Two More Ideas for Fighting High Gas Prices
By Nick Mottern, Consumers for Peace.org
By now you have probably drive or plan to get a vehicle with four-cylinders or less, if you can afford it, to keep your tires inflated to the proper pressure and to follow other gasoline saving tips, or to use more public transportation. But there are two other things you can do to combat high gasoline prices.
1. GET POLITICAL – As this chart shows, a good part of what you are paying for gasoline at the pump is related to the Iraq War. An end to the U.S. occupation in Iraq will not only hasten the time when the killing will stop but is likely to also remove a major inflationary factor to the world oil market.
Find out who your Congressperson is, and U.S. Senator, call them (202)224-3121, and tell them to H.R. 5507 in the House and if it comes to the Senate. The bill says that money Congress appropriates for Iraq can only be spent on U.S. troop withdrawal, to happen within a year, and it has many other important provisions. The Congressional leadership will act on this bill only if YOU push it.
IRAQ WAR A MAJOR FACTOR IN THE RETAIL PRICE OF GASOLINE
On June 5, 2008, CNN ran the pie charts below without the additions that we have made in red. The discussion of the crude oil price accompanying the charts says: “Instability in key oil-producing countries can also affect the supply of crude oil.” What it doesn’t say is that the Iraq War and the threat it will spread is arguably the largest source of instability.
* The Iraq War is a major factor in the price of crude oil because (1) the war has stunted oil production in Iraq that was expected, before the 2003 invasion and occupation, to rise to meet world demand and (2) because there is fear in the world oil market that the war will spread, for instance to Iran, leading to further disruption in world oil supplies.
Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy
Research has estimated that the Iraq War is contributing 10 – 15% to the price of gasoline at the pump. That the Iraq War is increasing the price of oil on the world market has been noted by Congress’ Joint Economic Committee and by Nobel laureate in economics, Professor Joseph Stiglitz, co-author of The Three Trillion Dollar War.
The Iraq War began affecting the price of crude oil with the invasion of 2003 although we have not noted this on the 2000-2007 chart.
Click here to download this Chart
2. BOYCOTT EXXONMOBIL/SHELL/BP – ExxonMobil, Shell and BP, the three largest privately-hold oil companies in the world, are enflaming the situation in Iraq by pushing the Iraqi government to pass an oil law that will bring huge profits to them and other U.S. oil companies, and they are pushing to get long-term contracts in place before the occupation ends.
In March, 2008, General David Petraeus, leader of U.S. forces in Iraq, said that he had called major energy companies, urging them to invest in Iraq; this suggests he was assuring them of U.S. military protection.
All this is opposed by the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions, that asked in a statement on May 28, 2008 for “support and solidarity to help us end the military and economic occupation of our country.”
House and Senate members who voted to continue the war and occupation of Iraq have accepted 3.2 times more oil money than those wishing to end war and occupation, according to Oil Change International.
Note: Major oil companies have scooped up windfall profits from the war. ExxonMobil alone has accumulated about $44 billion in windfall profits since the invasion, and it has sold more than $4 billion in petroleum products to the Pentagon in the five years of the war.