Six people died in Illinois, who were crushed when a house was lifted up and fell on them, authorities said.
And most US peoples at the sight of these examples of “extreme weather” events are pulling their collective head out of their asses.
From Climate Progress:
The number of people who believe that the planet is warming is at its highest level since the fall of 2009.
According to a survey conducted in December 2011 by the National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change, 62 percent of Americans say they think global warming is happening.
Thatâ€™s up 7 percent from last spring.
Significantly, Americans are attributing their increased belief in global warming to their (correct) perception that the planet is warming and the weather is getting more extreme.
Roughly half of people who believe in global warming said that these were the primary influence.
No shit sherlock — let’s pump it!