Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Passing the buck for high gas prices
Who should be accountable for gasoline running at three dollars a gallon? Who caused bills at the pump to swell to fifty, sixty, even a hundred dollars? Who is to blame?

"Not us," say the American oil companies that turn crude into gas, even though this week they are announcing staggering earnings for the first quarter of the year ($16 billion expected for the top three companies alone).

Blame it on the foreign oil producers, they say. Foreign producers are charging more for crude oil, and the people who invest in oil are willing to pay it, because they are nervous about potential disruptions in the supply ladder.

Blame China and India, some international affairs experts say. The economies in those countries have heated up, sucking up oil from the world market.

Blame it on lack of innovation, environmentalists say. The United States could have, should have, long ago developed a better alternative fuel program, they argue.

Blame it on drivers, economists say. As long as they are willing to pay $3.00 a gallon, that is what gas will cost.

Driving by my local gas stations these days with a quarter tank left is like playing some sort of wacky lottery; just hoping I'll run dry during a price dip. Is the cost of gas breaking my bank account? No. But watching those numbers spin on the pump is surreal when I think back to just a few years ago. Same gas. Same place. WiIdly different tab in the end.

The problem for consumers is that it is virtually impossible to prove where the blame lies...or if anyone should be blamed at all. The system by which we get gasoline is so vast that there are plenty of opportunities along the way for extra pennies to be skimmed, extra dollars to be gouged.

So what are you thinking out there as you watch the big board at your gas station? Who do you blame? Anyone?
Posted By Tom Foreman, CNN Correspondent: 9:47 PM ET
  61 Comments
Blame those who are seeing the profits!
Now that the finger pointing is done, it is time to do something about the problem - any thoughts out there about how we the people can speak up and fix the situation? What can we do?? Boycott the oil industry for a couple of days?? Come together, speak up, and take action - until we do we will continue to pay!
Posted By Anonymous Phyllis - Sanger Texas : 10:25 PM ET
Blame the speculators that are bidding up the price for a barrel of oil and the government mandates which require oxygenated gas in the summer months (which can't be MTBE any longer due to ground water contamination concerns so must be ethanol which there is currently a very limited supply.)

So simply put:
Speculation on oil + Limited supply of gov't mandated additives + No lessening of demand = Higher prices

And on a final note: If gas prices are held unnaturally low, as gauged to supply and demand, we'll be faced with shortages & rationing which, at least in my few, is much worse than higher prices.
Posted By Anonymous Carey, Charlotte, NC : 10:27 PM ET
I couldn't even begin to place blame....honestly, it goes to any number of people. But to blame consumers for being willing to spend $3 for gas? I, personally, have no choice. Unless I just want to stop going to work. Driving my car is the only option I have. And until I figure out how to grow wings and fly there, I'm thinking outrageous gas prices are the only way to go.
Posted By Anonymous Heather, Hanford CA : 10:27 PM ET
Time to say "screw the gas companies", nationalize this excess profit machine!
Oh, by the way, if the Democrats can not be Americans and at least contribute ideas rather than bash Bush, can we just ship them to that place that we recognize wants to sink America? Thanks for nothing Kennedy / Kerry!
Posted By Anonymous Tim, Boca Raton, FL> : 10:34 PM ET
I blame greedy oil companies that rake in billions in profits off of hard earned middle class dollars. I blame our Congress, who seem content to kiss certain parts of the oil companies so that the companies get their money and the Congressperson gets our votes. I blame America as a whole, for while we blame the Middle East for our prices, we should be blaming ourselves for our consumption. I blame the nutjobs running the regimes in the Middle East, from Saudi Arabia for its anti-women Islamic stand, to Iran to it's anti-Western islamic stand. Oh, and let's not forget South America, which is Banana Republicanizing itself by the day. *waves to Venezuela*

