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  1. #91
    Senior Member NoahFence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Couldn't what? You're making a completely different argument. I thought we were talking about taxing the hell out of companies because it's evil when they profit. Do you really think profit is criminal? That's nuts if you do.
    No no no. Of course profit is fine.

    I think that companies should profit in ways that are "right", rather than ways that are "wrong". I think we can agree that they -can- in fact profit by totally screwing people? That in many cases it is easier to do so? I just don't think they should.

    I think it's evil when they profit by hurting people rather than eating the costs involved in -not- hurting people. If a thousand people have to get cancer for the company to turn a profit, they -should- bloody well go out of business.

    Do you really think that it's okay to hurt people for profit? That's nuts if you do

    RE: Oil companies, the most common "wrong" way they profit is by artificially propping up the price of gas...as you yourself pointed out, this has a negative impact on the entire economy. It's like sucking the grease out of your axel...friction ensues.
    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo

  2. #92
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoahFence View Post
    No no no. Of course profit is fine.

    I think that companies should profit in ways that are "right", rather than ways that are "wrong". I think we can agree that they -can- in fact profit by totally screwing people? That in many cases it is easier to do so? I just don't think they should.

    I think it's evil when they profit by hurting people rather than eating the costs involved in -not- hurting people. If a thousand people have to get cancer for the company to turn a profit, they -should- bloody well go out of business.

    Do you really think that it's okay to hurt people for profit? That's nuts if you do

    RE: Oil companies, the most common "wrong" way they profit is by artificially propping up the price of gas...as you yourself pointed out, this has a negative impact on the entire economy. It's like sucking the grease out of your axel...friction ensues.
    Explain how they're propping up the price of gas and how it increases their profit.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  3. #93
    Senior Member NoahFence's Avatar
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    Why did it take so long for gas prices to drop down from $4/gal when the price of oil started falling? When they raised it through the roof in the first place, it was because the price of oil was "rising". It hadn't even "risen" yet.

    It is far, far quicker to rise than to fall.

    How is it that Ike did far, far less damage to the refineries than Rita/Katrina debacle did, but the gas shortages lasted for weeks instead of a few days? During that shortage, the price of oil fell, the price of gas rose.

    Dunno, that seems fairly obvious to me.
    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo

  4. #94
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoahFence View Post
    Why did it take so long for gas prices to drop down from $4/gal when the price of oil started falling? When they raised it through the roof in the first place, it was because the price of oil was "rising". It hadn't even "risen" yet.

    It is far, far quicker to rise than to fall.
    Oil companies didn't raise the price of oil. Speculators did. When the currency is shaky, investors use commodities, like oil futures, as a hedge. You should seriously look at some charts of the price of oil vs the dollar. Are oil companies also responsible for the shaky dollar?

    You know why gas prices go up more quickly than they fall? When oil goes up, stations immediately raise their prices to account for the increase in costs. When oil goes down, stations lower their prices to what they think will give them maximum profit. That means they don't immediately go out and drop their prices to the break-even point. But that doesn't mean they keep their prices at the same level. If that happened, all it would take is for one station to break ranks to start the price tumbling. The reality is, stations have very little control over the price of the gas they sell. Most stations are NOT owned by the big oil companies. There is a lot of competition, which keeps prices low, just not as low as you want them to be, apparently.

    How is it that Ike did far, far less damage to the refineries than Rita/Katrina debacle did, but the gas shortages lasted for weeks instead of a few days? During that shortage, the price of oil fell, the price of gas rose.

    Dunno, that seems fairly obvious to me.
    Wow...just wow.

    First of all, there wasn't a gas shortage, there was a gas shortage in Georgia. The state of Georgia said gasoline had to be sold for $X/gallon. The market dictated a price greater than $X/gallon. So what happened? No one wanted to sell gasoline in Georgia because they could make more money selling it elsewhere. So they shipped it elsewhere. If you want to blame anyone for Georgia's gas shortage, blame the government of the state of Georgia. It's a case of good intentions gone awry because they lacked the foresight to see the full implications of their policy.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  5. #95
    Senior Member NoahFence's Avatar
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    There was a gas shortage in NC, SC, and TN also, maybe you missed that? Same cause?

