Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Big Oil Likes Red Republicans, How Far Will They Go?

For the 2006 election cycle oil companies have donated nearly $7 million to candidates with over 80% or $5.7 million targeted to Republicans. I live in a decidedly red area and recently noticed strange behavior in regard to our local gas prices. As oil nears its record cost per barrel, our gas prices seemed artificially low.

Two days ago I filled up for $2.79 a gallon. Since then BP shuttered their Alaskan oil pipeline, removing 8% of our domestic daily production. Today while running errands, I found I could get gas for that same amount, $2.79 per gallon. Last fall I paid well over $3 a gallon (with similar prices for a barrel of oil as today).

Earlier this year I made a prediction that big oil would reduce their profit margins for the 3rd quarter as results will be made public just weeks before the election. This seemed a “no brainer” as they want Republicans to hold the majority in both houses. Then something more sinister crept into view. Was big oil keeping gas prices low in Republican areas while jacking up prices in blue or Democratic parts of the country?

Why the .25 cent per gallon difference? I would ask the Justice Department to look into it but we know the Bush track record for butchering investigations. Maybe some academic will take on the project.

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