May 25, 2006
There was price gouging because I say so - Cantwell

Our Senator Maria Cantwell has had the price of gasoline in a full-court press - trying to limit exploration, limit drilling, transportation ... everything. By the laws of economics her combination will raise the price of gasoline at the pump. But she has a plan to make that illegal.

Cantwell continued her pressure on gasoline prices this week by a misleading study and misstating what it found.

Cantwell released a press release May 22 saying that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had found price gouging.

But the Seattle Times points out that the bill calling for the study defined price gouging as

"any finding that the average price of gasoline available for sale to the public in September, 2005, or thereafter in a market area located in an area designated as a State or National disaster area because of Hurricane Katrina, ... exceeded the average price of such gasoline in that area for the month of August, 2005."

That is a transparent attempt for a self-fulfilling prophecy. Many things can cause the average price to be higher.

The Federal Trade Commission's report released on May 22 did not find evidence of price manipulation:

... the Commission found: No evidence to suggest that refiners manipulated prices through any means, including running their refineries below full productive capacity to restrict supply, altering their refinery output to produce less gasoline, or diverting gasoline from markets in the United States to less lucrative foreign markets. The evidence indicated that these firms produced as much gasoline as they economically could, using computer models to determine their most profitable slate of products.

The FTC did find that there are market forces that a distinguished US senator cannot change. When there is an increase in demand it causes the price to rise. When no new refineries are built for decades the supply is limited which also causes prices to rise. (Refineries have succeeded in increasing the output of the existing refineries.)

What if Cantwell dictates lower prices? Look at the failed experiment in Hawaii; they tried to set maximum gas prices starting last year. The experiment didn't work. The state's Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism reported that it cost consumers as much as $54.9 million in 5 months. So Legislature gave it up this month almost unanimously.

If Senator Cantwell tries the same thing she must expect to get the same result - higher prices for the consumers.

The Seattle Times says it well in its headline:

Cantwell should check her oil shtick

Posted by Ron Hebron at May 25, 2006 09:52 PM | Email This
1. What do you expect from Democrats. They prevent any new refineries, prevent any new drilling, prevent any new power plants. But they allow millions of illegals to enter the US. Lets double the population of the US but do not add any new energy sources. Democrats want power blackouts because they do not support any new power sources being developed. Remember Al Gore wants $5 per gallon of gas. Yes that is what we will have because He and his party prevent any new developement. The only problem is that he wants $4 of the cost to be money for government not money for the oil companies. That is why they blame the oil companies for everything. Destroy one refinery on the West Coast you will remove 1/3 of the oil production on the west Coast. I wonder what would happen to our gas prices then. We have no spare refinery capacity. But then that seems to be the plan of the Democrats remove any type of competition and let the supply disappear.

Posted by: David Anfinrud on May 25, 2006 10:50 PM
2. She'll just keep repeating the hysteria hoping that those who still listen only to Old World Lamestream media sources will probably buy the line that the big evil oil boogeyman is out to get them and only Captain Cantwell can make the roadways safe again for travel at modest gasoline prices.

If I were McGavick, I'd hire the best video editors money can buy and just keep saving away all of this footage for some killer TV commericals this fall when oil prices fall as they always do.

It's going to be easier than taking candy from a baby to make Cantwell look like the fool that she is in a campaign ad.

They say she's one of the dimmest bulbs in Congress. I guess so.

Posted by: Jeff B. on May 25, 2006 11:33 PM
3. I'm sorry, but she's not qualified to be senator if she won't face the music. If pretending that supply and demand ISN'T the problem is what she wants to waste her time doing, then please don't do it on my nickel! She can sit at home and do it, just not as a senator.

Posted by: Michele on May 26, 2006 12:11 AM
4. I was surprised to see a local MSM newspaper take her to the woodshed like they did.

Why, do you suppose, does the MSM in Seattle feel they can take shots at one of their own? Her war position that they don't like? Her personal charisma, which is nil if you believe the Weekly article written by a former campaign manager?

Why are they wanting to make it an election?

The Indians? Once they got rid of Gorton, are they becoming complacent?

Posted by: swatter on May 26, 2006 07:22 AM
5. Well, we now have a serious horse race. No it's not the upcoming McGavick Cantwell Senate race, it's the race between Patty Murray and Maria for the dumbest Senator. It may be too close to call.

Posted by: Gary B on May 26, 2006 07:56 AM
6. Cantwell is a dipstick. Typical government official who has no clue about how the free market works. If she were really interested in getting the prices lowered, she and all of the other greenie weenies in this country should give up their cars and plane trips immediately and revert back to the horse and buggy. Supply would go up and prices would go down. But, no, that will never happen with these hypocrites. The powerplant between their ears is definitely not running at full capacity.

