Barbwire Energy Crisis War Room
BARBWIRE
Oilogopoly Archive

This ongoing investigation of retail gasoline price-rigging was named number two among The Top Five Censored Nevada Stories of All Time by the Reno News & Review (4-2-1997)


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Barbwires
and Archives

Gasoline Price-fixing: Hiding in Plain Sight
Updated 8-28-2014

Chronicling the corrosive scandal which the simpletonian corporate media won't address

Barbano back on Sam Shad's statewide Nevada Newsmakers TV program

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Labor Day 2014: Red, white and screwed
Go frack yourself: American Petroleum Institute greases the wheels for fracking Nevada
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the Sparks Tribune / 8-28-2014

Greasing the suckers and goosing the gullible
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 2-7-2013 Daily Sparks Tribune

This bitch just isn't sexy enough
A domestic cartel fixes the price of gasoline
while politic
ians say nothing can be done and media sit shiva.
Such is BigOil's power to intimidate while hiding in plain sight.

Barbwire by Barbano/ Expanded from the 2-26-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

Pipeline pigs, oily vultures and flying swine
Barbano by Barbano / Expanded from the 12-18-2011 Daily Sparks Tribune

Dirty words and sexy talk always get it on
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-9-2011 Daily Sparks Tribune

The perils of playing the other guy's game
Obama botches gasoline price issue in Reno speech
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 4-24-2011 Daily Sparks Tribune

SMOKING GUN: Secret memos expose links between oil company pressure and invasion of Iraq
London Independent / 4-19-2011

Charlie Sheen and the Price of Gasoline
ENERGY, PART DEUX: PUC sides with electrical workers, orders NV Energy staffing investigation
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 3-6-2011 Daily Sparks Tribune

From clear-cut forests to dirty Gulfstream waters, this land belongs to old BP
TOLJASO LONG TIME AGO

BP/ARCO: The greasy root of our evils

Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 9-10-2006

The awful truth — Read it and weep, fellow suckers

BARBWIRE.TV
What may well be the first marriage of talk radio, talk TV and webcast webchat

REALITY BITES — McCain bitten while biting wallets in Beantown


BOSTON (June 11, 2008) — Well we almost made the national news. This picture was taken on the side of John McCain's bus. The bus says "Straight Talk Express" (what a load of crap!). The Secret Service let us get this close. He was in Boston for a fundraiser Wednesday evening, the good looking guy third from the right is me. So now you can put a hunk face to the emails. So now go out and vote for our favorite fellow Sicilian, Obama. (Photo and caption courtesy of the editor of this website's fellow Siciliano, union brother Al Capozzi, who still wanders the wildes of merry auld New England. Be well. Raise hell. — Andrew.)

OILOGOPOLY IS NEVER HAVING TO SAY YOU'RE SORRY
How the price at the pump reflects only a love of profit gouging

by
ANDREW BARBANO

THE NEVERENDING STORY — These columns and related research, beginning in 1996 - 1997, give the background of the oil industry marketing scheme which has resulted in crippled competition and permanently inflated retail gas pump prices. The Y2K continuation of the series follows thereafter, then 2003-2004 and on and on. As of this date, I am not aware of anyone doing anything with the depth and breadth of this archive.


   If government still refuses to get it, some consumers appear to. The following was printed under a misleading and morally obtuse Heritage Foundation op-ed in the Reno Kazoo-Journal of 5-8-2007.


The govt. SHOULD regulate gas prices.

The argument against price controls is that it can discourage businesses from building refineries.

However, that argument does NOT work when you have a handful of companies shutting down refinaries to drive prices up.

   FACT- not a single refinery has been built in 20 years.
   FACT- There have been over a dozen refineries shut down in the last 20 years.
   FACT- The oil company mergers have created an oligopoly where collusion can occur.
   FACT- environmentalism has nothing to do with no new refineries- no one has even considered building one.*
   FACT-Profits go up when refineries shut down
   FACT- When Shell shut down the Bakersfield refinery, they REFUSED to even consider selling it.

Market forces are not at play when there is a virtual monopoly. Price controls are in order. — katana


* EDITOR'S NOTE: Actually, one has been on the drawing board for years in the Bay Area, but locals have been fighting it.

I would love to be proved wrong.

John Martin of ABC News did a pretty good zone pricing story in 2000 after the Wall Street Journal did a mediocre piece, linked below. Neither went into the purpose or effect of predatory price zones.

On Nov 11, 2005, PBS's NOW with David Brancaccio added a third major factor to the scandal with reporter Maria Hinojosa's powerful exposé about major oil companies pulling an Enron by closing refineries. See below.

Read 'em and weep. Better yet, cry foul!

Here's the depth to which we've sunk as of 3-25-2007: Reflecting our docile public, our media rollover, too. Arf.

As usual, the best reportage is being done by an American who works for British media. Read It's STILL the oil: Secret Condi Meeting on Oil Before Invasion by Greg Palast.

The old Standard Oil trust, which President Theodore Roosevelt led the charge in breaking up, has now largely been reconstituted a century down the road. Old John D. Rockefeller would be proud.

We need a nationally recognized leader to step forward and get people talking about what's painfully on the public record.

Where is he? Or she?

Perhaps singer/songsmith Leonard Cohen put it best:

Everybody knows the fight was fixed,
    the poor get poor, the rich get rich.
That's how it goes.
    Everybody knows.


Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano
3-26-2007


The greasy and toxic morgue of the Great American Dream Machine

The following are in chronological order rather than the reverse, which is usual Internet style. This particular rape and pillage requires linear progression (or regression, depending on your point of view.)

