We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Newsflash: government blames others

In the UK, most of the price you pay to fuel your car is not paid to the Evil Oil Companies (boo hiss), it is in fact paid to… go on… take a guess…

The State.

Nice, eh?

So it takes a bit of front for some vile toad from the government to moan about oil companies screwing the customer by not reducing prices fast enough when the global prices fall.

So how fast does the government reduce their tax burden when the economy is tanking?  Oh yes, I forget, they generally increase taxes when that happens.

32 comments to Newsflash: government blames others

  • Steven

    For once, the US is first! We already did that. USA!USA!USA!

    When gas was sky high during the last of the Bush43 years, Congress called all the oil company executives to grill them over how high gas was, how they took their private corporate jets instead of coach, how much they were raking it in and screwing over the little guy. The oil companies were making 8 cents profit per gallon. 8! Of course the feds alone were making 16 cents in taxes per gallon (and the states generally around half that), but that kind of got side lined during the discussions of how much money the oil companies take from pockets of hard working Americans who can barely make ends meet.

    At the same time the government is pushing electric cars like the Prius. These cars use less gas which is somehow supposedly better for the environment, which was great until the beancounters realized that using less gas meant buying less gas which meant less gas tax income for The Man. What to do, what to do… oh yeah, how about we raise the gas taxes to make up for the difference. Thankfully that hasn’t gone anywhere (yet), but it’s just one more example of the idiots in DC creating problems (like not allowing new refineries to be built and levying tax after tax on gasoline), complaining about the problems while ignoring their part in making the problem, coming up with a “solution”, and being completely blindsided when the solution creates a new set of problems, repeat ad nauseum.

    Every morning I hope and pray that I’ll open the newspaper and see that a massive earthquake made the entire DC area just slip into the Chesapeake Bay overnight.

  • Regional

    That earthquake will be when Washington runs out of money and America will revert to what it was like in the nineteenth century and as history shows you can’t keep a Seppo down.

  • Regional

    Washington is already in Cheeseyspeak Bay.

  • jerry

    Try this experiment –
    Next time you’re in a discussion and someone brings up the obscene profits of oil companies blah blah blah –
    Mention the 8 cents profit versus the taxes ( usually at least double the profit margin ) and just watch the reaction.
    It varies from disbelief to calling you a shill or a liar or worse to total brain lock followed by sputtering, red face, sweats and trembling ( the latter being my personal favorite !! )

  • llamas

    And – lest we forget – the vast majority of the oil that gets turned into petrol is extracted and sold by companies that are either state-owned or -controlled. Q8, Petrobras, Panamex etc, etc, etc. Virtually-all Middle east production is state-controlled, in reality if not in name. In many cases, the oil companies whose names appear on the marquee of the petrol station are no more than sub-contractors for the state-owned producers.

    The oil companies are (in many cases) no more than convenient whipping-boys for deflecting the ire of customers about high prices away from the real culprits.



  • Paul Marks

    Supply and demand (markets) are not understood.

    The “Evening Standard” (owned by some “ex” KGB creep) had a big article on the “living wage” yesterday (I read the thing – as I found the ES on the train I was on – I could not bring myself to read the David Cameron article “keep the spirit of the games alive” in the same “newspaper”) – a lot of utter nonsense which failed to understand that wages are determined by supply and demand, and efforts to “shame” people into paying higher wages can only result in higher unemployment.

    “So what Paul?”

    Leading Conservatives were said to support the (demented) “living wage” movement.

    There is no basic understanding of how a basic price system works.

    Either for a good (such as oil) or for a service (such as labour).

  • Paul Marks

    By the way the same governments who complain about oil companies, also say that petrol prices should be HIGHER (as part of the effort to deal with “globel warming”).

    The hypocricy of these high taxing governments is extreme.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Steven and llamas beat me to it. The nonsense predates Bush 43, of course–the feds and the lefties have been selling this pile of garbage since oil was invented.

    But it was particularly open and obscene during the illustrated period.

    And if try to explain stuff like this to anyone who doesn’t already get it, here’s what you get: “I don’t believe that.”

  • Julie near Chicago

    Oh yes, Paul, of course. I believe The Big Thin Zero has a stated goal of $ 10/gal at the pump.

