Readers sound off on oil, gas prices

The news this week of rising oil and gasoline prices and the Senate approval of new drilling in Alaska has flooded's inbox with reader mail. Some blame greedy oil companies, others say American consumers are the culprit. And many have ideas about how to solve the problem -- from hauling oil company executives in front of Congress to getting rid of stoplights.

I lived through the 1970 oil crises also, actually the oil was available then, some countries had just decided to restrict it, the crises now is the need for oil will out pace supply, which is sort of scary.  It may come down to the fact of cutting out a few unnecessary trips (short or long), actually making fences out of wood or other available products - other then vinyl, cutting down on water sports, water vehicles can gobble up gasoline extremely fast in a short period of time or other methods such as not driving gas hog vehicles just to put on a good show  (this excludes necessary vehicles for construction & hulling of goods and services).
          Ron S. -- Honeyville, Utah

Bull****, Americans are getting rip off. The government needs to step in and crack the whip on these companies. Get the stock piles up so they can lower the prices. Automakers are not helping the cause either. People need to park their cars and ride mopeds and tell oil companies to stick there oil were it's made them rich.
          John H. – Atlanta, Ga.

The bottom line is that big business, etc. want a $2.00 per gallon on average for gasoline and a $1.50 - $1.75 for home heating oil. If it went to $5.00 a gallon it would matter and big business knows that consumers are still going to drive and will make concessions in other areas to offset the higher fuel prices. My opinion is let it go as high as it wants to stabilize itself. Tired of listening to people complain.
          Ethan J.

… What is it going to take for this country to adopt a renewable resource that we have more than the ability to generate locally? Here in Minnesota we have vehicles that run on 85% ethanol.  That's 85 percent!  We already require 10 percent ethanol to be sold by all stations and our governor is working on legislation to increase that to 20 percent. No, it won't solve all our problems, but I would have to believe it would make a significant dent.  What am I missing here.?
         Randy G. -- Detroit Lakes, Minn.

Why are gas prices continuing to rise? In order for 'King Bush" and his rich oil buddies (like good ol' Ken Lay and don't forget the so-called V.P. Cheney) to make millions/billions more.  They talk about production but what has really changed in the last few years to all of a sudden make production such a hot issue and for prices to rise so drastically?  
          Sheldon M.

The ANWR with reportedly 10 billion (barrels) of oil potential should remain closed for future generations.  At some point the world's oil supply will be drastically reduced.  We need to keep purchasing oil from the other parts of the world and save that for later.
          Pete -- Dallas, Tex.

Is it just a coincidence that we currently have a former "Oil Man" in the White House, and oil prices are at all time highs?  Seems to me the Government wants to bleed as much revenue out of the consumer as they can before we elect a President concerned about the environment, enough to force car manufacturers to find another way.
        Sid -- Chicago, Ill.

Concerning the gasoline price problem, my biggest gripe is that the auto manufacturers don't make an I-6 available for vans like they used to.  My old I-6 got mileages in the low twenties while the current V-8s and V-10s only get 15 or so mpg.  The I-6 could pull the trailer just as good as my V-10.
          Jim M. -- Quarryville, Pa.

We keep hearing that the cause of rising gas prices is lack of supply to meet demand.  Yet month after month, we also hear that the oil companies are making record profits...up to 600% over last year at this time.  It's hard to believe that the only reason prices are going up, up, UP is due to supply, when the oil companies and their execs (can you say George Bush and company) get rich, rich, RICH.  Why isn't something being done about this?
          Stephanie -- Michigan

Our government is subsidizing the price of fuel oil in Iraq and other middle east countries.  It cost pennies per gallon there.  It's time our gov't takes care of US Citizens here and stops worrying about other nations and Aliens (residents or non-resident) here.
          D. P. – Queensbury, N.Y.

…. How can you actually, with a straight face, tell someone that gasoline prices are even remotely related to the price of crude? Prices go up in response to usage and refineries having to produce more gasoline. That's the opposite of what actually happens and you know it. Why don't you call it like it is. It's profit taking, or price gouging or what ever anyone chooses to call it. I don't mind nearly so much being fleeced as long as I'm told the truth.
         Larry H.

Keep talking, maybe you will make the American people who read your spin believe that the oil companies are losing money.  You say we should drill for more oil.  Why?   Our oil wells are capped.  The whole idea is to use the Saudi oil and everyone elses before the U.S. taps into its own.  As for high prices indicating we need to drill for more oil, balderdash!  The oil captains are foaming at the mouth to get at the Arctic National Reserve.  There is enough oil.  The problem is the U. S. over-consumption.  In cities such as Houston, Texas, suburbs are spread out farther and farther with no public transportation to accommodate the populace.  The result is more traffic.  More traffic, more fuel consumption.   Don't worry so much about the American oil companies, they'll manage somehow.
          Catherine -- Groveton, Tex.
I don't buy supply/demand inequality as the major contributor to the enormous upward drive in oil prices, the price spiked too fast. Supply/demand imbalances in a market like this move much more slowly. I'm not a black helicopter guy but something else is going on and I believe the price is manipulated. The question I have is by whom?
          Don L. -- Newburyport, Mass.

Why doesn't our government step in, increase taxes on gasoline so that people with low fuel efficiency vehicles pay the price for their greed and those of us with vehicles that are conserving fuel (I drive a 2002 Prius that gets 50+ mpg) will still have it in the future.    
          John N. -- Lynn Haven, Fla.

