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President Bush Sends Troops to Saudi Arabia

August 12, 1990

The Times' editorial ("Pump Shock: Consumers Fume," Aug. 7) regarding the reprehensible pricing tactics of the major American oil companies in the wake of the Iraq-Kuwait situation is right on the money. For these companies, in concert, to instantaneously raise prices so much so fast is obvious indication they are morally and ethically bankrupt, and have no concerns except lining their pockets with our money, regardless of how they do it.

As much as I detest the oil companies way of doing business, I must respect their right to conduct business as they see fit, as long as it is within the law.

There may be conspiratorial matters that invite scrutiny, there may be price fixing concerns, but these do not address the question of the propriety of the increases, but rather, they address the "coincidence" that they all raised prices rather simultaneously, even those whose inventories contain very limited amounts of Iraqi or Kuwaiti oil.

Did the oil companies have the right to raise prices 5-15 cents overnight? The answer is, of course, yes, as this is America, and business can do as it wishes, within the law. Should we as consumers fight back? Hell yes. It's not going to be easy. We should, more than ever, shop around for the oil company and dealer who is gouging us the least. We should force ourselves to curtail our gasoline purchases, even if it means staying at home Saturday night once or twice a month, even if it means joining car-pools to work or to soccer practice or to school. The oil companies may have us by the balls of our feet, but we should never acquiesce.

JERRY HERMES

San Diego

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