Oil companies are not only war profiteering, their beating up and destroying a lot of small businesses as they move towards oligopoly and monopoly as they price fix.
I had the brakes changed on my car today, using the same local mechanic, George, with a one-man shop I've been going to for at least 15, maybe 20 years. I was referred to him by a friend whose father went to him for a long time too. I saved about $100 off the price my car dealer quoted me. George and I talked a bit about how Oil companies and automobile companies are wiping out little operations like his. They charge so much for oil that most mechanics can't afford to run a gas station where they also service cars. Accepting credit cards, with 3-4% processing fees eats up all the profits, even with $3 a gallon gas prices. On to of that, the oil companies that own the land for the stations have raised the rents to unaffordable levels so the smalltime businessmen have to sell out to the oil companies.
If the few remaining private owners of their own stations try to find better pricing on the gasoline, they find that there is no competition between Big oil companies. Looks like price fixing, in terms of wholesale pricing/discounts, to me.
Then there are all the software upgrades for the engine analysis computers. I've long felt that the engine lights that seem to go on for the smallest reasons, even leaving a gas cap not screwed in tight enough, are scams. George told me it costs him a small fortune to buy and keep current all the updates required, as well as the computer hardware. He says its hard enough for a garage with six or eight mechanics, let alone a single operator like him.
I'd like to hear from you about your experiences and observations on this. Big oil and Big Auto are more and more becoming transnational conglomerates with headquarters outside the US.
It is a major loss to the US when we can no longer go to the local gas station to get a car worked on. When you look around at the sources to buy gasoline, more and more of them have company convenience shops where mechanics' garages used to be. You can't even get a flat tire fixed.
I think congress should investigate this. Big oil has been engaging in war profiteering-- bigtime-- and to top it off, they are wiping out another native industry-- a decent paying one that deserves protection.
Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and website architect of OpEdNews.com, Host of the Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show (WNJC 1360 AM), and publisher of Storycon.org, President of Futurehealth, Inc, and an inventor . He is also published regularly on the Huffingtonpost.com
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