  • David C

    On a similar note, a number of high street businesses are going bust. Lots of talk about old-fashioned business models, but almost none about the burden of business rates which haven’t been reduced as a large proportion of business migrates to the internet. If government want the high street to survive, they need to reduce the tax burdens on high street businesses.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    I don’t know why, here in America at least, the advertised price of fuel always includes all taxes. Nothing else is priced that way. Advertising only the base price of the fuel and then adding the taxes in at the pump would probably get the public’s attention (for a while).

  • Regional

    David C,
    Another killer of the high street is rent, a baker I buy my bread from was forced out of business when the mall owners tripled his rent with no improvement to the premises, he had a second outlet to fall back on but the mall owners there closed his business for a fortnight while they refurbished the premises, they haven’t done this to any of the other businesses and at the same mall the owners tripled the rent on a business specialising in home decor, the shop has been vacant for six years and they also tripled the rent on the garage, the owner quit and the premises were vacant for about two years, mall owners are effwits if they think they can gouge the traders and they’ll dumbly accept it. Just to tell how arogant these Mall owners are the doubled the rent because Maccas opened an outlet and the justification was this would draw more customers for the fish and chip shop, fair dinkum, there are people who’ve got shit for brains.

  • Paul Marks

    Regional – agreed, better lower rents than empty shops.

    If a mall owner does not understand that – they are indeed radically disordered in their thinking.

  • veryretired

    Prof Mead has an essay as part of his continuing series on the end of the blue social model on PJM today,(I linked thru Instapundit), and, while I disagree with some of his analysis, he points out the fact that we are in a very transformative period, and that the current elites do not understand it.

    Thus, when energy prices rise, as one part of the green elite wishes them to do, other parts of the ruling class must quickly divert the public’s attention from the role played by states, whether as part of the production cartel, or as members of he regulatory hierarchy.

    The standard method for this is as old as the ancient finger pointing at the clan in the next valley as the ones who offended the gods and whose evil witchcraft is responsible for the drought—find a scapegoat.

    The modern progressive/collectivist ethos has only one explanation for any and all problems, and it is that the greedy individualistic capitalists are lining their own pockets while condemning every one else to starve and freeze. And the solution, of which there is only one possibility, is for the benevolent blue state to step in and protect the helpless, befuddled masses by acquiring ever more power and conrol over the economic or social activity in question.

    It’s the same one-trick pony show the chattering tranzis have been peddling since the games at the Coliseum and before, but they get away with it becaue the people who understand the issues keep trying to explain things in ever more minute detail, while the tranzis just point and scream, like the pod-Southerland in that remake of the Body Snatchers.

    What to do?

    Legally, stop being polite and calmly rational, and start calling out every lie and misrepresentation in loud, abusive, profane terms at every opportunity. The more upset and offended they are, the better.

    And, whenever possible, do everything one can, and purchase everything one can, on the black market under the radar of tax collectors and regulatory officialdom. We’re not quite at the latter stage yet, at least not across the board, but it’s rapidly approaching, and the overly delicate should prepare to live in the real, mean, world fairly soon.

    The elites have been wrong about every major aspect of life for so long it’s hard to find a time or issue about which they got it right. It’s long past time to tell them so in no uncertain terms, and politeness be damned.

    They don’t know what they’re doing, and never have. Our progress has been in spite of the big shots, not because of them or their fatally flawed ideologies.

    Say it loud, and often, and as offensively as possible.

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    From the Cato blogsite, I came across a page called Liberty International, which is running a UK v US contest for bureaucratic stupidity. How come you didn’t tell us about the amusing British ‘Keep Off The Grass’ sign- put in the middle of a 3-foot by 2-foot patch of scrawny grass?

  • Paul Marks

    Loudness and profanity are easy – I can do those. Indeed all too easily.

    But the public will just respond by thinking “angry right winger” – unless the loudness no profanity are married to WIT. And wit is hard (very hard).

    And if one manages wit (in exposing the lies of the collectivist establishment in an witty way) the loudness and profanity are not needed.

    As you prove so well veryretired.

  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    Sorry- the blog is ‘International Liberty.’

  • Steven

    I don’t know why, here in America at least, the advertised price of fuel always includes all taxes. Nothing else is priced that way. Advertising only the base price of the fuel and then adding the taxes in at the pump would probably get the public’s attention (for a while).

    I’ve seen stickers in a few places that read something like “43 cents of the cost of each gallon is taxes” or something to that effect. I suspect that given the always fluctuating price of gas it would be too time consuming to have someone go out to each pump once per shift or something to change the overall price and how it is broken down. Even putting in digital readouts just to breakdown gas prices and taxes at that exact moment would end up being too much expense for not enough gain for gas retailers. After all, it isn’t like many people can choose not to drive; for most people in the US it comes down to needing to pay for gas regardless of other all considerations.

