Three Bucks and Climbing. . .
Vol: 55 Issue: 24 Monday, April 24, 2006
According to weekend news reports, the price of a gallon of gas went up eight cents on Friday, another twelve cents on Saturday and was estimated to top four thousand dollars a quart by Monday. (ok, I made that last part up.)
There seem to be thousands of explanations available to explain how the gas in the dealer’s holding tanks could be worth twenty cents more today that the dealer paid for it Friday isn’t price-gouging . . . but none of them make sense.
I read the other day that the oil companies earn about five cents out of every consumer gas dollar, while listening to some financial analyst on TV explaining why the oil companies are too broke to expand their exploration efforts.
Meanwhile, the price of gas in Washington, DC is over three bucks and in some parts of California, more that four bucks, while another financial analyst was telling me it was all because Iran is the world’s fourth largest oil supplier.
In some way, the fact that Iran’s exports MIGHT be interrupted at some future time caused the price of gas to spike up NOW — but it ISN’T price gouging. And the extra buck a gallon we’re all paying for the gas that was refined last year at the old price ISN’T really a windfall profit, either.
We’re also supposed to believe that when oil companies ALL jack up their prices at the same time to the same level that it is not the result of deliberate price-fixing.
As the price of crude oil hit a record $75.35 a barrel in New York last week, five of the world’s biggest oil companies — Exxon Mobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and ConocoPhillips — reported combined profits of more than $111 billion.
Conventional wisdom tends to blame the Arabs and OPEC for the global per-barrel price of oil. But there IS no shortage. In fact, oil stockpiles in the U.S. are hovering at an eight-year high.
Kuwait’s Oil Minister said he would urge OPEC to “offer all their idle capacity to the market as soon as possible.”
“We must do what we can to help the market even if there will be no customers for the extra oil,” Sheik Ahmad Fahd al-Sabah told reporters at an energy forum in Qatar.
Current oil prices, noted the sheik, are not related to the fundamentals of supply and demand. He also said the standoff with Iran had added about ten dollars to the price of a barrel of oil, but offered no further explanation.
Nobody is offering ‘further explanation’ because if they did, it would soon become apparent that there IS no logical explanation. What ‘drives’ the price of oil is fear.
Fear that Venezuela will nationalize its oil industry. Fear that al-Qaeda attacks might cripple the oil infrastructure. Fear that a war with Iran might reduce oil exports.
“Oil futures are based on people’s fears,” says Dan Kammen, a UC-Berkeley professor and co-director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment, (as quoted in a story on the CBS News website). “We buy oil on the futures market. So if you look out in the future, you have to say, is it likely that Iran will have a conflict?”
Some experts and analysts have said the market s acutely speculative quality (investors get spooked whenever the global crude cost increases) has added a fear premium of $10 to $15 per barrel.
Each dollar increase on a barrel of oil translates as 2.4 cents at the pumps. So you are paying about a thirty-cent per-gallon ‘fear premium’.
Osama bin Laden’s most recently released recording is expected to drive the fear premium up even more.
Try and think of something you will purchase today that isn’t affected by the price of gas. Something that didn’t have to be loaded onto a truck and transported to the store. You see what I mean.
Now consider the extra thirty cents a gallon in fear premiums that will have to be built into the price of those items.
In recent briefings, we’ve seen how the first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse — the rider on the white horse — has begun to cast his shadow across the prophetic landscape.
According to Islamic scholars, this rider is the Islamic Mahdi — a kind of Muslim messiah. Iran’s Ahmadinejad is on record as saying he expects the Mahdi to emerge sometime within the next two years — and that his appearance will set the stage for the Rider on the Red Horse who will “take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.” (Revelation 6:4)
The third rider is also beginning to cast his shadow.
“And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.” (Revelation 6:5-6)
A ‘measure’ of wheat and ‘three measures of barley’ represents a day’s food. A ‘penny’ represents a day’s wages. ‘Oil and wine’ are representative of great wealth.
During the Black Horseman’s ride, it will take a day’s wages to buy a day’s food, but the suffering and deprivation will be primarily confined to the working classes — much the same as during the world-wide Great Depression of the 1930’s.
(And pretty much in line with the consequences of a collapse in the global oil market.)
These are but shadows of what the Bible says are to come during the Tribulation Period. We aren’t yet there. None of the expected riders have yet made their appearance, but the way is being cleared for them in preparation for their ride.
And we are able to watch it all begin to unfold — right before our eyes.
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men’s hearts FAILING THEM FOR FEAR, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
“And when these things BEGIN to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads, for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:25-28)