    Also, I don't understand exactly how you can sell Georgia's gas elsewhere. Like, Alabama is going to start driving twice as much because there's more gas to buy? There's enough of it or there isn't...the demand is there before the supply is. What you're suggesting should have lowered the prices elsewhere, like everywhere else they flooded with it, as supply increased, shouldn't it?
    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo

  6. #96
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoahFence View Post
    There was a gas shortage in NC, SC, and TN also, maybe you missed that? Same cause?
    Yep, same cause. Shortages are caused by price controls. There was plenty of gas in the states that didn't have price controls.

    Also, I don't understand exactly how you can sell Georgia's gas elsewhere. Like, Alabama is going to start driving twice as much because there's more gas to buy? There's enough of it or there isn't...the demand is there before the supply is. What you're suggesting should have lowered the prices elsewhere, like everywhere else they flooded with it, as supply increased, shouldn't it?
    Georgia's gas? What are you talking about, Georgia's gas? That doesn't make any sense. Georgia doesn't own any gas.

    Why would anyone pay to ship gasoline to a place where they can only sell it below market value? I'd like for you to explain that one to me.

    Btw, prices did drop elsewhere. And lower prices do increase demand. Gasoline demand is somewhat inelastic, but not completely.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  7. #97
    Senior Member NoahFence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Yep, same cause. Shortages are caused by price controls. There was plenty of gas in the states that didn't have price controls.
    Where are you getting this about price controls being the cause? I've gone and looked around and all I can find is comments about a bottleneck in the refining process. I'd love a link to that. (edit: just realized this sounds sarcastic as hell...I'm not saying "I don't think such a link exists" as could easily be inferred, I actually do want to see your info)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Georgia's gas? What are you talking about, Georgia's gas? That doesn't make any sense. Georgia doesn't own any gas.
    The gas originally intended to be sold in Georgia. My point was if they had it ready to sell but then refused to sell it, you can't just "unmake" it, it doesn't vanish into thin air. So they, what, sit on it until the price is more to their liking?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Why would anyone pay to ship gasoline to a place where they can only sell it below market value? I'd like for you to explain that one to me.
    Already on record saying gas should be treated as a utility. Should power and water companies be allowed to shut off when they don't think they'll make enough money on the stuff this week?

    Also, funny thing about that "market value" comment, when my very issue here is that they are affecting that market value in the first place.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Btw, prices did drop elsewhere. And lower prices do increase demand. Gasoline demand is somewhat inelastic, but not completely.
    They didn't start dropping until weeks after the hurricane had gone, and the refineries that had been shut down as a "preventive measure" were finally brought back online. The price of oil had been dropping the whole time.

    I don't buy the refinery bottleneck cause, for the record... I see lots of people saying that this year we've had our biggest ever reserves of oil and gas.

    So, excess oil and gas + falling oil prices + lower demand than ever = ...higher price? And when, as you say, a government steps in to try to force them to lower it...they cut it off, causing massive disruption? And this is all okay with you?
    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo

  8. #98
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoahFence View Post
    Where are you getting this about price controls being the cause? I've gone and looked around and all I can find is comments about a bottleneck in the refining process. I'd love a link to that. (edit: just realized this sounds sarcastic as hell...I'm not saying "I don't think such a link exists" as could easily be inferred, I actually do want to see your info)
    The refining bottleneck is a load of BS, IMO. I have never seen any data that backs the claim. Regarding price controls, here's a good explanation.

    Gas Shortage: Irrational Herding or Economics? - Robert Prechter - Mises Institute

    In Missouri, there were no price controls, so there was no shortage. I experienced this first hand.


    The gas originally intended to be sold in Georgia. My point was if they had it ready to sell but then refused to sell it, you can't just "unmake" it, it doesn't vanish into thin air. So they, what, sit on it until the price is more to their liking?
    Intended? Huh? What are you talking about? There were gas supplies in Georgia. Once those were exhausted, there was no more gasoline to sell.

    Already on record saying gas should be treated as a utility. Should power and water companies be allowed to shut off when they don't think they'll make enough money on the stuff this week?
    Yeah, I couldn't disagree with your more about gasoline being treated as a utility. I hate utilities companies. They have a government sanctioned monopoly (the only type that exists). If I don't like the service I get from my electric company, I'm fucked. I have to just deal with it. I have no recourse.

    Also, funny thing about that "market value" comment, when my very issue here is that they are affecting that market value in the first place.
    How exactly are oil companies affecting the market value, besides adding to the supply?

    They didn't start dropping until weeks after the hurricane had gone, and the refineries that had been shut down as a "preventive measure" were finally brought back online. The price of oil had been dropping the whole time.