Our President is so strong about so many other things, why is he so weak about our dependence on foreign oil?
Posted By Anonymous Angela, Tampa FL : 10:51 PM ET
Hi Tom,
I just watched your piece on AC360. Maybe it's just been a long, long,long day for me, but driving home I have to pass an ostrich farm. Watching them with their heads in the sand, quite literally, made me realize that I've had my head in the sand on alot of issues..And as I kept driving and passed the local gas station,well, what can I say..I came home and dusted off my BIKE..Take Care
Posted By Anonymous Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif : 10:51 PM ET
Obviously the oil companies should be allowed to continue to make a profit and to keep the price they charge somewhere above the price the oil costs them to buy, refine, transport and deliver. So we can expect the price of gas to rise. But when the percent of profit rises, too, it doesn't take a genius to see that it's not geopolitics at work, it's greed. What other possible explanation is there? I can't wait to hear the doublspeak that comes out of Bush's "investigation" to explain this one away.
Posted By Anonymous Stephen Tolkin, Los Angeles, California : 10:56 PM ET
Hmm, I think as consumers we need to take much of the blame. I was out a few times today and saw many cars with only one occupant, including me. I live in the NW suburbs of Chicago, and public transportation is not available, unless you go downtown on the train. We need to carpool more, cut down on unnecessary trips, develope more cost effective public transportation and fuel efficient vehicles. I really don't see the cost of fuel going down. I heard somewhere, maybe CNN, that we should cut down on fuel by 3%. It would startle the oil industry. I think we all should try!
Posted By Anonymous Kathy Chicago, Il : 11:01 PM ET
I blame the media for feeding the conspiracy theories.

Gasoline is a commodity, bought and sold in the open market around the world. Gasoline prices are more transparent than just about any product on Earth. Nobody is complaining that the price of bottled water is on the rise, but we don't post bottled water prices on every street corner.

If gasoline prices are inflated artificially then the gasoline companies will lose sales when people stop buying gasoline. They have no motivation to raise the price of gasoline about their costs, plus a normal profit. Exxon is running at less than 10% profit margin. To compare, Pfizer has an 18% profit margin and GE has a 5-year average of 11.76% (source: WSJ).

The headline for stories about gasoline prices should read: Welcome to the Open Market. Surely there is real news happening.
Posted By Anonymous Bryan G - Dublin, OH : 11:01 PM ET
Who is to blame?

Simple - The Oil Companies and the Bush Administration.

Lets face it, the Bush Administration and most of the Republican Party, have tried to change the Environmental Laws for years, so that their Political backers - "The Big Oil Industry" can mass produce with little to no Environmental Regulations.

The Democrats and a hand full of "Moderate" Republicans have fought hard to protect the current Environmental Laws, so that we and future generations to come, can live in a safe Environment, breath clean air.

The Oil Companies lie and have lied for years about building new and safe refineries that meet the Environmental Standards - they've been pocketing the Money (i.e. Tax Breaks) given to them by previous Presidents without building 1 darn New Refinery that meets the Environmental Code.

They (The Oil Companies) waited very patiently, until one their own ran for Office, and now they are getting what they have always wanted - mass production with little to No Environmental Regulations, and if ANY Law (protected by the Democrats or Moderate Republicans) stands in their way, they'll just raise the Gas prices and take a Choke-Hold on us and our Economy and tell us that WE are "Addicted to Oil."

Memo to the Big Oil Companies and The Bush Administration: WE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, ARE ADDICTED TO PEACE AND PROSPERITY.

People are NOT going to forget this comming this November.

There is going to be a HEAVY Political Price on the Republican Party.

We can not live in this Country with the fear that our personal budgets are going to go through the roof, nor without a Government that stands shoulder to shoulder with the people that Elected them to Office in good faith.
Posted By Anonymous Chris, San Diego, CA : 11:02 PM ET
Hi Tom,
I agree with the enviromentalists.US should have developed a better alternative fuel program long time ago, instead of spending so much time and money going to the moon and exploring the Space!and Pluto?
I also wonder what it takes to be CEO of Exxon Mobil?
Posted By Anonymous Maria Novi MI : 11:02 PM ET
The blame goes to governments- local, state, and federal.

Why don't the federal, state, and local governments place a moratorium on TAXING our gas for a while. Forget the reserve, lets lower the taxation. That is something we might actually feel at the pumps.

Why do we keep blaming oil companies for the prices? For every gallon of gas, they make something like 11 cents of profit- and they are the ones doing the work! They deserve a profit margin!

Keep in mind, every gallon of gas in every state is taxes HORRIBLY. Something like 60 cents a gallon here in New York.
Posted By Anonymous Helen, New York, NY : 11:09 PM ET
Get over the blame and put the energy to solving the problem. Start with getting ethanol in all gas at the highest per centage that requires no change in autos. Then get production of E85 going. NOW

Get Iraqi oil in the paying pipeline and recognize Iran while getting security to African oil fields and protecting the sealanes. Rethink our relationship with SAm countries. Own up to the fact that US oil played colonial games with their oil and we need to mend fences and lend a hand to these growing nations.

