I read many letters to the editor about high gasoline prices and need to add my two cents worth. As I see it, we can either buy stocks in an oil company and then buy fuel only from that oil company as you wait for a year-end dividend, or we buy all of our fuel from a company that does not own a refinery. This would eliminate any profits to the “downstream” side of the major oil companies and they would then have to sell their product to independent fuel outlets.
If we all did this then the fuel prices would be lowered quickly, as the major fuel producers need to be profitable on their retail marketing side and would lower prices to lure you back to their outlets.
Twenty years ago I was a dealer for a large oil company in Edmonton and had a full and self-serve outlet (plus car wash and repair bays) that sold a very high volume of fuel for this oil company. All of the dealers in our group were at a meeting where an executive laid out the company plan to shut refinery capacity all across Canada so the refined product more closely matched their retail sales, thereby eliminating the independents’ competitive edge (efficiency). They would keep a smaller amount of product to sell to the independents at a higher price so they would not get in trouble under the combines act.
Within two weeks of that meeting this oil company announced closure of two major refineries and they followed their plan as it was laid out to us. The results have been slowly coming in as they stated they would and their profits have increased as they expected. All of the major oil companies had the same plans at the same time. Did they plan this together?
I purchase all of my fuel (in town and when travelling) from the independent supplier to make my statement, and wish that all of us would also do this. In Penticton there are only two outlets that fit this criteria, but when travelling it takes very little effort to locate and support the independent marketers. It also appears that most independents are the last to raise prices and the first to lower them, as well as offering an in-store discount in fuel coupons as well.
Please join me in my protest of big oil. If we all do it we will be successful as we have the power of numbers. (The local dealer at the major oil company outlets is caught in the middle of this and has little to no control over pricing.)