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Jamie Court Headshot

Who Isn't Afraid of Big Oil?

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No wonder George W. Bush is bicycling around Crawford with gasoline prices having jumped 20 cents in the past three weeks.

What's remarkable is that neither leading Democrats nor Republicans are discussing the oil company profiteering behind the jump at the pump? Maybe that's because both parties are feeding at the same well of campaign contributions and the federal energy bill that gushed from it failed to deal with the cause of the sky high prices.

July financial statements show oil companies making new world record profits on top of last year’s banner world record profits. Exxon Mobil’s second quarter earnings jumped 35 percent over last year, Royal Dutch Shell rose 34%, ConocoPhillips shots up 51%.

It's manipulation of domestic refining capacity and inventories by American oil companies that's behind gasoline price spikes, not the traditional scapegoats of Big Oil: OPEC, government regulation, litigation, and environmental standards.

In a commodities market, domestic oil companies know that the lower the inventories they keep, the higher the profits, because perceived shortages mean a speculative run-up in price. Big Oil rigs summer time driving season for big profits by keeping inventories low. If any of the would-be Democratic presidential hopefuls had the courage to speak out now about the well documented rip-off maybe next summer would be different.