Posted by: Burdabee on May 26, 2006 08:50 AM
7. Out of curiosity does anyone happen to know the breakdown of the sales price of a gallon of gas?

I would be curious to see how much is:
State tax, local tax, other tax, gas station cost/profit, oil company cost/profit

My guess would be that oil company profit and gas station profit are the smallest of those figures.

Posted by: Marmstro on May 26, 2006 09:13 AM
8. Swatter writes: I was surprised to see a local MSM newspaper take her to the woodshed like they did. Why, do you suppose, does the MSM in Seattle feel they can take shots at one of their own?

I suppose you like to believe that the MSM does not hold MS beliefs, but that is just a paranoid delusion. In fact, the Seattle Times supported Bush in 2000 and Rossi in 2004, which placed them to the right of the state, and far to the right of the city in which they are based and after which they are named. That doesn't make them right, but like it or not, they are to the right of MS.

Posted by: Bruce on May 26, 2006 09:27 AM
9. Bruce, that was before. Now we have Junior taking over and if you've read anything he wrote, you would see that the ST is quickly moving far left of MS.

Posted by: nospam on May 26, 2006 09:34 AM
10. GAs price breakdown:

Taxes - about $0.50 depending on what state you are in.

You get about 32 gallons of gasoline from a barrel of crude. So that works out to $2.19/gallon if crude is $70/barrel.

Then you have to add in refining and transportation costs ($0.20/gallon)for a break-even price of about $2.90/gallon. Exxon will make about a twentyfive cents on a gallon of gasoline.

Posted by: H Moul on May 26, 2006 09:43 AM
11. If Cant-do-anything-Well needs another example of what happens when politicians set ceilings on prices, she should review the electricity crisis in California that occurred about 4 years ago. (Or wasn't she paying attention when liberal California booted out Gray Davis and replaced him with Ahh-nold?

Posted by: SeaRep on May 26, 2006 09:56 AM
12. I can't remember the Bush endorsement, Bruce, but hey, if you say so.

But, assuming you are correct, did they ever take Gore to the toolshed like they just did to Cantwell?

No, I didn't think so.

And as a moderate (as you claim), don't you like to see the balance this means if they can independently critique both sides of the aisle? It would make for good journalism, wouldn't it? I may even start to buy newspapers again.

Posted by: swatter on May 26, 2006 09:56 AM
13. Cantwell is a master of pointing out the obvious in history while doing nothing about solving problems of the future.

Cantwell- a swing and a miss...that's streeeriiiike threeee on transportation and energy for Washington State.

Posted by: Andy on May 26, 2006 10:00 AM
14. Exxon will make about a twentyfive cents on a gallon of gasoline. -Posted by H Moul at May 26, 2006 09:43 AM

Federal excise taxes are 18.4 cents per gallon, and state excise taxes average 19.96 cents per gallon.

Refining costs and profits comprise about 14 percent of the retail price of gasoline.
Distribution, marketing and retail station costs and profits combined make up 12 percent of the cost of a gallon of gasoline.

The fact is, the gross profit margin for a gallon of gas in America today, is what it has always been, on average, .08 cents per gallon, (2.5% at $3.00 per gallon). Though retail gas prices fluctuate with crude prices and supply vs. demand, the gross profit margin per gallon remains roughly the same at all times. (No evidence of price gouging here.)

However the federal government profits approximately .59 cents per gallon through gasoline taxes, 7 ½ times or 750% that of the oil producers themselves and 20% of the price at the pumps. Pay attention here, Washington liberals are attacking oil companies for their 2.5% gross profit margin, while Washington is profiting 20% per gallon. Democrats answer? Tax some more?

If oil companies cut their profit margins by 50%, it would drop the price of a gallon of gas by only .04 cents per gallon. If Washington law makers cut their take by 50%, gasoline would cost .30 cents per gallon less. If the federal government didn’t tax gasoline at all, the price per gallon at the pumps would be $2.40 per gallon instead of $3.00 per gallon and the oil companies would still be at a respectable 2.5% gross profit margin. Who is gouging whom?

Who Is “Gouging” Whom at the Pumps?

Regarding how do you solve a problem like Maria... Cantwell has survived the Senate these past few years by hiding. She rarely spoke up on any issue, never offered anything new and commented on little. Now she is forced to stand FOR something/anything against a man who knows what he stands for. The more she pops up the more foolish folks will see her to be.