Get windmills turning in the wind. These super-sprawl gated communities that sit where wind speed is above 7 MPH should be required to use them.

Hybrid cars are not going to help those who are most effected by the gas prices. Frankly, they are Edsels in the making.

Rethink all the school busing. Maybe a four day school week would be more acceptable or back to neighborhood schools with playgrounds and kids walking to school. The busing was to integrate schools, but with cities abandoned by the affluent the concept no longer is valid. Change the school calendar: northern schools with no school in January.

I kinda like the Iran rationing plan, but?????? Let's get some higher MPG requirements and lower speed limits. Personally, you could ban the muscle SUV's and trucks or just tax them out of existance.

We also need to rethink the property tax breaks that new trophy houses are avoiding with serious land, water, air conservation put into planned communities. Stop draining the Colorado which effects the mountain/prairie states to irrigate the desert.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista, ar : 11:13 PM ET
I just went out and bought a Toyota Prius Hybrid in response to the high price of gas. If there were a car that ran on a 100% alternate fuel source I would have bought it. If enough people buy hybrids, maybe it would help send a message. Like the bumper sticker says, "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention!"
Posted By Anonymous B.J. Wolff, Pensacola, FL : 11:15 PM ET
The "investigation" of the oil companies is another bad joke waste of time. Get legislation in place that requires the investment of all their profits in new refineries and find a way to tax the platinum parachutes out of existance.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista, ar : 11:25 PM ET
There is plenty of blame to go around, but the vast majority of the blame lies with the greedy oil companies and their political enablers in Washington.

It was a huge mistake to elect an "oil man" as President. Why are there tax subsidies for oil companies when those same companies are all reporting obscene profits?

After the gasoline shortages of the 1970s, why didn't the United States look to alternative sources of fuel as did Brazil? The reason we didn't is because big oil companies hold our elected politicians hostage to their agenda.

What went on in those secret energy meetings held by Dick Cheney? It makes one wonder.

You ask who do I blame? Lets start with the oil companies, the President, the Vice President, and the Congress. They caused the problems.
Posted By Anonymous Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 11:28 PM ET
You pointed it out. At the end, there is no one to blame and at the same time everybody is to blame.
I live in the Phoenix metro area, and unfortunately there aren't any public transport even near where I work nor live. And in summer, everyday over 100F, you have no option but driving.
It's time to have a real deal regarding alternatives to fossil fuels.
I just hope our goverment really pays attention to this forth comming crisis.
Posted By Anonymous Erwin Rubach, Phoenix, AZ : 11:44 PM ET
When people in the U.S. realize that they have to walk to the fast-food restaurants because they cannot afford to drive to buy their treasured fast-food, that's when they will take action. This is a country that should be leading the world in alternative energy concepts and programs. But that doesn't fit into the capitalism-gone-wild socio-economic structure that people in the U.S. want to maintain.
Posted By Anonymous Thomas Williams, Phoenix, AZ : 11:46 PM ET
I live in Hawaii and it is around $3.40 a gallon. Before, I thought it was bad when it was slightly above $3. If the price continues to soar, who knows what will happen. I can only blame myself for being so dependent on my car, and I'm sure that a lot of other people may think the same.
Posted By Anonymous Simon, Honolulu Hawaii : 11:48 PM ET
It is all our fault. We need to walk/bike/bus to work...not drive. Don't use gas or cars or don't complain about the cost of fuel...simple right?
Posted By Anonymous Brant, Madison, Wisconsin : 12:06 AM ET
Why is supply and demand so difficult to understand? And why do people not realize that commodity exchanges determine prices, based on supply & demand?
Oil companies do not set the price of oil. Oil is a commodity that is traded on all major exchanges.
If oil companies set prices then the price would not have dropped to $10/bbl as it did a decade ago.
The 20 years we spent with low oil prices cost the industry over a million jobs. Infrastructure was destroyed, and thousands of unprofitable wells were plugged. But we had cheap fuel for awhile.
The oil industry is an easy target because they seem to trip over themselves when they attempt to explain why they are making money.
They have a legal & fiduciary obligation to sell their products at market prices. Failure to do so exposes them to mismanagement allegations and shareholder lawsuits.
The only people to blame for prices are the consumers. We chose to buy larger vehicles and we chose to live farther away from our work & school.
There is a parallel with health care - we want the best, we want it cheap, and we don't want to have to give up anything to get it, no matter how fat we are.
American gluttony is the problem, not oil industry collusion.
The US Government will somehow figure out how to really screw up the situation. As dumb as Republicans are, when it comes to business Democrats are the stupidity leaders. They will impose some kind of tax that hurts our domestic industry - which is the only part of the industry that can reverse this mess - but they can't do anything that will hurt the foreign companies. Wait until the OPEC countries get sick of hearing us whine and commit all of their oil to China and India. Then it is going to be really ugly.
If the government will stay out it economics will solve the problem. The surplus profit is already steering additional investment into supplies, which will eventually catch up to the demand. Of course, it would help if we could drill off of the coast of Florida, California, and in Alaska. But a reasonable policy won't be achieved, just a knee-jerk policy aimed at pacifying crying Americans in Humvees.
Posted By Anonymous Trent, Enid OK : 12:06 AM ET
In free markets, prices rise as a result of two things: buyers have the money to spend, and buyers are willing to pay the prices. In free markets, it is buyers who bid prices up.

