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Filling Up Is Feeling Better All the Time

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I normally feel ripped off when I buy gas because of the unapologetic gouge by the oil companies. I am not convinced as they defend high prices as being caused purely by supply and demand. The prices climb and yet I seldom wait in line. I have heard no rumors of rationing. It is always just as available as it is necessary and I always feel ripped off. That is until recently.

I have received forwarded emails from people suggesting a variety of ways for consumers to fight the oil corporations. Some have advocated for a national day of boycotting all gas purchases. Others are proponents of steering business away from Exxon/Mobil until they bring down the prices. Neither of those two options captured my interest like the idea of buying only Citgo gas. Citgo is the unique maverick among these oil giants who keep broadening the definition of unbridled greed.

Citgo, the Venezuelan owned oil company, pours some of its profits back into humanitarian aid and development for Venezuela and other countries including the U.S. I have to buy gas, so now I gladly buy from a supplier that is taking the profit and using it to relieve hunger, warm the poor and provide health care for impoverished people.

My only other option is to continue contributing my hard earned money to guys like Lee Raymond who recently cashed out as Exxon's chairman with almost four hundred million dollars in his retirement package. This came on the heels of Exxon's whopping new corporate record of $36 billion dollars in profit.

Last winter, a group of U.S. senators sent a request to nine major oil companies asking for donations from their record profits to help America's poorest with their skyrocketing heating bills. Citgo was the only one of the nine that responded and revealed they had already been contemplating that idea.

A democratic socialist nation having to come to the aid of America's poor should be viewed as the crowning revelation of the failure of conservative governance and free market capitalism. Profit moves in only one direction with the privately owned oil companies. Not so with Citgo.
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Now, when I fill up I reflect on the good things my money is going toward and I get something of a righteous and satisfied feeling in place of powerless frustration. The more I buy, the more good my money can do. I'm fighting back and I can honestly say that filling up is feeling better all the time.
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Gary Vance is an evangelical pastor/writer living in rural Tennessee. He is the author of "Wasn't Jesus a Liberal?" and other published essays.

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