Posted by: Cheryl on May 26, 2006 11:38 AM
15. I was frankly amazed that the Seattle Times wrote that piece. It shows how much trouble her campaign is having that they can't even keep the Socialist Tiems on her side. It seems to have reached the feeding frinzy phase. I just hope it lasts through election day (which it undoubtedly won't, but a guy can hope!).

Posted by: Cliff S on May 26, 2006 11:58 AM
16. Unfortunately, there is a large contingent of the population that buys the "evil oil companies" propaganda. You see evidence of it with the futile attempts every year to boycott Exxon. And now Cantwell is trying to link Exxon with Enron, and it will stick with the useful idiots out there, supply and demand be damned.

Those same people think that buying Priuses and everyone (else) using mass transit is going to solve our oil dependence and lower the price of gas. They must have forgot about that whole demand thing and how China is now demanding more than they ever have, and the number of the expanding middle class in India who are now driving cars.

Posted by: Palouse on May 26, 2006 12:21 PM
17. She rarely spoke up on any issue, never offered anything new and commented on little. Now she is forced to stand FOR something/anything against a man who knows what he stands for. The more she pops up the more foolish folks will see her to be.
Posted by: Cheryl on May 26, 2006 11:38 AM

Thanks Cheryl! This needs to be said again for emphasis! The only thing Can't~Do~Well ever did was vote reliably hard-left (think that little doggie in the back window - not thinking, just knee-jerk).

We can do better!

Posted by: alphabet soup on May 26, 2006 12:36 PM
18. Most of them are idiots, but this woman.... she makes my teeth itch.

How do these people get these jobs? I have four dogs, three of them are smarter than Maria Cantwell is.

I don't understand it...

Posted by: JJ on May 26, 2006 01:38 PM
19. Cheryl, Your comments are like the the "Sound of Music" to my ears with your "How do you solve a problem like Maria" retort. I can only answer, One Ballot at a time.

Posted by: Smokie on May 26, 2006 03:35 PM
20. I do believe that we are being gouged...the issue I have is that Cantwell is a do-nothing...or do nothing that will solve the problem that is.

fining companies for legally taking a profit is not the answer.

Posted by: Andy on May 26, 2006 07:13 PM
21. By reasonable calculations, Hawaii's annualized cost for their price cap (assuming the $54.9 M is accurate) would have come out to .25% of their Gross Product. What a burden! No wonder the politicians got cold feet...

Posted by: BOB R on May 26, 2006 07:39 PM
22. Maria Cantwell has done nothing? Cantwell and many of her Democrat colleagues are directly responsible for the high prices of gasoline. From their opposition to drilling, to their opposition to building new refineries, the Democrats are aggressively working to reduce the worldwide supply of crude oil to world markets. The result is a market-driven increase in the price of crude and refined fuels.

If you want lower gas prices, the solution is simple. Vote Democrats out of office, starting with Cantwell, and let's work to lower gasoline prices by increasing the supply to meet the world's growing demand.

Posted by: MJC on May 26, 2006 11:37 PM
23. Cantwell is living in some fantasy land where oil companies have wells that never run dry or they can buy oil from the OPEC for a buck a barrel, where they have an infinite refining capacity and where stacks of environmental regulations haven't the slightest effect on their production.

How about this Maria? Could I get a government grant to study if fairy dust will run our cars?

Posted by: Bill K. on May 27, 2006 12:00 AM
24. That price per barrel is a bit skewed. A bbl of crude is 40 gallons.
Of that, there's a yield of 16 gallons of gasoline, split several ways. Reg, semi premium, premium and aviation fuel. Then there's diesel, propane and other by products. (chemicals, solvents like thinner and WD40) Oh and plastics.
Additives do add cost to gasoline. After all, you can't take out the ethylene lead and not replace it with something to prevent valve knock.
Have I gone on too long? Probably so as this little lesson is just a fraction of what I learned 30 years ago. Much too long for a sound bite from the m.s.m. and politcal wonks looking for their place in the nightly news.

Posted by: PC on May 27, 2006 11:12 AM
25. I don't totally disagree with Cantwell on this issue - in fact I believe it has some merit. Even if the FTC found no evidence, I also remember that the Warren Commission back in the 60's found "no evidence" that there was more than 1 bullet fired that killed JFK - which I don't buy. Similarly, I don't know if I would buy this conclusion. There is a goodly amount of evidence out there that also points up price gouging - such as record profits recently. Put it up to the scrutiny of a courtroom and you would likely see a different result.

Too many are trying to equate this as political issue, with the Dems saying price gouging and the Repubs saying no evidence. It is not that black and white and anyone who believes these findings all the way is gullible and a kool aid drinker.