When buyers stop the bidding for whatever reason, then price escalation stops. If buying activity comes to a halt, sellers will settle for lower prices.

So the American consumer is directly to blame for high gas prices. Consumers want and need gasoline, desperately in some cases; consumers are so far willing to pay more and more to get it. Witness what happens in a hurricane. People will drive around to find any available gas, and they'll pay a high price, even as they gripe that they have no choice. But under normal circumstances, they do.

The true but difficult solution to high gas prices is the reduction of consumer demand for the stuff. Americans should DEMAND transportation technologies that do not require gasoline, rather than demanding price control measures in the face of their own willingness to pay.
Posted By Anonymous Thomas, Miami Beach, Florida : 12:23 AM ET
The Democrats are to blame. They close down any chance for us to get our own oil from our own ground because they depend so heavily on the crazed environmentalist special interest group for votes, which isn't working to well by the way. the Democrats work against everything good for this country for votes because they depend so heavily on every crazy special interest group...the anti-religion crowd, the pro-abortion crowd, the wealth haters, the socialists... basically the anti-American crowd.
If you hate America, the Democrats will go for your vote, and no doubt have it.
And don't act innocent CNN, open eyes can see you and the Democrats are one and the same.
Posted By Anonymous Scott Ball, Austin, TX : 1:00 AM ET
Why can we not emulate Brazil? Total ethanol powered cars. We have the technology to do this. Oil from soybeans can power diesels. WHY Because the oil companies have EVERY politician without regard to party in their pockets. Find out how much money is given to them to finance campaigns.
Posted By Anonymous Richard Salmon, Sweet Home, OR : 1:08 AM ET
Yes, 3.19 a gallon (in Westchester County, NY) is expensive. If gas was 0.55 in 1977, that would be about 1.85 in today's dollars. Therefore, $3.19 sounds (and is) relatively expensive. However, since I'm commuting in a car that gets over 35 miles per gallon vs 15 miles a gallon in 1977, I'm still ahead in real cost per mile driven. When people start to drive small high mileage cars to work, our total gas consumption will drop and maybe it will not cost so much to fill up those big SUVs on the weekend...unless we (and Japan and Korea) sell some more cars to China.
Posted By Anonymous Henry Murphy, Yorktown Heights, NY : 1:09 AM ET
I can't say that I blame anyone specifically. Part of it is greed, but by who and to what degree? Part of it is global economic forces (which most regular folks care not to even look into before ranting). Part of it is indeed the lack of innovation, or rather the high (perceived?) expense to fund innovation. Part of the issue is also having to modify one's lifestyle to handle the price of gas going up -- always irritating, especially in the U.S.
Look, until the population at large is ready to make sacrifices now to have an improved approach to energy in the next generation, we'll be talking about this every year. In the meantime, people might as well blame me -- I'm just as good a target as anyone else if we keep up this knee-jerk reaction to gas prices =)
Posted By Anonymous Chionesu, Fuquay Varina, NC : 1:24 AM ET
There may be some gouging going on in some regions, but I think much of this price increase is the result of higher global demand combined with the influence a select few have on pricing. It doesn't help that fuel efficiency standards haven't increased and many Americans recently returned to buying gas guzzlers for light-duty transit. Apparently, they have trouble looking ahead and seeing a threatening trend.

