Saturday, April 29, 2006


Harlan Goldberg , among others, has been trenchant in his observation of rising gas prices. I just paid $3.66 per gallon on Rt. 114 in Sag Harbor. Why was it so much above the NY Metro Average?
Well it all has to do with which side of the gas pump you choose to pull up on.
If you prefer the left side of the pump you pay the normal $3.33. If you pull up on the right hand side of the pump the priviledge of having a pimply faced kid pump your gass will cost you $0.33 per gallon.
The self-serve/full-serve price differential is one of the nastiest, trickiest ways of getting you to cough up those precious greenbacks at the pump.

When I got back on the road I started to think: "How much does it cost to fill up say an M1 Abrams tank?"
According to an M1 Abrams has a 498 gallon tank and gets 0.6 miles to the gallon. They state " A tank will need approximately 300 gallons every eight hours..." So if the Army was paying the national average for mid grade gas, that would cost about $1,548 to fill up a single tank.
Now, we can be pretty sure that the Army does not pay the same amount as the general public. If Halliburton has anything to say about it, they will pay a lot more. I have had trouble finding some more recent documentation, but several accusations of overcharging for gasoline came up in late 2003. Halliburton Watch details how Halliburton was charging the government $2.64 per gallon, even though that was almost twice what it cost others to provide fuel. Another article on this here. Corpwatch posts similiar information, delving a little more into the role of Halliburton subsidiary KBR.
So even though I cannot find any direct information regarding the price per gallon the Army pays for gasoline I am going to say that it is more than the $2.64 they were paying in December, 2003. I am going to round that sucker up to a cool $5 per gallon. Which means the Army, and by extension you and me, are paying Halliburton $2,500 every time a tank gets refilled. I find that a little annoying, don't you?
Moreso by the fact that one of the justifications for the Iraq war was lower gas prices.

Lastly, to leave you on a positive note, the $3+ you are pouring into your car is not the true price of gasoline. At least, not according to researcher Clifford W. Cobb. His report, (executive summary only) entitled: The Roads Aren't Free: Estimating the Full Social Costs of Driving and the Effects of Accurate Pricing for puts the true price of gasoline at $15.14 per gallon. This price includes factors such as military spending to "protect" (my sarcasm) oil supplies, as well as the cost of congestion, and pollution induced health issues, among others.

No comments: