Saturday, March 05, 2011

Enough, Already

If you know me at all, you are well aware how most chain emails really piss me off. It's a general rule with me that if it ends in forward this to everyone you know, then the whole thing is a bunch of bee ess and should be regarded as such. Plus, the email shouldn't be forwarded just out of general principles. Here is one that got under my skin:
Take a look at WALMART. WOW they do it right !!! (Notice where WalMart gets their gasoline!) 

Are you aware that the Saudis are boycotting American products?  In addition, they are gouging us on oil prices.
Shouldn't we return the favor? 
Can't we take control of our own destiny and let these giant oil importers know who REALLY generates their profits, their livings? How about leaving American Dollars in America and reduce the import/export deficit? 
An appealing remedy might be to boycott their GAS. Every time you fill up your car you can avoid putting more money into the coffers of Saudi Arabia .  Just purchase gas from companies that don't import their oil from the Saudis. 

Nothing is more frustrating than the feeling that every time I fill up my tank, I'm sending my money to people who I get the impression want me, my family and my friends dead.  
The following gas companies import Middle Eastern oil:
Shell...................................... 205,742,000 barrels
 Chevron/Texaco..................... 144,332,000 barrels Exxon /Mobil........................... 130,082,000 barrels Marathon/Speedway............. 117,740,000 barrels Amoco...................................  62,231,000 barrels 
And CITGO oil is imported from Venezuela by Dictator Hugo Chavez who hates
 America and openly avows our economic destruction! (We pay Chavez's regime nearly $10 Billion per year in oil revenues!) 
The U.S. currently imports 5,517,000 barrels of crude oil per day from OPEC. If you do the math at $100 per barrel, that's over $550 million PER DAY
 ($200 BILLION per year!) handed over to OPEC, many of whose members are our confirmed enemies!!!!! It won't stop here - oil prices could go to $200 a barrel or higher if we keep buying their product. 
Here are some large companies 
that do not import Middle Eastern oil:Sunoco.....................0 barrels
Conoco.. ..................0 barrels
0ASinclair...................0 barrels
BP / Phillips........... 0 barrels
 Hess........................0 barrels
ARC0........................0 barrels
Maverick...................0 barrels
 Flying J...................0 barrels Valero.......................0 barrels
Murphy Oil USA*.....0 barrels *Sold at WalMART > , gas is from South Arkansas and fully USA owned and produced.  Not only that but they give scholarships to all children in their town who finish high school and are legal US citizens.. 
All of this information is available from the U.S. Department of Energy and each company is required to state where they get their oil and how much they are importing.
But to have a real impact, we need to reach literally millions of gas buyers With the help of the internet, it's really simple to do..  Now, don't wimp out at this point....keep reading and I'll explain how simple it is to reach millions of people!!
I'm sending this note to about thirty people. If each of you send it to at only ten more (30 x 10 = 300).....and those 300 send it to at least ten more (300 x 10 = 3,000)....and so on, by the time the message reaches the sixth generation of people, we will have reached over THREE MILLION consumers!!!!!!! 

If those three million get excited and pass this on to ten friends each, then 30 million people will have been contacted! If it goes one level further, you guessed it...THREE HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE-the entire population of the United States of America !!!!
Again, all you have to do is forward this message to 10 people. How long would that really take you? If each of us sends this e-mail out to ten more people, within one day all 300 MILLION people could theoretically be contacted during the next eight days

Oh yeah, lets start boycotting just certain oil companies, because of where they get their raw materials. I'm good with the sentiment, but this simplistic view is totally ignorant of how the oil industry actually works as far as getting that gas to the pump where you, the consumer, decides which spout you're gonna use.

You've probably seen, or heard of tank farms or pipeline terminals. If not, they are generally a collection of HUGE tanks out in the middle of nowhere, with spiral staircases running to the top, and where you'll see gas tankers parked in a line to pull under a semi-enclosed structure with a lot of pipe lines visible. The slang for that is the rack - as in CB tanker truck talk - "There's three in line at the rack when I left, didn't see any cops" - said from one tanker to another of his pals on the way to said rack.

Okay, so what? Well, that terminal is where most of the gas, diesel, avgas, jet fuel and perhaps other petroleum products are shipped through a network of pipelines and stored so local gas outlets can pick up what they need for the various vendors - like the Exxon or Valero or Kwik Shop or whom ever.

All the brands pick up at the SAME PLACES. They pick up the SAME GAS. Yes, I said THE SAME GAS. Stuff like Amoco Silver? It's the base formula with an additive - put in after the load has left the terminal. Mixed at the station by dumping so many gallons of additive per so many gallons in the load. Not to say that the base formula is the same everywhere - so called boutique gases and regional blends exist. Certain states and cities have mandated certain formulations of gas be sold in their municipalities for emission control. That's another issue entirely - but you should know that if you live where boutique gas is required, you can expect to pay more for your gas. The refineries that make gas generally have to shut down from producing the more common formula to make the special blend, so it costs us all more in the end. We all pay for the lost productivity.  There are regional differences, too - gas made for high altitudes or lower temperatures may be different.

But, back to the terminal. Where do they get their gas? It depends on the pipeline, who owns it, and who they're networked with as far as refineries go. The pipelines might be owned by a specific oil company, a consortium of energy companies, or a pipeline transport company (their only business). There might be only one refinery or several that supply that terminal. There might be several "brands" of refineries involved. But, the fact remains that the gas is made to spec, and is essentially identical to the spec gas coming from a different terminal on a different pipeline system a couple of hundred miles away. The terminal may get a "load" of base gas from one brand of refinery, then the next might come from another. It all ends up in the SAME STORAGE TANK.

And, by the bye, if you ever drive past one of those terminals, pay enough attention to notice that the tankers in line are all different. Depending on locale, you might see a Flying J behind a Love's Country Store, behind Cenex and with several independents mixed in. Independents who might be going to Casey's General Store on their first load, and to the Kwik Shop the next, or even a split load - part going to one and the rest to the next. Those tankers have separate compartments, so they can get diesel and gas at the same time.

But, but, but Jeffro! The email says Murphy uses only domestic crude in their refinery in Arkansas!

I'm sure they do. I'm sure that this is the case. However - if you think all of the Murphy locations are getting their gas shipped by tanker all the way from Arkansas, you are hopelessly naive. For instance - their is a Murphy at the Wal Mart in Woodward OK. They simply cannot provide gas at a cent less than their competitors in town when their competitors are getting their stuff locally. The trucks that supply that outlet are getting their gas in the same places that everyone else uses. There is no way they can pay four or five dollars a mile for an eight hundred or so mile round trip, and make any money, when their competition is only paying for a hundred miles or less. Plus, they can get their gas from the same places, because the various terminals have reciprocal pick up rights. That means Exxon can pick up from Valero, and vice versa. That consideration is extended to Joe's Local Oil Emporium as well.

Mmmkay, but let's boycott Exxon anyways, you might say. Again, hopelessly naive. You aren't gonna hurt them in any significant way, because about all you'll stop buying that would hurt them would be the oil for your engine. Since the local Exxon branded convenience store is a franchise, you will instead be hurting your neighbor Fred who pays that franchise fee to Exxon and who actually owns that business. He's gonna be paying his fees to Exxon whether or not you buy another Exxon branded gallon of gas ever again. And besides, its all the same anyhow, and who knows where it really was produced?

Let's examine the situation around The Poor Farm. There are several terminals within easy short haul tanker reach around here. There is one north of Scott City on US83, one east of Great Bend just off US56, one in Oklahoma south of Turpin on US83, and one south of Perryton, Tex on TX70 - which branches off US83. Take a wild guess who owns all of these terminals.

Valero. If you go to that link, the page default is for "Valero Locations." On the left is that link, plus "Wholesale Terminals" and "Retail & Branded Presence." Wholesale terminals are the tank farm distribution terminals they operate. Clicking on that link shows all the terminals Valero operates. Does this mean those terminals are supplied only by Valero refineries? I really doubt it - I'd be for betting there are several different refineries hooked into their pipelines.

Okay, you might say - so what? So you've got a bunch of Valero terminals around ya? What does that have to do with me buying Exxon/Mobil gas?

One of my best friends is a retail bulk petroleum distributor. He also owns a tanker rig - plus several bobtail tankers used for local bulk delivery. He is affiliated with Mobil as far as buying bulk and packaged oils and greases, but the card pumps he sells from are not - as far as I know. However, he still has to buy his gas from the local terminals. His choices are the Scott City and Great Bend terminals - there are other terminals near McPherson and Hutchinson, but they're not owned by Valero. Each terminal generally sells their gas on a "spot" basis - since the market is so volatile, the price can and does vary day by day. Sometimes, he can catch enough of a variance between the various terminals to be able to save a penny or three per gallon that he passes on to his customers. If the price is cheap enough in McPherson or Hutchinson, he can go the extra distance and save a little over buying it from Great Bend.

So, he's the one you'd hurt by not buying Mobil branded items, and he's more than likely selling Valero (one of the good guys, remember?) gas from his tanks, which may or may not have come from a Valero refinery, which may or may not have been using domestic crude in the first place.

So, be sure to forward that email! It's full of fun facts! It's surely not misleading or anything, or ignoring or omitting valuable information! Let's boycott the bastards and show 'em who's boss!


Earl said...

I still remember the Shah of Iran saying that during the 1973 boycott that America was getting as much oil as it ever had before the boycott. That didn't make it true, until Johnny Carson emptied all the toilet paper on the shelves by mentioning there was a toilet paper shortage

Thank you for a wonderful real post about part of American economy that most of us never ever see or pay attention to.

wv trant (true rant, which is was)

Jinglebob said...

Great post!

Anonymous said...

Well done Jeffro! I make my living in the fuel business and you got it exactly right.

timsarmywifey said...

but the reality is if we used our own oil and stopped buying it from overseas it would make a huge difference on many fronts ... that's the point of the email accurate or not ...

Jeffro said...

I agree in principle, Holly, but when we have a President who pretty well gets in the way of domestic production of oil and now using coal as a power source, without ready replacements other than pie in the sky ideas, how can we not import?

And what would you propose doing to stop oil importation? An outright ban? Perhaps severe tariffs? While it would be nice to sever trade ties with the Middle East, they are not our primary import providers. Canada is, and Mexico ties Saudi Arabia. Why would we want to provoke a trade war with our closest neighbors to spite the Saudis and their ilk?

Jeffro said...

Oh, and thanks for stopping by and commenting! I appreciate that!