... The Saudis and Iran will never interrupt their flow of CASH and it has nothing to do with supply and demand.  If every American drove a hybrid car that got 100 miles per gallon, the price of a gallon of gas would go up to $75.00 a gallon. The Saudis and Iran do not play by the rules of supply and demand they play by the rule of incoming CASH.  This is why we need to develop other sources of energy other than oil.  What do the Saudis and Iran have besides oil, sand and terrorists? Zero.
          Michael C. -- Murphysboro, Ill.

I don't care what anybody says we are basically in control of the 2nd largest oil producing country in the world, Iraq, our soldiers are dying for their freedom, and we can't get cheaper oil???
          Gilbert G. -- Encino, Calif.

Are we going to run completely out of our non renewable resources, such as oil , before we develop replacements such as hydrogen? I think it probable that the powers that be will never allow a major alternative to oil. Just ask the guy who invented a means of operating his personal car off of common household garbage (something like 20 to 30 years ago) he's either super rich and on  his own island somewhere or his bones are at the bottom of the pacific.
          John B. -- The Rock, Ga.

I see a glaring omission on your part on the oil prices and drilling in the ANWR controversy. You deliberately chose not to address each person's responsibility to reduce our gasoline consumption. America is a shameful example to the rest of the world when we are the biggest consumers per capita over all countries in all categories.  As an American, I see this as unconscionable.
          Celeste M. -- Carlsbad, N.M.

It is time for the consumer, especially in the U.S., to realize we are in control of our dependency on oil and gasoline. When shopping for automobiles, the buyer needs to pay particular attention to the fuel efficiency of the prospective vehicle. How much are we willing and able to pay per mile for the privilege of driving? If gasoline was $5.00 per gal., would we be more inclined to pay attention to the MPG sticker? Attention American consumer: do not depend on others to fix the price of fuel for you - it is not within their control for any long term correction. It is your turn to change.
          Bob C.

It’s not about government stepping in and lowering prices or pumping more oil or going to Alaska in search for the promised plethora awaiting the American demand. The solutions are not solutions to get Americans off the dependence of foreign oil.  If Americans do not learn to stop consuming so much then our economy will crash. Yes. That is a bold statement. As our trade deficit grows, then our dollar will continue to devalue itself autonomously raising oil prices. The real solution is developing vehicles with alternative fuel or better yet developing better infrastructure. Public transportation in the U.S. is terrible and the road system is designed to waste more fuel. Stop lights waste fuel by having cars idle and so do stop signs. Roundabouts and give-way signs save tons of fuel. When will people learn to stop consuming?
          Steve C. -- Portland, Ore.

Gasoline prices are strictly the result of financial greed ! OPEC uses the media like a puppet to justify outrageous pricing and profits for crude, and the media report the lies just like it was the gospel. How naive of consumers and the media. If you want gas prices to drop, park your car for a week and prices will drop like a rock because the port storage facilities are full to capacity. This nonsense goes on year after year because OPEC knows consumers are really, really dumb and refuse to be inconvenienced, so they can be price gouged until the cows come home.

I realize you cannot just force the automobile industry to change overnight.  But why is the government not working to force all passenger vehicles to be hybrid in a reasonable timeframe?  Our dependence on so much foreign oil effects our economy in such a drastic way, is killing the environment and while is not the only factor it certainly does not help on the terrorism front.  I'm very confused by the fact that the government seems to ignore this.
          Chris -- Weehawken, N.J.

I know a guy who has invented an engine which runs off of compressed air and does not use any fossil fuel. It is patented. It can be used in cars. He has presented his engine to our government and they won't even return his phone calls. Gee, I wonder whose interests they have in mind?
          Mike C. -- Orange County, Calif.

Since the price of diesel has gone up to the point I, myself, can not get my business off the ground.  The maintenance and inspection of my truck and trailers is cheap, but the price of fuel is just hurting my business to the point of not fully starting it until the prices comes down.  I hope the price comes down far enough to get my business rolling again.  Have the oil wells in Texas been closed shut permanently or temporarily?  True or False?
          Charles -- Pataskala,OH

The real reason: THE DECLINE OF VALUE OF THE DOLLAR. The price of crude (and gasoline) has NOT increased!!!   If you plot a graph of oil prices vs. the dollar decline, say against the euro - you will get the picture. Since oil is traded in "funny money" -- i.e. worthless dollars -- the producers want more of them. This is not rocket science.  And factor in the fact that steel and the energy used to produce steel are also traded in dollars you will see a catastrophic picture emerging. The commodity traders are using oil as a hedge against the dollar. Now why is the dollar falling? I'm waiting for that story!! So get on with the program and get the true facts out. Sorry for being so blunt but I'm tired of the media bull.
          John S. -- Sarasota, Fla.

Why doesn't Congress call the Oil Executives before them to explain what is going on? These companies and their top executives are getting richer by the quarter, as they continue to break new profit records across the board.  Why is that, are they taking advantage of the situation? Does anyone know what "Approximate Pricing Strategy" is?  Simply stated, it is where a Company/Industry keeps raising prices until they see a drop off in business.  Then they let the new price level settle in with the public, and then start all over again at a latter date to set a new higher level.  This is very effect in those segments of our economy which are dependent on the product/service. The Companies associated with energy production/distribution are practicing this strategy. Congress should at least call them before the public and grill them like they are trying to do the Ball Players.
         Larry F. -- Atlanta, Ga.