A Word from Assemblyman Ray Haynes…

The Real Price Gougers

“Do you want to reduce the price of gasoline by almost 60 cents a gallon immediately?

Get the real price gougers. They take nearly 60 cents of every $3.00 gallon of gas. They should pay the windfall profits tax. They should be investigated. What are they doing with this money? How is it being spent? How are they ripping off the gasoline consumer?

They manipulate the market in oil. They withhold large amounts of the oil supply from the public, artificially reducing the supply so that the price of gasoline continually goes up. They prohibit the refining of oil, and, in fact, add useless, polluting chemicals to gasoline (claiming that it makes the air cleaner), which also artificially increases the price of gasoline. In fact, they profit from their activities at the expense of consumers everywhere. They gouge consumers, take home exorbitant salaries from their price gouging practices, and do absolutely nothing for the gas consuming public. They take the food from the table of the hardworking people of this state and country to satisfy their appetite for the big bucks they make from big oil.

How have these gougers avoided investigation so long? They blame others for the high price of gasoline. They use their public relations mechanisms to manipulate the press into shifting the blame from themselves to powerless scapegoats, and keep the flow of big bucks headed into their pockets from the pockets of working families.

Who are these gougers? They are the politicians and bureaucrats in the state and federal governments. Federal taxes take 18.4 cents of every gallon of gas. State gas tax is 18 cents a gallon. The state sales tax adds 22 cents to every $3.00 gallon of gas. Of course, the amount of sales tax goes up as the price of gas increases. Add these together, and the consumer pays 58.4 cents to the government for every $3.00 gallon of gas. These taxes don’t include the income taxes paid by oil companies, which last year was over $108 billion to the federal government alone.

And what does the consumer get for this price gouging? Nothing. Government tells us they collect the tax to build roads and freeways, yet the freeways are overcrowded and the roads are crumbling. All the consumer gets is bigger government, and useless studies. Lots of government bureaucrats make six figure incomes from the gas tax to do absolutely nothing. Billions of dollars a year flow to these useless government executives and politicians, and they use these billions to line their own pockets and increase their power.

In addition, these same politicians purposefully place some oil of limits, artificially limiting the supply, increasing the price of gasoline, and shifting more of our national wealth to the terrorist nations in the Middle East. The United States has over 200 years of known oil reserves that no one can touch because the government won’t let them. Add to this the fact that the government won’t let anyone expand the refining capacity in this country, and mandates the inclusion of artificial chemicals to gasoline that can pollute our water, and the result is constantly-rising gas prices at the pump.

On average, only 30 cents of every gallon of gas flows to the oil companies, yet politicians, and their allies in the press, accuse oil executives of gouging consumers. One politician in Sacramento wanted to assess a windfall profits tax on these oil companies this week, claiming that oil companies were ripping off consumers. This same politician did not once mention that government makes double the amount that oil companies make off the same gallon of gas on sales and gas taxes alone. The press dutifully reported his scapegoat tactics, never once investigating him for his consumer rip off.

Don’t be fooled by the rhetoric. The real price gouger in the oil industry is government.”

(Used with permission from Assemblyman Haynes’ weekly “Monday Memorandum.”)

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