There's talk about more drilling and churning out "flex fuel" vehicles. New extraction would take time and probably not make much difference as the oil is absorbed by the global marketplace. Current ethanol availability is nowhere near high enough to make a dent at today's consumption level. But it's relatively easy for vehicle manufacturers to snap in a few modifications and say they're doing their part. What we need is a combination of ethanol, higher efficiency standards, and "clean diesel" vehicles (including hybrids) that can run on biodiesel blends. We don't need more lip service about a hydrogen economy that's decades away (and will still require a reduction of waste), and we don't need to spend a lot of effort squabbling over prices. We need real leadership in alternative fuels and efficiency for the sake of the economy and the global environment.
Posted By Anonymous Alex J Newburg, Eugene, OR : 1:43 AM ET
Well, no one person is ever right when playing the blame game. Although it is quite impossible for most people, I believe that the only strategy consumers can take to reduce gas prices is to boycott gas. It's all about supply and demand. Nonetheless, boycotting gas is easier said than done.
Posted By Anonymous Lisa Baldeo, Jamaica Estates, New York : 2:30 AM ET
Of course your advertisers, only all of the major oil firms who pay your salary, might choose to point the blame for prices gone mad at the pump toward we SUV driving vacation taking belchers for the demand that they meekly meet! Might be worth asking ourselves if every person in America really needs a car to drive in splendid isolation and why buses have less than 50% occupancy on most routes. What do we really gain by living one hour from our jobs? All the time spent using that oil adds to our bad air and asthma. Let's regroup and get back to the idea that oil, dragged up from the depths of the earth's crust was perhaps put there for a reason!
Posted By Anonymous Susan Templeton, Bellingham, WA : 2:47 AM ET
I blame it on the citizens of this country who did not vote in the last presidential election and those who have voted for two ex oil men to be the two most powerful people in the world twice.
Posted By Anonymous Joseph Beuttenmuller, Lake Mary, Fl : 3:00 AM ET
It would seem to me that letting the big oil companies merge created a monopoly. Now it is very simple for price fixing. Wasn't Standard Oil forced to break up for this very reason many years ago? When a can of dog food goes up 3 cents at Wal-Mart it doesn't go up 3 cents within an hour at Target.
Posted By Anonymous Scott, Porterville, CA : 4:19 AM ET
Who do we blame for high gas prices?

Well with congress making noise about record oil company profits and executive compensation I find it most ironic to note that in 2004 (according to the Tax Foundation) the total domestic profit for Big Oil was $42.6 billion but the taxes on gasoline were $58.4 billion. Between '77 and '04 Big Oil took in $643 billion while the government pocketed $1343 billion.

Call me silly but I dont see how a windfall tax is going to help americans who are feeling the pinch at the pump. Cutting a company's profits by adding extra taxes doesnt nornally push prices down. If congress wanted to help out they could start forgoing some of their 'cut' of the petroleum pie.

A business exists to make money. Exxon with their record profits only made less than 10 cents on every dollar of revenue. A pretty reasonable markup in my opinion. If the government takes in more money than the oil producers do - but without having the expense of maintaining the trillion dollar infrastructure of oil exploration, transportation, refining and sales then maybe we need to look to congress to take some of the heat for the high prices.
Posted By Anonymous Stan Turecki, Port Richey Fl : 5:13 AM ET
All I know is,I'm working atleast 4 days out of the month just to pay for the gas neceassary to get back and forth to work.
It's is a combination of things that has effected the market.China's increasing need for oil being one, along with other countries that are becoming more industrialized, as more U.S. manufacturing jobs get moved overseas, to take advantage of a cheap labor force, there need for fuel increases, thus creating a competition for oil, and speculators in the market pushing the price higher.

