Here's conspiracy central:
Take a look at their faq. Basically, they keep coming back to these themes:
1. No, you have no way of knowing the nation of origin for the raw petrol your gas was made from.
2. There is no way for you to boycott a specific country by avoiding certain retailers.
I sat down over a cup of coffee with a retired refinery executive. Here's what he had to say.
1. Quality control is a joke. If a dealer runs out of a lower grade, he'll just hook that pump to the higher grade and put that in your tank. The
price differential is insignificant to his bottom line. So sometimes you pay for low-grade and may be getting mid or hi-octane. Only the
tanker-truck dude knows for sure.
2. Don't buy gas at the end of the month. It can damage your car! Basically, Retailers must contract for a certain number of tanker-trucks from
their brandname supplier each month. But if they run out, they can buy on the free market. So you may be buying BP at a Texaco pump, etc.
This matters because refineries basically produce gawdawfull byproducts the EPA won't let them get rid of by burning or burying. So the refinery
labels it a "Fuel Additive" and disposes of it in an unregulated incinerateor---YOUR CAR! That's why gasoline sometimes smells really horrible at
the end of the month; that's all the 'goop' they cannot dispose of. If you have an old car, the end of the month is when it starts knocking.
The whole U.S. industry is supposedly an auction, but the refineries price their wholesale products for a week at a time. So prices only change from
the whole-saler once a week (I can't remember which day he said it was; I thought it was toward the end of the week).
According to this guy, Retailers are not supposed to change the price (up or down) on a load of gas once they've priced it for sale. This is so that
prices only creep, and the public doesn't rise up. It also reduces your loyalty to a specific retailer, since their prices are all vary by less than
1% within an hour's drive.
He also said that although The major retail chains in America are independent on paper, their stockholders have huge overlap. In other words, the big
stockholders don't one one gasoline stock, they own all of them. He owns stock in one company (as pension plan benefit), and attends their annual
meeting. He told me you can hear the owners talk about how they will vote at the 'competitor' stock meeting next week, etc.
This guy also claimed heating oil was way bigger than the gas market, and that the idea that gas supplies are tighter in summer is crapola. He
claimed they are tightest in November, because of the production of Heating oil for the Northeast.
I don't know how much of his line was accurate, but it seems to fit in with what I can google. He's been retired more than 5 yrs, so the info could
be dated. Anybody here have better info?