  • newrouter

    But the public will just respond by thinking “angry right winger”

    We shall go on to the end, we shall mock them fight in France, we shall mock them fight on the seas and oceans, we shall mock them fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall mock them fight on the beaches, we shall mock them fight on the landing grounds, we shall mock them fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall mock them fight in the hills; we shall never surrender

  • Laird

    Steven, the taxes on gasoline (federal and state) are fixed amounts, not percentages, and are only changed by statute, so there would be no need to frequently change stickers which said “43¢ (or whatever) per gallon is tax.”

  • Steven

    Right, but if gas is 3.08 at noon and we’re paying 48 cents in fed tax and 10 cents instate tax, someone still has to go out to the pumps to change the sign so that the actual price of 2.50 before taxes is reflected. Then we get to do it again whenever the price changes at midnight. The time our manager is paying his guy to fiddle with the pumps is time the guy can’t be doing something more productive like manaing a register, putting out danishes on the rack, or mopping the restroom floors. Even if there is a digital readout that updates as needed, that just adds to the expense of the pump without any gain. There’s just no benefit in it for the gas stations.

  • Laird

    If they have to change the price anyway (which can happen daily around here) it doesn’t matter whether someone is changing the net or gross price because the tax is fixed; it’s still just one change, and it still has to be made.

  • jerry

    They are changing gasoline prices frequently anyway.
    Since the taxes on each gallon doesn’t change ( at least not very often ! )
    I think what Laird is saying is –
    Simply continue to change the displayed price of the gasoline by whatever method now being employed at the same frequency now in place except always show the price of gasoline as
    – let the consumer use his $400 smart phone to figure out the percentages if s/he wants or read the fine print on one of the 4863 stickers on a gas pimp stating the tax in monetary terms. The consumer wouldn’t have to calculate the percentages very many time – an ‘app’ to do it would be developed withing 30 minutes if this practice ever got started !! )
    My apologies Laird, if I misunderstood and put words in your mouth so to speak !!

  • Regional

    I urge every one to read ‘Mob Rules’ by Lois Ferrante, the Labour Party in Britain, the Democrats in America and Labor in Australia make the Mafia hook honest, in reality the Mafia have a lot more integrity.

  • jerry


    …..gas PUMP ……

    ( although the other works too 😉

  • Kevin B

    You see, this is why we in the UK are so far ahead of the US. We have electronic price signs so that should the retailer wish to put up his product by a penny a litre, the sign works out the extra rate on the Value Added Tax of twenty per cent, then adds in the extra Excise duty then just pops the added ‘windfall’ tax percentage on top of that and the price goes up five pee.

  • Current cost of petrol = 1.30
    Cost of petrol one year ago = 1.36

    Price of Brent = 115
    Price of Brent a year ago = 111

    In other words, the price of oil has gone up and the price at the pumps has gone down. And still they find reasons to complain!

  • Current cost of petrol = 1.30
    Cost of petrol one year ago = 1.36

    Price of Brent = 115
    Price of Brent a year ago = 111

    In other words, the price of oil has gone up and the price at the pumps has gone down. And still they find reasons to complain!

  • The mentioned technical issues aside, would it not be in the interests of oil companies to inform their customers that the high retail prices of gasoline are not entirely the fault of the terrible, scary, greedy Big Oil?

  • RAB

    Well Telegraph readers aint fooled. 90% of them blame the Government and its taxes for high oil prices…


  • Nick (nice-guy) Gray

    Alisa, unless a punitive law is threatened, the oil companies would see no reason to advertise against the government. that might cause the government to feel unloved, and who wants that? An unloved government might pass an anti-big-company law, or something, in a fit of pique.
    It’s not as though sales will go down if they don’t cast blame on someone else, is it?

  • Paul Marks

    Even the British government “competition authorities” (who should not exist) admit that there is NOT any cartel-like activity in the fuel market.

    In short all those story books, Hollywood films and media talking heads (including Bill O’Reilly of Fox News) are talking nonsense.

    But many people are not interested in facts (either the facts that Patrick presents – or long government reports) – they prefer the legends about evil oil companies.

    Nick – the trouble with oil company keeping-their-heads-down is that they are going to get hit over the head anyway.