    I don't buy the refinery bottleneck cause, for the record... I see lots of people saying that this year we've had our biggest ever reserves of oil and gas.

    So, excess oil and gas + falling oil prices + lower demand than ever = ...higher price? And when, as you say, a government steps in to try to force them to lower it...they cut it off, causing massive disruption? And this is all okay with you?
    I don't know where you're coming up with this stuff. I haven't seen this at all. Then again, I live in a state that doesn't interfere with gasoline as much as North Carolina. There's a gas station about a block from where I live that's selling unleaded for $2.57/gallon.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

  9. #99
    Senior Member NoahFence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    The refining bottleneck is a load of BS, IMO. I have never seen any data that backs the claim. Regarding price controls, here's a good explanation.

    Gas Shortage: Irrational Herding or Economics? - Robert Prechter - Mises Institute

    In Missouri, there were no price controls, so there was no shortage. I experienced this first hand.
    Looking this over, thanks for the linkage.

    One thing I wonder...surely the Southeast is not the only place with price controls as you say. Yet only in the southeast was there this massive shortfall. Price was $4.10 for regular in Atlanta as the shortage was starting, up roughly $.50 from the week before. How high did it get out your way? Did it top $4.00? Only data I could find on Mizzery was topped out at $3.80 or so.

    So from this it seems the states with price controls ended up with higher prices anyway, -and- shortages?

    Also why are the oilies not screaming about this, instead naming the refinery shut-down as the cause?

    Just not seeing it, sorry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Intended? Huh? What are you talking about? There were gas supplies in Georgia. Once those were exhausted, there was no more gasoline to sell.
    Presumably production includes some idea of what the market is expected to buy? Presumably, they make as much as they think they can sell? Unless they were expecting to not sell any more gas in Georgia, would they not have the supply ready to ship?

    And if, as you say, distributors realized they could get a better price in a neighboring state and burned sixteen wheels of rubber to get it out there...would that not mean there was a higher price in the neighboring state? Seems like ours were higher than anywhere but Alaska and NY city.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    Yeah, I couldn't disagree with your more about gasoline being treated as a utility. I hate utilities companies. They have a government sanctioned monopoly (the only type that exists). If I don't like the service I get from my electric company, I'm fucked. I have to just deal with it. I have no recourse.
    You do have recourse. You can raise a stink about it and if enough people are also sick of it the government can slap them around. They're not only government sanctioned, they're government regulated. Tightly, I might add.

    How is the situation with gasoline any different? Should I go buy that other guy's gasoline? Like, sure, Exxon's gas is too expensive, so I'm only shopping at BP now? BP's gas is going to be cheaper, maybe?

    This is fundamentally different from Coke. No matter how much I want a coke, whether it's really badly or just sorta kinda, the price is going to be a factor. It can, presumably, rise to the point where I'd have to be really, -really- damn thirsty to buy it. It could rise to the point where I simply can't justify buying it, and never do. Gasoline, though, my options there are not so hot...where I live, at least, there is no public transit to speak of. I can't just decide to not buy gas. I buy a minimum amount each week to keep getting to work (and don't start on "get a new job", because no job I can find around here will be within walking distance unless you think I should give up being a network engineer and start flipping burgers?), beyond which I can choose not to go to the movies, the mall, my relatives, my buddy's, etc. But if you try to tell me I can choose not to go to work, I hope you can see that I'm not going to appreciate it.

    Whole 'nother bag of worms, this. Of course, we've already derailed completely from senators stabbing each other with pens.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    How exactly are oil companies affecting the market value, besides adding to the supply?
    Um, adding to the price? They're the ones selling it, right?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralus View Post
    I don't know where you're coming up with this stuff. I haven't seen this at all. Then again, I live in a state that doesn't interfere with gasoline as much as North Carolina. There's a gas station about a block from where I live that's selling unleaded for $2.57/gallon.
    Unleaded just hit $2.99 at the cheapo store. It ranges roughly $.30 across my driving area.

    Wisconsin is worse on controls, IIRC, they have a "fairness" thing...I remember hearing about some gas station owner who got crushed by the state for offering a discount to seniors. His price was apparently too low.
    "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." - Galileo

  10. #100
    Senior Member Lateralus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoahFence View Post
    Looking this over, thanks for the linkage.