The present administration and the other branches of government have failed to enforce fair trade agreements, which in turn has come back to slap middle Americans right in the face.
Posted By Anonymous Steve, Lewisville, TX. : 5:17 AM ET
Pain is The Great Motivator. The right to cheap gasoline and all that entails has changed--period. Now we live in a world where driving ten miles is figured into our daily budget: thirty miles of driving costs six bucks and in another month it could cost eight. Americans are never ready for crisis, it's not in our culture. Foresight doesn't work for a nation of "instant gratifiers". The "energy crisis" will soon spawn a crop of innovation and most likely it will mean more jobs and more millionaires--The American Way. It will be a great\terrible ride.
Posted By Anonymous Garrett Osborne, Marina Del Rey CA : 5:43 AM ET
The Blame goes to those who are in the political arena who have not been disclose that have been lobby by big oil. We the people need the media to strongly fight by asking stronger question and probing just like "Watergate" was disclosed. I ask you the media to ask this question to the american people. Middle class americans what has the Republican Party done for you lately? We have gone to war for the sake of GW Bush pride issues that his father could not finished as well as sinking middle class americans out of there wallets. The next elections we the people must truly look hard for "America first" then and only then look at the others last. We give up to much to others that don't give much back to us...
I use to work for a living,now I work to survive. The future generation what will they work for?
Posted By Anonymous Rick, Miami Florida : 6:11 AM ET
I'm not sure whose to blame but I do know one thing for sure it's hurting allot of people. I live out in the country and I have watched where my neighbors are selling personnel belongings so they can have gas to go back and forth to work, I have watched where these famlies have to choose between having electricity, medication, food or gas to go to work. I've even seen where families are now behind on bills (house payments) and no one cares that families will be out on the street because they have to choose what's more important food, gas, medicine, insurance, electricity the hateful bill collectors don't care - they just tell them "we're sorry your having a rough time but it's not our problem and we need a payment or we want our property back". We're told to use public transportation except we don't have that out in the country. We're told we should purchase more gas efficient vehicles - some of my neighbors are lucky to be able to own a old vehicle let alone a new one. Like I said these families are simple country folks, earning minimum wage. How many news articles have we read where a family can't afford to keep the electric on in their homes because they used it for gas to get back and forth to work and because of this they have died because of the use of candles to see, a faulty space heater and the house catches on fire?? We just say "oh my GOD that was horrible about that family" but that's it. Whose watching out for them when they lose everything??
Posted By Anonymous Cathy Guy, Middleburg FL : 6:18 AM ET
The blame for gas prices are the direct responsiblities of the big oil companies// when was the last time there was a new refinry build in the United States, when was the last time that a bomb went off somewhere in the world and the price of gas did not jump at the pump? When was the last time a storm came thru an area and the price at the pumps did not jump hey the heck up!!! let me see when i was about 8 or 9 there were gas wars at 18 cents a gallion for premiumn and they filled your tank. Ok now you asked who is to blame, I really think it is the retailers and the big oil companies. Who is controlling all of the taxes???
Posted By Anonymous Daniel Jackson,, United States Marines Camp Lemonier Djibouti Africa : 6:53 AM ET
I think the increase of gas prices at the pumps could be tolerated if the oil companies were losing money but that does not appear to be the case. Unfortunately, as consumers we are not only subjected to the additional cost of putting gas in our cars, we are also paying more for products that are being affected by the increased cost of getting them to us. Once again the consumer has to bear the brunt of this from all angles, when is our bottom line going to stop being affected.
Posted By Anonymous Terry Flynn, Townsend, Ma. : 6:59 AM ET
If oil companies can afford to give their CEOs 40 million dollar + bonuses something is really wrong. But on the other hand our government has become one big political blob that huffs and puffs but never blows the house down because they all like money! It's too bad money is becoming more and more our God! We're going to pay the price one day.
Posted By Anonymous Cindy, Fairfax, VA : 7:13 AM ET
Why don't We Americans seem to blame the morons on all levels of government running our country. Did we forget our preamble We the People!! Why are we not demanding better forms of transportation. Like demanding big government projects to connect our country with mass transit system similar to the government projects started in the 50's for the highway system. This would generate, jobs, businesses and above all revenues. Wake up America. Vote these people OUT. WE don't need temporary fixes such as rebates we need future looking reps.
From a expat soon to be back in the land of milk and honey
Posted By Anonymous Wendy, Akureyri, Iceland : 7:37 AM ET
I also saw on your home page that to ease the pocket book we may get a 100.00 dollar rebate check. I looked where Exxon will release a statement on 1st quarter earnings of 10 billion dollars this quarter and expect to make over 44 billion for 2006. If you take their 1st quarter profits that equals 137.00 dollars for every man, woman and chilf in the U.S.that two fill ups at todays prices. Thats just profits from Exxon. Imagine all oil companies combined profit for 2006. I boggles the mind to thing that Bush can stand back and say well here is 100.00 dollars and I will stop building a surplus for a little while to reduce pump prices by a coulple of cents. I truley believ they all think we are deaf, dumb, and blind.
Posted By Anonymous Mike Marr Dallas Texas : 7:50 AM ET
I don't know WHO to blame, other than the oil companies themselves, and the people who speculate on crude. Everytime a Shah stubs his toe, the price goes up THAT day. When the price of crude drops, it's a S L O W drop at the pump. Not one person in the media has said a thing about this. I drive 58 miles one way for half the money I made in 2001. Should gas hit $4 a gallon, I'd be better off working at Home Depot and driving less. So much for the IT career I've been striving to rebuild after the 2001 crash/layoff...
Posted By Anonymous John W, Pell Lake, WI : 7:58 AM ET
We are responsible for not insisting that alternative fuels, etc are developed. We are responsible for letting our government give huge tax breaks to oil companies. We are responsible if we let Congress pacify us with a $100 check as they sneak in opening Alaska, which of course will increase oil profits. And finally, we are responsible if we do not vote everyone in Congress who voted for the tax breaks for oil companies, etc - OUT OF OFFICE!
Posted By Anonymous Steve, Tyler, TX : 8:06 AM ET
BLAME ? With the huge profits the oil companys are makeing,GEEE I wonder?
Maybe we should push up prices on everything we export about 10 fold ? When a loaf of bread costs about $5.00 in these countries we get oil from prehaps they will get the point ? How many billions have we sent to these countries over the years in foreign aid,an this is what we get in return ?
Posted By Anonymous Ray,wharton,W.V. : 8:17 AM ET
Blame it on the foreign oil producers, they say. Foreign producers are charging more for crude oil, and the people who invest in oil are willing to pay it, because they are nervous about potential disruptions in the supply ladder.