Posted by: KS on May 27, 2006 04:03 PM
26. When it comes to Anwar, that is another issue and the Dems are out to lunch on that one. If Bush had any saavy and really cared about doing something about gasoline prices, he would sign an executive order to proceed with drilling in Anwar - there is certainly justification for it, but actions speak louder than words.

Posted by: KS on May 27, 2006 04:05 PM
27. Bruce,

You are full of $hit as usual. The Seattle Times didn't support Bush in 2000. Not supporting Gore was not supporting Bush. Even if the editorial staff had begrudgingly supported Bush, saying it puts them to the right of the mainstream is ridiculous. The mainstream elected Bush.

Damning the main stream candidate on the right with faint praise hardly places them to the right of MS. Pretending that the times is not overwhelmingly biased to the left is truly a paranoid delusion. You will stoop to anything to prop up liberalism.

Posted by: Amused by liberals on May 27, 2006 09:26 PM
28. Cheryl--
Excellent points. Most voters do not want to think or analyze. Don't know how that can be solved. Usually voter wake-up time is when it's waaayy too late and their rights are gone; sucked up by a behemoth gov-mint. I agree with the Maria thing--wasn't she a product of the capitalist side? I'd assume she knew basic business and econ.

Posted by: Jimmie-howya-doin on May 28, 2006 08:26 AM
29. Bruce,

You seem like a thoughtful intelligent person. Tell us all how it really is.

Let's read a "thoughful" comment from you for a change.

What are your "thoughts" about Maria Cantwell's attempt to set maximum gas prices?

Do you "think" it is a good idea for our government to impute bad trade practices -- despite the FACT that no evidence of any bad trade practices exist -- so that Cantwell can PRETEND to solve the high gas price problem by fixing something that is not broken?

Are you "aware" that such an idiotic scheme would only raise gas prices further?

Do you "consider" this a good use of the power of public policy?

Do you "deny" that this gas price gambit is just cynical grandstanding to appeal to idiots who don't know any better for political favor?

Given this exhibition of Cantwell’s fiscal integrity, is this the type of judgment that you “foresee” solving our regional (especially economic) problems?

Can you answer these questions honestly without changing the subject?

Posted by: Amused by liberals on May 28, 2006 10:46 AM
30. Amused writes: You are full of $hit as usual. The Seattle Times didn't support Bush in 2000.

Amused, you are devoid of facts as usual. The Seattle Times editorial page on 10/22/00 began: "Times Endorsement -- GOV. George W. Bush is the clear choice for president of the United States." You can find this on the Seattle Times website and even referenced elsewhere on this blog, such as So sorry to burst your bubble of paranoid delusion.

As for your (good) questions about Cantwell's gouging allegations, I think her position is dumb, and I've written that elsehwere in SP. I actually believe that high gas prices are one of the few good things that has come out of the Bush administration, though for the wrong reasons. Gouging is very hard to define, but to the extent it can be defined, it doesn't appear to be happening now (or in the recent past). If Cantwell had a few dozen positions this stupid, she might be as ridiculous as McGavick.

Posted by: Bruce on May 29, 2006 01:23 AM
31. On May 27 at 9:26pm, Amused by liberals wrote: "Bruce, You are full of $hit as usual."

The following morning he wrote: "Bruce, You seem like a thoughtful intelligent person."

Which is it? I would really like to know.

Posted by: Bruce on May 29, 2006 01:25 AM
32. I just can't figure you out bruce. I believe that you are of decent intention but, as Amused aptly says, you are FOS.

Thread after thread you post the most disjunctive, jumbled simple-minded crap. You do it so earnestly that I am forced to conclude that you honestly believe it (mores the pity), but the tell is when SoundPolitics regular contributors like ABL take the time to try to correct your false assumptions and you respond like you have here.

Did you even read past the "full of $hit as usual" part? If you had, you would see that ABL further says, "...Even if the editorial staff had begrudgingly supported Bush, saying it puts them to the right of the mainstream is ridiculous."

Assuming that you did some sort of internet research in order to discover the slimes endorsement, did you actually read the "endorsement"? Do you have a clue as to how the slimes got to that point? How do you suppose they went from a glowing endorsement of primary candidate and Liberal Dhimmicrat Bill Bradley to a begrudging acknowledgement that George Bush was the likely winner of the upcoming election (Man! that's really putting yourself behind a candidate!)? Did you know that when Bradley self-destructed the editorial staff at the slimes preferred the fallback choice of algore, but were overruled by Blethen?

