Conspiracy Theory

Conspiracy theories are not the exclusive property of Q Anon or the Republican Party. Hillary Clinton runs a child sex trafficking ring out of a D.C. pizza shop? Jan 6 was staged with actors and was “legitimate political discourse”?

Conspiracy theories also spring from The Left. The Washington Post published an informative article explaining why Big Oil is not increasing domestic refining capacity. The profit margin to refine a gallon of unleaded is about 20 cents today compared to 2 cents six months ago. Big Oil is making money hand over fist (Thanks, Vlad), but knows that it will not last. Hybrids and all-electric vehicles are coming. It’s like investing millions in buggy whips and horse shoes just before the Model T became mass-produced.

Ferguson Foont (hopefully a pseudonym) wrote a comment on the WaPo article. “The oil companies are doing exactly what they did in the ’70s — artificially driving ups the price of gasoline in order to create enough public dissatisfaction that they will blame the incumbent Democrats and elect their Republican allies to Congress and to the White House.”

“Back then, oil companies hoarded crude oil, filling every available storage tank to the brim and lining up full tankers outside our ports. People panicked and accepted gasoline at any price.”

“This time they found that they don’t need a shortage. They just set the price by fiat and people pay. They don’t need to be as tricky as they used to be. Fox News has made us stupider.”

I’m with you in part, Ferguson. Your bit about the Gas Crisis of the 70s is right on. Air Products supplied inert nitrogen to pressurize and unload crude oil tankers back then. Our nitrogen supply systems went dormant for months while full tankers sat off shore. Meanwhile motorists were limited to $5 worth of gas on alternate days. People who claimed they would stop driving if gas prices went over $1 per gallon (They had been 35 cents) were soon happy to pay $2.50.

Your bit that $5 per gallon gas is all a plot cooked up between Big Oil and the GOP may be a stretch. Good old capitalist greed combined with a lack of governmental oversight is more like it. I don’t think that the Republicans or Big Oil are that smart.

Ferguson then goes off the deep end. “Don’t parrot to me that old canard that “Oil prices are set on the world market.” Countries where supply is adequate to meet domestic demand can and do ignore world oil markets and set gas prices at the cost of production. In Venezuela, gas price is 8 cents per gallon. In Libya, it is 12 cents. In Iran it is 20 cents. World prices are merely an excuse that Big Oil hides behind, not a reason why gas prices are rising.”

8 cents for a gallon a gas? Let’s all move to Venezuela. Of course the reason why the Venezuelan government is broke despite having lots of oil is that it subsidizes energy costs to its people. The same goes for Iran and used to happen in Libya back when it had a government. When it costs $2 per gallon to get oil out of the ground and another 20 cents to refine it, you really can’t expect to get 8 cent gasoline. On the other hand, if you can fill your tank for about $1, you aren’t taking to the streets to take down the government.

Ferguson’s Conspiracy Theory has some basis in fact, but is about as believable as Hugo Chavez (dead for seven years at that point) somehow swung the election to Joe Biden from his grave in Venezuela.

By Ed Dufton

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Lynette Dufton

These posts are written by my father, Ed Dufton, who has an incredible knack of condensing the day’s news into a witty and insightful commentary on society.