posted on May, 22 2007 @ 04:00 AM
This is a far more complex argument than the tabloid press chooses to ask us to believe for a huge range of reasons. To take your points very
briefly in order:
Most oil company profits do not come from charging high prices at the pumps, to quote Lord Browne of BP...
We of course first of all make most of our money in what I think most people would regard as the wholesale market - that is the production of oil
and gas - not in the refining and sales of petrol and so forth,"
The margins made by petrol resellers are generally very low. Most importantly, it is actually remarkably hard to be very specific about what the
cost of producing a gallon of petrol is as this is basically one of a whole range of byproducts from crude oil refining and how you spread the cost of
exploration, recovery transport and refining etc is a (very) moot point.
The blood shed in the pursuit of oil would stop immediately if we as consumers did not demand the oil. This is a desperately simplistic statement of
course, but to ignore the motivation which drives oil companies to practice their trade in more and more unstable areas of the world would only be to
stick our heads in the sand. WE are the consumers who demand oil and oil products.
The oil companies sell a product which endangers our ecology because we demand it. There are lots of potential alternatives and they've been around
for many years, from hydrogen engines and electric vehicles to a radical change in cultural attitudes to reduce the reliance on domestic car ownership
and travel. Unfortunately we have demanded petrol, and latterly diesel, engined cars because they provide the most flexible low cost solution to our
desire for unfettered travel. Should we really be surprised that neither the oil companies or motor industry are happy to satisfy our demands?
Finally, if the oil companies can make more profits from selling advertising then why the hell shouldn't they? (Forgetting for a moment that the
adverts were probably sold by the petrol station franchisee which may not be part of the oil company itself). Once again, this is no more than a
symptom of our consumer culture which is driven by guess who? - US, the consumers. You cannot escape the fact that advertising works and as long as
we, as individuals, can be so easily influenced by advertising people will find ever more imaginative and intrusive ways to use it. If you don't
like adverts with your fuel (and I don't think we have them in this manner in the UK yet), the don't use those petrol stations and write to the
owner to tell him why you have taken your custom elsewhere. However, why, in principle, listening to an advert whilst in a retail environment is
somehow worse that being bombarded with tacky commercials when I am trying to listen to the radio I have no idea.
I'm not suggesting that there aren't some very unsavoury aspects of big business and the oil companies especially but to pretend that we as
consumers are not ultimately responsible for much of the way in which they act is simply to try to evade our responsibility as individuals.
[edit on 22-5-2007 by timeless test]