gasYesterday, while I was out and about handling some business, I noticed I was below a 1/4 tank of gas. So, I pulled into 7-11 to fill up and almost swallowed my tongue. 12 hours earlier gas was at $2.15/gallon for Regular Unleaded. Much to my befuddlement the price had skyrocketed to $2.35/gallon. $.2o overnight essentially? What the hell? I thought we were past this whole “bend over and don’t bother lubing up” phase of prices at the pump??

Apparently I was wrong.

According to Bloomberg Energy the price for a barrel of oil is currently in the neighborhood of $55. Keep in mind that it wasn’t that long ago that the same barrel of oil was going for more than $100.  So why the hell are our wallets still getting destroyed at the pump?

This article (written in February of this year) manages to provide a fact based explaination without diving into wild conspiracy theories and crazy hyperbole. To wit:

Crude oil prices have fallen to new lows for this year. So you’d think gas prices would sink right along with them. Not so.

On Thursday, for example, crude oil closed just under $34 a barrel, its lowest point for 2009. But the national average price of a gallon of gas rose to $1.95 on the same day, its peak for the year. On Friday gas went a penny higher.

To drivers once again grimacing as they tank up, it sounds like a conspiracy. But it has more to do with an energy market turned upside down that has left gas cut off from its usual economic moorings.

The price of gas is indeed tied to oil. It’s just a matter of which oil.

The benchmark for crude oil prices is West Texas Intermediate, drilled exactly where you would imagine. That’s the price, set at the New York Mercantile Exchange, that you see quoted on business channels and in the morning paper

Right now, in an unusual market trend, West Texas crude is selling for much less than inferior grades of crude from other places around the world. A severe economic downturn has left U.S. storage facilities brimming with it, sending prices for the premium crude to five-year lows

So what does this mean? What I took from it was the same shitty econonmy that has killed banks, the automotive industry, and the home buying market (among other things) has also unwittingly conspired to drive oil prices lower than they had been in years but managed to keep gas prices made from that oil at levels they were at prior to the Economic Atom Bomb going off.

I’ll admit, I’ve been one of those people that bitched and moaned and blamed the prior White House administration for conspiring with the New World Order and the Illuminati to keep oil prices and gas prices high so they could pad their bank accounts and fund their plan to take over the world. And, yes, it’s kind of deflating to know that maybe, just maybe, the overall economic environment  unwittingly conspired against us (the consumer) instead of some elaborate plot spearheaded by nefarious politicians, oil men and lobbyists. But that doesn’t mean I’m absolving the prior administration (BOTH sides of the aisle by the way) of blame.

Politicians, be they Republican or Democrat or Independent, need to do what we the taxpayer pay them to do; their damn job! Stop paying lip service to problems such as concerns over energy prices and actually do something about it. And, while you’re at it, why not look into some real legislation (legislation with some real teeth for god sake) to actually put a leash on lobbyists and special interest groups so that you might get some work done that benefits ALL the people. Not just those people that your favorite lobbyist deem worthy of your help and our money.

I know I’m living in a fantasy world and that, short of completely deconstructing the entire framework of Government as we know it and putting it back together to actually serve the people who fund it with tax dollars, Change will remain a positioning statement for a Campaign. And the people will continue to latch on to anybody and everybody in a pretty suit that dares utter the word.

Hell, maybe if I’m lucky some crackpots will decide to organize a Tea Party to address the problem with Energy Costs in this country. Wouldn’t that be something? The people protesting the cost of things that, literally, affect our every day life. Protesting the lack of the government doing their damn job. Protesting the Government for forgetting that THEY serve US and that WE put them there.

Damn. Wouldn’t that be something?