Can someone esplain who owns these so called foreign oil producers? Isn't Exon a foreign oil producer? Shell?
Posted By Anonymous Tony, Las Vegas, Nevada : 8:28 AM ET
Liquid gold, Texas T, and so forth. Business is about profit. That is the sole motivator for these companies. Look at the law of supply and demand. The american consumer has had it very good for a long time and I think that time is abruptly coming to an end.

Is there gouging involved? Without a doubt, but it is not confined to the american/foreign oil companies. OPEC is having a big say in the futures and prices. And look at Iran who shakes it's fist at the world and says they have what we want and will most assuredly sell it at a higher price unless we back off from the nuclear bargaining table...the proverbial carrot dangled from the stick.

The U.S. has been too lackadasical in energy efforts. And now the average american is looking to our government for help.
Posted By Anonymous FB, Del Rio, Texas : 8:28 AM ET
I blame mostly us, the American citizen, the most profligate consumer of energy on the planet with little regard to conservation, a disdain of public transportation, and a desire to live in spread out subdivisions where walking or biking is nearly impossible. We suck up 25% of the oil of the entire planet, then we get indignant when prices rise. A combination of events like growing Asian economies in countries holding over 2 BILLION people want more fuel; global supply is stretched tight through reliance on the most corrupt and unstable governments in the world; and our own habits of indulgence have created this situation. Like usual, no one pays attention until it hurts. Now that it hurts, everyone acts surprised.
Posted By Anonymous Allen, Falls Church, VA : 8:34 AM ET
THE government. How much do they get every time to put a gallon of gas in your tank? When Bush met with China's leader, the two biggest users of gas, the topic was never discussed.
Posted By Anonymous S. Fernandez, fresno, ca. : 8:40 AM ET
When a few oil companies run a kartel with monopoly powers, there is no need to build new refining capacity, or to modernise existing refineries. Fact: since the eighties the oil companies have not build refining capacity, instead they closed refineries. Now we have a shortage of producing capacity; wonder why?
Posted By Anonymous john Renmark toowoomba australia : 8:45 AM ET
This may not sound too intelligent, but why don't we just call a spade a spade and blame it on greed? Big oil companies? Greedy people. Foreign oil producers? Greedy people. Lack of innovation? Comes from greedy people not wanting to sacrifice money or convenience to develop new technologies. China and India? Greedy people (just not nearly as far along as us Americans...) American Drivers? Greedy people in that we dont want to give up our precious conveniences which are as dear to us as money itself. As far as Im concerned, I dont care where the greedy person lives or who he or she works for, everybody wants a little bigger piece of the pie than what they have. Especially when the next person over has one a little bigger.
Posted By Anonymous Seth- Mexia, TX : 8:47 AM ET
I don't remember anyone offering the oil companies a subsidy when they were losing money on gasoline when it was cheap.

Not to put it too finely, this is a free market economy, and we sort of like companies being able to make money. Taking it back (giving $100 to consumers? gouging tax?) is silly.

And no, I don't work for oil, I just know that they have business cycles like everyone else. The US still has much cheaper gas than Europe and doesn't really try to get off our increasing dependence.