    One thing I wonder...surely the Southeast is not the only place with price controls as you say. Yet only in the southeast was there this massive shortfall. Price was $4.10 for regular in Atlanta as the shortage was starting, up roughly $.50 from the week before. How high did it get out your way? Did it top $4.00? Only data I could find on Mizzery was topped out at $3.80 or so.

    So from this it seems the states with price controls ended up with higher prices anyway, -and- shortages?
    I haven't seen any information stating that other states have price controls. I wouldn't be surprised if California had an anti-gouging law, but that state is already being gouged with gas taxes...

    Also why are the oilies not screaming about this, instead naming the refinery shut-down as the cause?
    I would bet that oil companies would like to bring more refineries online, in general. You know more product, more profit.

    Presumably production includes some idea of what the market is expected to buy? Presumably, they make as much as they think they can sell? Unless they were expecting to not sell any more gas in Georgia, would they not have the supply ready to ship?
    Production is presumably based on expected sales, but that doesn't mean that barrel X has to go to state Z, no matter what. If conditions change, so will distribution strategies.

    And if, as you say, distributors realized they could get a better price in a neighboring state and burned sixteen wheels of rubber to get it out there...would that not mean there was a higher price in the neighboring state? Seems like ours were higher than anywhere but Alaska and NY city.
    Presumably, yes. I haven't seen figures showing that prices were any lower in neighboring states. There are other factors to keep in mind, like taxes and transportation costs.

    You do have recourse. You can raise a stink about it and if enough people are also sick of it the government can slap them around. They're not only government sanctioned, they're government regulated. Tightly, I might add.
    Gah. So what you want is for me to lose the freedom for me to take my money and go elsewhere. There have been times when I would have LOVED to tell my power company to go fuck themselves and go with someone else. You don't think I should have that freedom. My only recourse should be to...*cough*...protest. Yeah, picket lines are sooooo effective.

    How is the situation with gasoline any different? Should I go buy that other guy's gasoline? Like, sure, Exxon's gas is too expensive, so I'm only shopping at BP now? BP's gas is going to be cheaper, maybe?
    Yeah, you go with whoever provides you with the best product for the best price. That's how it's supposed to work.

    This is fundamentally different from Coke. No matter how much I want a coke, whether it's really badly or just sorta kinda, the price is going to be a factor. It can, presumably, rise to the point where I'd have to be really, -really- damn thirsty to buy it. It could rise to the point where I simply can't justify buying it, and never do. Gasoline, though, my options there are not so hot...where I live, at least, there is no public transit to speak of. I can't just decide to not buy gas. I buy a minimum amount each week to keep getting to work (and don't start on "get a new job", because no job I can find around here will be within walking distance unless you think I should give up being a network engineer and start flipping burgers?), beyond which I can choose not to go to the movies, the mall, my relatives, my buddy's, etc. But if you try to tell me I can choose not to go to work, I hope you can see that I'm not going to appreciate it.
    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Gasoline demand is somewhat inelastic, unlike Coke that's purely elastic. What makes you think the government can do a better job? Because you think utility companies have done well? We have no idea what the market would be like if utility companies didn't have a monopoly. Actually, I take that back...we do have a little bit of an idea. When the telecom industry was deregulated, we had an explosion of small outfits providing all sorts of new services in order to entice new subscribers, things the old telecom companies weren't providing because the government imposed monopoly shielded them from competition. Though, I suppose some people might want to go back to the old rotary phones.

    Um, adding to the price? They're the ones selling it, right?
    You have a fucked up view of business if you think they add to the price on whim, because they're jerks, or whatever other reason you can come up with. They charge (or at least they try to charge) a price that maximizes their profit. How else do you expect a business to run? Even utility companies try to make a profit, but since they don't have control over their prices, they instead cut back on quality.

    Unleaded just hit $2.99 at the cheapo store. It ranges roughly $.30 across my driving area.

    Wisconsin is worse on controls, IIRC, they have a "fairness" thing...I remember hearing about some gas station owner who got crushed by the state for offering a discount to seniors. His price was apparently too low.
    How is what Wisconsin did any worse? It's the same, as far as I'm concerned. In this case, they're forcing prices higher, which could cause a surplus.
    "We grow up thinking that beliefs are something to be proud of, but they're really nothing but opinions one refuses to reconsider. Beliefs are easy. The stronger your beliefs are, the less open you are to growth and wisdom, because "strength of belief" is only the intensity with which you resist questioning yourself. As soon as you are proud of a belief, as soon as you think it adds something to who you are, then you've made it a part of your ego."

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