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Letters: Their oil, our dollars

November 11, 2012
  • A sprawling oil refinery overshadows a neighborhood in Wilmington in 2011. Problems at other California refineries recently left fuel supplies and production near five-year lows.
A sprawling oil refinery overshadows a neighborhood in Wilmington in 2011.… (Luis Sinco, Los Angeles…)

Re “Refiners exporting more fuel out of U.S.,” Nov. 7

Let me understand: California refiners are exporting a large portion of their output to other countries worldwide, but these same refiners proclaim that these exports are necessary to boost profits.

Meanwhile, last month, problems at a couple of the refineries put a crimp on supplies and retail pump prices in California jumped to new highs.

According to recent Times articles, this puts retailers and consumers under financial stress but results in record profits for the refinery owners.

I get the feeling that the oil companies are playing us as chumps.

John A. Hodges

The American people in general, and Californians in particular, have been deceived mightily by both the government and the oil companies for many years.

We have been led to believe that we must rely on imported oil to sustain our mobile way of life, and that it is a most unfortunate but necessary price to pay to keep our wheels moving.

Now we are informed that our oil refining companies are sorry, but much of their production is really going overseas.

Well, understandably so, I guess. That is, if it's so much more important to show a fine financial statement to investors than to earn smaller profits but provide affordable gasoline to the American population, which, to a great extent, needs its vehicles to transport goods, provide services, and — for the less fortunate — get out to seek employment.

It's absolutely revolting to imagine that, in order to boost their already disproportionate earnings, and despite federal subsidies to the oil companies, much of their production is shipped off to other countries (at higher prices, probably).

My advice to the average citizen? Buy shares of the oil companies; perhaps your dividends will make up for some of the overcharges at the pump.

Maxwell Stern
Palm Desert

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