Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Gas Causes Heartburn in Ontariario

Last week there was a fire at an Imperial oil refinery in Nanticoke. This, along with a strike by CN Rail conductors and engineers, has disrupted the distribution of gas in Ontariario. Today, the price of gas shot up to over 96 cents/litre in some places...Lunchbucket being one of them. Even tho the international price has generally fallen recently. In fact, it's about the same as it was a year ago, but the local price of gas is more like 16 cents/litre more.

Because one refinery in the province had a fire.

Now, admittedly, this refinery is responsible for a significant percentage of the provincial capacity. (Do I smell "putting all your eggs in one basket"?) But still, it's one refinery. One company.

Oddly enough, every company raised its prices. Supply and demand? The news today was all about a shortage...except for the reports that said maybe 75 stations out of Imperial's 450 were running short. Nobody else is running short. Why? Cuz there is no shortage.

How long will we tolerate oil company collusion?

There is, however, collusion, or my name ain't Larry Keiler. A local radio reporter spoke to an employee at a competing gas station and asked him why, since only one company's supply was affected, all the companies had raised their prices. This employee actually used these words: "Because we have to stay competitive." !!!!

Excuse me? Am I standing on my head? Since when does "competitive" mean you match your competitor's upward spiral? I thought competition meant that you might use a competitor's weakness to your advantage.

You see, the more this happens, the more I am convinced that we must find alternative and better ways to move ourselves around, if only to punish the companies that have grown obscenely rich by exploiting our need. Wouldn't we all feel so much better if we didn't need them anymore?

Digg! diigo it


Anonymous said...

My bicycle don't need gas.In winter my feet do OK. Bring me a long way. Takes a long time too. Takes double the time when you sink to almost your knees in snow.You do get exercise and fresh air. Cheaper and (may be a matter of opinion) healthier.

I am a willing passenger in a car. Stopping at the gas station I read that super clean gas is pennies more expensive per liter than clean gas and that clean gas is pennies more expensive than regular gas. And I think,'Does that make sense?'

Not much help for the environment when the majority of people can barely afford to pay for regular gas.

Wonder if among the "How Too" books there is one on how to grow wings.

Sjee,imagine people flying. Would be so full up there. Road rage would become air rage. Temporary madness. Cutting each other's wings. "...And another one, and another one, and another one bites the dust...

There are other ways, right, to move cars. No, I don't mean pushing or treadling. There is electricity. I've heard of corn fuel. Am I right that diesel is cleaner and cheaper? Takes conversion?

Without the political will it will never happen. Long term thinking is not what human beans star in.

I think people like their cars more than their moneys. So although they do no end of complaining, they pay the price.

So the prices go up.Any excuse will do. So the cost of living goes up too. Costs more to transport food and supplies to where they need to go. So the people that maybe tried to buy super clean gas give up and buy just regular and do more polluting.

Stupid vicious circle.

I've tried to introduce long term thinking in this co-op. I live here 20 years. It hasn't happened yet. One of these years we'll sink our way all the way to China. (The foundations were built on frozen swamp.)

Bet you all the sea birds and other life forms in oceans, rivers and on land, will rejoice when all the refineries in the world blow back to hell.

How would we live without oil???


Larry Keiler said...

Very eloquent, W.T.

In answer to your last question. It seems to me we've been using oil in some form for thousands of years. For cooking, for light. But not the way we've used it in the last 150 or so. So the first answer is, we'd revert to a pre-industrial society. Imagine the upheaval involved in that.

So much of our world is centred around fossil fuels. Plastic. Everything's made of plastic or something synthetic. Including the keyboard I'm typing on.

The difference between then and now is that we have a great deal of technological expertise. Ie. we can find a different way, invent a different way, develop a different way...if we really begin to focus on it. Or a whole load of different ways that include solar, wind, tidal, whatever. Electricity...fuel cells for cars.

But you're right about human beans not being extremely foresighted. The way it works in economies is that nothing gets developed until it becomes economically feasible. This means: what you've been doing has become too expensive or too short in supply. The Alberta tar sands are a perfect example. We've known about them for decades, but only in the last few years has the declining known petroleum reserves and the expense of exploiting those made it worth the money it costs to exploit the tar sands.

Same thing goes with any alternative power or fuel source. (Corn fuel - ethanol - does not seem like the answer to me. I'm not sure, but I think the net energy gain - after you include all the costs of production including gas for the tractors, etc. - is zero or less than that. In other words, it takes more energy to produce the fuel than the fuel provides. Maybe. But at least it's "renewable".)

Anonymous said...

Guess we could't even do it eh, live in a pre-industrial society. Imagine there was no nuclear power and so. We'd have to hollow out Earth for fossil fuel. So the answer lies not to going back to as it was. The challence is to work with what we have. We have an overpopulated world. We're getting to that we are needing more than our planet, the way we live on it, can provide.

People will have to learn to live on just enough. Share the recources so there is for everybody. So a lot depends on mentality and creative thinking. In the end that means long term thinking.

As long as there are Hitlers and Bushes, (and there always will be) immediate actions will take place, like bombing half a continent to smithereens, killing off brains that could help building up societies... minimize intelligence to despair and fear...

I don't know. The change we need, it seems, lies not in outer changes but in changing the human heart. Maybe conversations like this will be setting foot on the right path. There is no immediate solution... There never was.


Anonymous said...

There is this saying, "If you always do what you did, you always get what you got."


Larry Keiler said...

A definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over & over again, expecting different results.

Anonymous said...

Ha, ha! That sometimes does work with my computer. Do over and over what's supposed to be right. Don't work. Days later turn on same computer, do same thing I did and suddenly it works. But then again,it sometimes makes me wonder if I am insane.


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