You hear a lot about greed these days, it being an election year. Usually the term is applied to business’; as in – The Greedy Big Oil Companies. The inference of course is that the Greedy Big Oil Companies jack up the price of oil at their whim, Just To Be Mean, and to take in more money than is Fair. Let us explore that thought a bit.
Oil does not “Fall like the gentle rain from Heaven”, it comes out of the ground, or more accurately, it is MADE to come out of the ground. At a cost of millions of dollars derricks are erected, heavy machinery is installed and dozens of men – Hard Men, [ they aren’t called Rough Necks for nothing ] work around the clock at one of the most dangerous jobs to be found, in any country, to MAKE the oil come out of the ground. If you ever stop at a diner in oil country, and you want to know who the Rough Necks are, just count the fingers. If someone is missing a few, that’s probably your man.
If the geologists didn’t misread his exploratory data, and the drilling crew doesn’t muck up the job, then the well might come in. Oil will be MADE to come out of the ground, and the Greedy Big Oil Company can sell it and recoup the several hundred million dollars it can take to bring in a well on dry ground.
Sometimes the ground that oil is MADE to come out of isn’t dry ground, it’s under thousands of feet of water. In that case, it can cost Billions of dollars to bring in a well, and the dangers inherent in a drilling operation can multiply accordingly.
So, once a geologist has risked his reputation and his job [ if several hundred million dollars are spent drilling a dry hole where the geologist said to drill, the geologist might not find his contract renewed. ] and the drilling crew has risked life and limb [ literally ] to MAKE the oil come out of the ground, and the oil has been transported; by pipeline, rail, truck, or ship, or all four, to a billion dollar refinery where the Crude oil [ there’s a reason its called Crude ] is steamed, boiled, and filtered into products that can, without exaggeration, be called the Life’s Blood of the Modern World, and the finished product has been trucked to a million dollar gas station where it can finally be sold, The Greedy Big Oil Company can collect its profit.
And how much profit does the vile, evil, wicked, foul, dastardly Greedy Big Oil Company grub for itself out of a gallon of gasoline pumped into your tank?
And how much does the kind, compassionate, caring, benevolent, pure at heart, government make from this gallon of gas?
The Greedy Big Oil Company invests billions of dollars of their own money, takes all of the risk of failure, pays hundreds of thousands of employees, and makes 7 cents per gallon.
The government takes no risk, is never in danger of loss of life, fortune, or even comfort, assumes no liability, provides no infrastructure, makes no guarantee, and collects 48 cents for every gallon you buy.
Who is greedy?