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Shortage of oil, or morality?

Walt Lawson

There has been much speculation about a possible “oil shortage” that may occur soon. We are advised to be prepared; gasoline supplies may shrink, prices may rise, a crisis may occur. There is an upheaval in Venezuela, much unrest in the Middle East, an oil executive has a toothache and a tanker captain’s shoes are too tight. Sound ridiculous? No more so than a contrived oil shortage.

Remember 1973? There was a terrible oil shortage, gas lines, station closures, price increases, and so on ad nauseam. Well, children, I was working at the time in the oil fields around Signal Hill, Long Beach, and Atwater. From first-hand experience, I know there was no oil shortage! Tankers were anchored offshore, unable to unload their cargos of oil. All of our holding tanks were full, and we were just one company. We had to shut down a number of wells for want of somewhere to store our oil. We were an inadvertent part of one of the greatest frauds ever perpetrated on the American public.

How could this happen? Greed, pure and simple. All of the major oil companies were in collusion. After a good deal of haggling, they came to an agreement. “Let’s make a killing.” Presto, an oil shortage, while prices more than quadrupled.

A couple of weeks ago, I filled my gas tank in Mojave Valley, Ariz. I paid the horrendous price of $1.21 a gallon! Arriving home, I filled up again – $1.59 a gallon. No, I can’t explain it. It costs no more to transport gasoline in Arizona than it does in northern California. Don’t blame the stations; they pay the price or close. All the money floats to the top. I believe the words are blatant profiteering.

How could our government stand for this? Why don’t they do something? Open your eyes – do you have any idea how many of our top government officials are receiving income, either directly or indirectly, from the oil companies? Where do you suppose our president received a large part of his campaign funds? If you can’t persuade them, buy them.

If I sound disillusioned, to a large degree, I am. I still love this country; I would go to war again for it. It is still, to me, the greatest country on earth. Our government? It is far better than most; yet ,too many of our leaders are on a power trip. Our freedoms are being curtailed, taxes are rising and, quite frankly, our government is a bizarre mess.

What is the answer? The only answer I see is at the polls. I voted and will continue to vote. Miracles do happen, and we could use one. Gas shortage? If we could puncture some of the gasbags in Washington, we’d be flooded.

Walt Lawson, a resident of Grass Valley, has lived in the area since 1979.


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