That IS silly.
Posted By Anonymous J Hutchins - Hanover, NH : 8:50 AM ET
With all that has been spent (lives lost and dollars spent) liberating Iraq, we should be buying oil from them half prce or lower. They want liberty, why at our cost totally.
The billions should be paid back in oil to the United States.
Posted By Anonymous M Gordon, Darlington, MD : 8:59 AM ET
I think we are all accountable for the current price of fuel.

Now they want us to sell the the environment for a gain $100.00 each. If they will take my $100.00 and invest it in non-oil dependent energy research and production, I'd gladly match that $100.00.

How could "we the people" have elected such a bunch of idots to office?
Posted By Anonymous John, Tampa, Florida : 9:00 AM ET
First and foremost, I blame myself for driving a gas guzzler in these difficult times. I complain during the day about the high price of gas, and fill up my tank for $60 dollars at the end of the day.
Second, I blame the previous & present administrations for giving huge tax breaks to oil companies.
Posted By Anonymous Gaurav, Jersey City - NJ : 9:03 AM ET
Oil and gas prices have risen so dramatically because the balance between supply and demand has shifted. The only way oil companies would be to blame is if they were purposely holding back on exploration or production so as to keep supplies tight and drive up the price. I haven't seen any evidence of that kind of a conspiracy. It sounds far-fetched.
Posted By Anonymous Bob, West Roxbury, MA : 9:06 AM ET
I find it interesting the economists would blame the consumer because we are paying $3.00 a gallon....exactly what choice do we have? People have to get to work or they dont eat and dont have roofs over there heads! I do believe that all the people driving these huges SUV's should have to pay some form of extra tax if they want to consume all this extra gas but in the long run I dont think its the consumers fault. The government has done nothing to come up with solutions to what they had to know was a looming issue. Also, why is it that gas prices go up based on soemthing that "might" happen. We might yell a little louder at Iran and the UN might sanction them. It hasnt happened yet! The CEO salaries basically thorughout corporate America are out of control and not just with oil companies but it appears they may be some of the worst offenders. All the perks they get by tax breaks and incentives needs to be repealed! So I think its a combination of things.
Posted By Anonymous Lisa Jacksonville FL : 9:17 AM ET
One thing we can do do drive prices down is, Eveyone STOP buying EXXON/MOBIL gas. They are the largest company. IF there sales STOP, they would be forced to lower prices. The result of this would be followed by Shell, Cheveron etc.
Posted By Anonymous Martin, Darlington, MD : 9:29 AM ET
I blame the American Oil companies as well as the federal government. 30 years ago we hit another "shortage" with soaring prices. American companies began developing alternative fuels that actually was distributed to the pumps. But as soon as we 'found' cheap oil overseas, those alternative fuels were dropped and all homeland pumping discontinued. We have oil in the U.S. but it has all been capped off. "They" tell us it is too expensive to reopen local drilling. or repon the capped wells.
Federal government has not stepped in to create a climate condusive to encouraging conservation, development of alternative fuels, or any sort of independence on our part.
Posted By Anonymous M.l. Dowdy, Batesville, AR : 9:32 AM ET
Thank God for my 45 Mile Per Gallon Harley.
Posted By Anonymous Christopher Sourp, Phoenix, Arizona : 4:52 PM ET
Life can be so ironic. Just last year I was having an argument with my fiance about the price of oil. "Just wait," I said, "World oil is on the decline, so supply will decrease and prices will go up. The American way of life isn't sustainable." NO WAY! He argued back, "The Government won't let that happen" Hmmmm... The sad fact is that we, the American people got oursleves into this mess. Experts have been saying since the 70's that the suburban way of life wasn't going to last, that eventually the scales would shift on the world oil market and prices would either skyrocket or there simply wouldn't be enough oil to go around.But did anyone listen? Nope. And while the yuppies were sticking their tongues out at the hippie dudes riding their bikes to work, it never occured to them that they were adding to the problem. It had already started, even decades back. Until the people of this country start demanding a significant change in our lifestyle, we will continue getting the shaft at the pump. I could continue ranting, but I have to go catch my bus...
Posted By Anonymous Kathleen, Minneapolis MN : 7:01 PM ET
Americans are the fattest people in the world. Maybe with high gas prices we should get our butts out of our car and actually- dare I say it- walk. Most people would just as soon spend $6 a gallon than walk a mile or two.
Posted By Anonymous Mark Boston, MA : 1:22 AM ET
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