ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The All Too Visible Hand of Wisconsin Government.

Lately, every day in the media, there is a story about the rising price of gasoline, and the poor effects on the poor common people who have to fill up their gas guzzling [and carbon emitting! -ed] vehicles. All due to those greedy oil companies.

So imagine my surprise, when St. Wendeler sent me an IM with the following AP story.

Gas station owner told to raise prices

Wed May 9, 6:05 AM ET

MERRILL, Wis. [Lincoln county, Bush -51%] - A service station that offered discounted gas to senior citizens and people supporting youth sports has been ordered by the state to raise its prices.

Center City BP owner Raj Bhandari has been offering senior citizens a 2 cent per gallon price break and discount cards that let sports boosters pay 3 cents less per gallon.

But the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection [Dane county - Kerry 66%] those deals violate Wisconsin's Unfair Sales Act, which requires stations to sell gas for about 9.2 percent more than the wholesale price.

Bhandari said he received a letter from the state auditor last month saying the state would sue him if he did not raise his prices. The state could penalize him for each discounted gallon he sold, with the fine determined by a judge.

Bhandari, who bought the station a year ago, said he worries customers will think he stopped the discounts because he wants to make more money. About 10 percent of his customers had used the discount cards.

Dale Van Camp said he bought a $50 card to support the local youth hockey program. It would have saved him about $100 per year on gas, he said.

So much for the youth hockey program. Sorry guys, can't have people buying gas at cheaper prices. Poor Mr. Bhandari, who probably thought he was buying a business instead of just part of the Wisconsin distribution system of gasoline.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: Brian

Comments (8)
Monterey John said...

Well, there actually was a reason for that law.

Once upon a time in a land far far away there used to be things called "gas wars." Now, these wars in that far far away land seemed like a great deal at first. But it turns out they were sponsored by The Death Star, er, Big Oil.

In the tradition of that great consumerist John D Rockefeller, (great granfather of Jay Rockefeller D-WVa)the oil companies would set prices at a LOSS, yes a loss, as they had the wherewithall to outlast the little guys, and sure enough the little guys went broke and out of business. And then, magically, the prices went up, way up and the big oil companies had a larger share of the retail market when the dust, er, fumes, settled.

And so the state's, like Wisconsin, stepped in to put an end to the practice.

Now, one can question how they went about it, but the state took reasonabgle steps to deal with a real problem in the mold of Teddy Rosevelt.

Now that regulation is pretty much out of date because no one is doing predatory discounting. As a result, you see an episode like this one. It's time for the legislature to bring the law in line with today's realities.

BTW, these laws exist in almost every state.

Addendum: has anyone asked Jay Rockefeller (D-WVa)to give away his illgotten fortune and to do penance for the evil deeds of his family?

Brian said...

But this was the little guy we're talking about. And we're not talking about steep discounts (or even at a loss) we're talking about several cents per gallon.

Price controls don't work and they are unfair.

Even with the example you cited the little guy would lose. If they can't compete on price, the Big Oil stores would simply give away free potato chips. But in reality it turns out that the Big Oil company can't compete on the little things. Things like discount cards for the local hockey league.

It was a stupid law then, it is a stupid law now. Price controls do not work.

And in this case, the owner was a franchisee of BP (i.e. British Petroleum, i.e. Amoco, i.e American Standard Oil, i.e BIG OIL HIMSELF John D.).

Monterey John said...

Brian, Standard of Indiana, i.e. Amoco was NOT Standard Oil as in Rockefeller. Rockefeller Standard was Standard of New Jersey, i.e. Exxon.

Now in this land far far away there were the Jedi Knights, er Trust Busters. Once old JD owned nearly 100% of the oil market the busters stepped in and broke up Standard creating, a la AT&T, Standard of NJ, Ohio, Indiana, California etc. The spinoffs were left to their own devices and did rather well.

Which brings up how BP got their nose in the tent...

Until the late 60s foreign ownership of American oil companies was prohibited by law. Then something mysterious and wonderful happened. BP was permitted to buy SOHIO.

If you want to see some truly fascinating stuff, Google the name John Shaheen, friend of Wild Bill Donovan, Bill Casey and Richard Nixon. Shaheen was the key to how BP came to own SOHIO and thence Amoco.

Shaheen's name is attached to some of the most interesting stuff you will see from WWII to Iran-Contra. A truly amazing guy.

How do I know this? Because in the late 60s and early 70s my Dad was Shaheen's partner. You might Google Come-By-Chance Oil Refinery which my Dad built for Shaheen in Newfoundland, Canada. Where did they get their crude? From BP. Oddly enough, right after they got the crude BP got SOHIO. The common link was the law firm which represented both, Nixon, Rose, Mudge and Guthrie.

Now as for price controls... my friend, you have no idea what types of people these laws were aimed at. The legislatures were doing what they could.

St Wendeler said...

9 cents above the wholesale?

Sounds like a commie plot to me.

Frankly, I think that the Congress should pass a similar law to keep that evil Wal-Mart corporation from killing all of the little guys.

Brian said...

John, Is the pentaverate involved anywhere?

Well it's a well know fact, sonny Jim, that there's a group of the five wealthiest people in the world known as the pentaverate, who run everything in the world, including the newspapers. And meet tri-annually at a secret country mansion known as, the Meadows.

So who's in this pentaverate?

The Queen, The Vatican, The Gettes, The Rothchilds and Col. Sanders before he went tets up. Oh, I hated the Col. with his wee beady eyes, and that smug look on his face, Oh your gonna buy my chicken, Oohh.

Dad, how can you hate, the Col.?

Because he puts an addictive chemical in his chicken that makes you crave for it nightly, smartass!

And Saint, its worth than that, its 9.2 percent(!) above wholesale.

St Wendeler said...

Correction - 9% sounds like a commie plot.

Brian said...

oops.. worse not worth. And I previewed I swear!

Monterey John said...

You guys don't get it. I support Big Oil ergo my Death Star parody.

But I also know these guys. I've broken bread with them. This is, or was, the family business.

Nope, it is not a paranoid conspiracy. It is how business is done, and it's OK. When things get out of control, as they did with the Rockefeller's, that is what government is for.

As for BP, Shaheen and Nixon, the story is true. I did not pick this up on the internet, I got it first hand. The opening of Come-by-Chance was celebrated on the QEII on a cruise from New York to Newfoundland. A lovely time was had by all.

One more time, I suggest you Google John Shaheen. He was truly a remarkable man and a hero of WWII. He was one of those responsible for organizing the Italian "undergound" better known as the Mafia. That was the sort of things these guys did.

When peace came, they turned their talents to other ventures, and that is where my old man got involved.

Before scoffing, I suggest you get the facts.

If the Moonbats really understood how things worked, well, they'd have a field day.