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Indybay Feature
What A Gas!
by Paul Heller
Thursday Mar 27th, 2003 6:38 AM
Think you're paying too much for gas? You may be right...
The Feds have finally admitted that Enron, and seven of its subsidiaries, were in fact gouging the lights out of California during the Big Energy Scare of George W. Bush's first year of service as our figurehead. Of course, Enron is bankrupt now, and so the $1.8 billion award given to the Left Coast will likely be borne by the taxpayers, while slicksters Jeff Skilling and Kenny Boy Lay enjoy their plush homes in tax-free Boca Raton, Florida. How it took so long to come to such a fundamentally obvious conclusion is a bit of a mystery in and of itself.

Today a whole new kind of energy gouging is taking place in the West, an undeniable pillaging of our family budgets. Only now, it isn't limited to the Golden State, but is spread out across the map, from Phoenix all the way up to the Canadian border. Check out these pump-prices. If you live out here, you should be very upset. If you live just about anyplace else in North America, feel free to laugh at us chumps:

Portland, Oregon: $1.99 a gallon. Oakland, California: $2.19 a gallon. Westminster, California: $2.09 a gallon. Reno, Nevada: $2.01 a gallon. Here in Phoenix, it sells for just over two bucks a gallon, and the newspaper today reports that the price of gasoline will in fact be going up some more as the war draws out long and painful.

But I discovered a funny thing the other day when I ran into a former colleague of mine, who drives truck for a living. I asked him if the price of gas was killing him or not. He shrugged. Where he lives, he said, it's only about $1.68. That's up in Yavapai County, in the town of Cordes Junction, about a third of the way from Phoenix up the hill to the quaint little town of Flagstaff (where gas is closer to $1.90).

That got me to scratching my head, so I sent out a few e-mails to people I know across the country. What I heard back sparked my curiosity even more, so I did a little bit of old-fashioned research on my new-fangled computer, and discovered that there is absolutely no uniformity to the gas prices across the United States, except that in every place but out here, it's cheaper. The exception, for some reason, is in Chicago, where it is still at about $1.99. But in Michigan, a couple of hours' drive away from the Windy City, it's forty cents a gallon less than that.

So here it is, a nice little slice of Americana for you, the pump prices from all the corners of what passes for this great nation anymore. Again, this will either make you sick or make you giddy. It doesn't matter which to me, as long as you know the truth. In Baltimore, butted up to the monuments and such, filling stations will sell you gasoline for $1.54 a gallon. Up in Buffalo, it's a little more for some reason, trickling out of the nozzle at $1.69. Charlotte, North Carolina is more like the capitol, at $1.55. Atlanta, Georgia sells it for $1.49, as does Houston, Texas and Lincoln, Nebraska. In Kansas City (the Missouri side, thank you), you'll pay just $1.45 a gallon.

Tulsa, Oklahoma has it on the cheap ($1.43), while Knoxville, Tennessee lets it go for $1.57, which is ten cents less per gallon than it costs in Denver, Colorado and Tallahassee, Florida. Cleveland has good prices, $1.45 a gallon. It's $1.60 in Salt Lake City, but if you want the bargain-basement price, you drive into Minneapolis, Minnesota, where it is a mere $1.35.

Of course, these prices are 48 to 96 hours old, so they may have gone up (or down, perhaps) since they were reported. In other words, since the Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment requires government to apply all laws equally unto all people, including laws that oversee the machinations of commerce, every American living outside of the Twin Cities is getting, well, the shaft. Big Oil is screwing America. We're not owed a tax cut; we're owned a boatload of cash that has been sucked out of our wallets and collected assiduously by the good friends of George W. Bush.

There are no oil refineries anywhere near Minneapolis that would grant it such low prices on gasoline. And they are about the coldest place in the Lower 48, which reveals the lie by the fuel industry that "the demand for heating oil" has forced the prices of petroleum products to rise.

Meanwhile, the unimportant yet expensive war that is being waged by the Bush administration in Iraq has crippled American consumer confidence. The stock market patriotically surged when the first bombs fell, but has since settled back into its preferred malaise. The airlines have lost twenty-five percent of their business in the last week, and have had to let go of over ten thousand workers. This administration, built to run on greed from Day One, has a once-vibrant economy sputtering on fumes.

If any conservative out there would like to explain this to me, perhaps using some sort of academic formula to show why this astounding disparity exists where gasoline prices are concerned, I would endeavor to entertain that. But, as with their chosen leader, these people are too cowardly to address anything directly, unless they can shoot it or blow it up. Any other approach would simply fail. Blood and oil is all they crave, and thus is all they have.

I find this government to be crude. As in, not refined. And as an American, I don't appreciate the grimy soot they leave behind, staining our flag for years to come.
LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the latest comments about this post.
These comments are submitted anonymously by website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
show us your prize money V2hemphill-bangladesh-canvasFriday Mar 28th, 2003 1:44 AM
Curbing consumption is still 1st priorityflea market shopperThursday Mar 27th, 2003 10:17 PM
cause and effect = be+causehemphill-bangladesh-canvasThursday Mar 27th, 2003 8:31 PM
"I hope the price of gas..."organicThursday Mar 27th, 2003 8:19 PM
ummmblahThursday Mar 27th, 2003 3:51 PM
Not immunebent riderThursday Mar 27th, 2003 3:25 PM
Disparity in impact of price hikesThe best defense...Thursday Mar 27th, 2003 3:22 PM
Europe is even betterChris HayesThursday Mar 27th, 2003 3:18 PM
My goodnessblack catThursday Mar 27th, 2003 2:52 PM
well, intuitively....super AJThursday Mar 27th, 2003 1:41 PM
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