It really doesn't matter except that if you want to try to portray that as an example of mainstream media reportage and patronage by the slimes then you completely prove Amused's case for him!

I applaud ABL for giving you the (unearned) benefit of the doubt, but for me, you are a loser and decidedly full if shiite!

Posted by: alphabet soup on May 29, 2006 10:35 AM
33. Bruce,

I was not able to find the article that you refer to and the link you provided is bogus.
Since you are having trouble consistently engaging the dialogue, I will repeat my comment ” Even if the editorial staff had begrudgingly supported Bush, saying it puts them to the right of the mainstream is ridiculous. The mainstream elected Bush.”

For the sake of discussion, I’ll stipulate as I did earlier that the Times endorsed Bush in 2000. The key issue is whether the Times is/was “main stream.” One phony endorsement intended to scare Democrats into voting en masse hardly negates 35 plus years of incessant, notorious, and unambiguous pandering to the left on every conceivable issue. While it is humorous that you are so easily inveigled and at the same time arrogant enough to pretend that the Times is a “main stream” publication, such silliness is nothing to be proud of.

BTW, in answer to your second post, the answer is both, you “seem” like a ”thoughtful” person, and you are full of $hit. Your air of reasonability in substitution for reason is characteristic of the more slimy of liberals; kudos to you for making the grade. It is reasonable for an intelligent thoughtful person to disagree with or dislike McGavick’s positions about issues, but not to call them stupid. Your mulish insistence that the Times is “main stream,” your foolish comment comparing McGavick’s positions to those of Cantwell, and the fact that you were not able to comment without changing the subject proves my point.

You are my favorite pompous liberal true-believer because you make it sound desirable to be completely full of $hit.


Posted by: Amused by liberals on May 29, 2006 02:58 PM
34. Amused and Soup, there was hardly anything grudging about the Times's endorsement of Bush in 2000. Since the Times's search function apparently stumped you, here's the URL:

And the SP link which mentions the endorsement seems to work intermittently. Odd, but not my fault.

Does this put the Times to the right or left of mainstream? That depends on how you define "mainstream". I define it as the average person in the primary region served by the Times. If the region is western Washington, then the Times was to the right of their readers on those races, because their Republican candidates were resoundingly defeated by the voters.

This doesn't prove that the Times is liberal or conservative. My whole point was/is that they don't always endorse Democrats, so Swatter's original post was off-base.

As for your ad hominem attacks, I will continue to ignore them. Any intelligent reader knows that such attacks are the surest sign of a losing position.

Oh, and by the way, I never called McGavick stupid. I called Cantwell's position on price gouging stupid. I called McGavick ridiculous.

Posted by: Bruce on May 29, 2006 09:42 PM
35. Bruce,

You say, ” there was hardly anything grudging about the Time’s endorsement of Bush in 2000. O.K. Gotta love it.
You suggest that because the Times approved Bush in his run for president by virtue of one isolated and in your terms -- slightly grudging -- and well timed endorsement, they are mainstream because to your definition, mainstream is ”the average person in the primary region served by the Times.”

Your claim is plain stupid on its face, and the fact that you stubbornly defend it hilarious.

If you were saying without actually saying that the Times supports conservative positions on any issue or cultural front, you would name them. You cannot because the Times is an openly leftist circular that supports MS leftist culture.

Since you count only the average person (liberal Democrat) in the primary region (Seattle) as mainstream, your mainstream comprises the majority liberal Democrat culture that still purchases the Times and that the Times supports. Your definition also means that somewhere slightly less than half of that areas’ population (conservatives) are out of your so-called “mainstream,” hence the Times' right wing Bush cadre.

By your reckoning, the Times supposedly caters to people who refuse to read their leftist newspaper, because of one -- slightly grudging -- and well timed endorsement of GW Bush six years ago, amidst multiple decades where the Times pandered to their only loyal readership on the left and the far left means that the Times is to the right of the mainstream. You will believe anything that justifies your partisanship.

Fascinatingly obtuse.
Can you balance a ball on your nose as well?

Posted by: Amused by liberals (imagine why?) on May 30, 2006 10:22 AM
36. That's what I enjoy about you continue to spit into the wind no matter how much you get on yourself!

Posted by: alphabet soup on May 30, 2006 04:02 PM
37. By the way and somewhat off topic, liberals like you always crack me up when you pretend to be intellectual,
only to say things like ”As for your ad hominem attacks, I will continue to ignore them.”

What ad hominem attacks are you referring to numb-nuts? Name one jack-a$$.

Posted by: Amused by liberals on May 30, 2006 05:08 PM
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