Gas pedals and peddlers: BOHICA at the pump
BARBWIRE BY BARBANO April 28, 1996

Big oil, false choices and Pat McCarran's oranges
BARBWIRE May 5, 1996

Darth Vader & ARCO's Empire strike back at Rebels
BARBWIRE May 12, 1996

Smoking guns, lone wolves and gaseous greed
BARBWIRE May 19, 1996

Eating shoes & guzzling gas? Who you gonna call?
BARBWIRE June 23, 1996

Spitbugs, prophets and male chauvinist pigs
BARBWIRE June 30, 1996

Unemployment debris and J.G. phone home
BARBWIRE July 7, 1996

Big Oil, holy men, guns, drugs and Alzheimer's
BARBWIRE September 29, 1996

The 1996 Grateful Deadhead and Chia Butthead Awards
BARBWIRE December 29, 1996

Spend your weekend working to make gasoline sexy
BARBWIRE May 25, 1997

Fighting for justice on the job and at the gas pump
BARBWIRE March 5, 2000

Fresh-killed dispatches from those in the trenches
BARBWIRE March 12, 2000

Once again, the awful truth behind high gas prices
BARBWIRE July 2, 2000

The energy crisis shuck-jive hustle hall of fame
BARBWIRE February 25, 2001

Mucking with monopolists, mugwumps and mavericks
BARBWIRE March 9, 2003

Freshman Nevada attorney general swallowed oil company pickle smoke
by Jeff German, Las Vegas Sun, April 6, 2003

How many more times do I have to write this damned story before some public servant does more than apply lipstick to the pig?
BARBWIRE BY BARBANO March 14, 2004

Getting Focused with blasts from the past
BARBWIRE 8-14-2005

Deadly Spin in the oil slicks of New Orleans
BARBWIRE 9-4-2005
Profitable PR Painfully Pumped & Pimped
BARBWIRE 9-25-2005

PAIN AT THE PUMP ON PBS

NOW NOV. 11, 2005, HOME PAGE

PROGRAM TRANSCRIPT

STREAMING VIDEO

BIGOIL PICKLE SMOKE

Transcript of last week's senate hearings as BigOil's 5 top CEOs crying poorboy and defending the sanctity of the mythological free market. Committee Chair Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, refused to swear them in, avoiding an Oliver North photo opportunity.

Stevens undoubtedly remembered the media's coverage of the late 1994 lame duck House committee hearing whereat outgoing Chair Henry Waxman, D-Calif., made tobacco company CEO's stand and swear they knew nothing about cigarettes causing cancer.

 

Blame the victim: Dubya dances while consumers cringe
FROM THE BARBWIRE OF 11-13-2005

If you missed the Nov. 11, 2005, PBS newsmagazine "NOW with David Brancaccio," go get it at right.

I've documented for a decade how the price of gasoline is the result of a rigged market. On Nov. 11, 2005, PBS/NPR reporter Maria Hinojosa revealed company documents proving BigOil has closed refineries and even shipped gas to foreign countries in order to create shortages and drive up prices.

Didn't Enron and its cronies get busted for doing the same thing with electricity and natural gas?

I've been preaching for years how this story is too complex for TV.

Brancaccio and Hinojosa glossed over the rigging of the retail market accomplished by zone pricing and cut-throat competition detailed in the Barbwire Oilogopoly Archive. The third major factor in oligopolistic oil marketing lies in manipulation of the futures market by speculators on major commodity exchanges.

The NOW piece is the best research developed on this issue in several years, but still represents just one piece of a grotesque 23 year-old comprehensive marketing and legal strategy which will kill people this winter.

Spread the word. Please.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano

OIL SLICK — Nevada gubernatorial candidates gush energy remedies but completely ignore gasoline
BARBWIRE 4-9-2006

TURNING PURPLE AT THE GAS PUMP ON OUR ONE DAY OF GREEN CELEBRATION
Boycotting water on Earth Day

BARBWIRE 4-23-2006

From clear-cut forests to dirty Gulfstream waters, this land belongs to old BP
TOLJASO LONG TIME AGO

BP/ARCO: The greasy root of our evils

Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune 9-10-2006

The awful truth — Read it and weep, fellow suckers

GASOLINE PRICE FIXING IS JUST TOO COMPLICATED FOR NEWS PEOPLE. Our mainstream media reflect the public. Complain, pay, rollover and play dead — just like the president and vice-president want. Barbwire 3-25-2007.

Monopolists and mass malpractice
Gasoline price fixing and greasing pols to exploit the sick

Barbwire / Sparks Tribune 4-13-2008

Tale of the greasy goose
The neverending story of the rigged game at the gas pump
Barbwire / Sparks Tribune 5-25
-2008

Charlie Sheen and the Price of Gasoline
ENERGY, PART DEUX: PUC sides with electrical workers, orders NV Energy staffing investigation
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 3-6-2011 Daily Sparks Tribune

SMOKING GUN: Secret memos expose links between oil company pressure and invasion of Iraq
London Independent / 4-19-2011

The perils of playing the other guy's game
Obama botches gasoline price issue in Reno speech
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 4-24-2011 Daily Sparks Tribune

Dirty words and sexy talk always get it on
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 10-9-2011 Daily Sparks Tribune

Pipeline pigs, oily vultures and flying swine
Barbano by Barbano / Expanded from the 12-18-2011 Daily Sparks Tribune

This bitch just isn't sexy enough
A domestic cartel fixes the price of gasoline
while politic
ians say nothing can be done and media sit shiva.
Such is BigOil's power to intimidate while hiding in plain sight.

Barbwire by Barbano/ Expanded from the 2-26-2012 Daily Sparks Tribune

Greasing the suckers and goosing the gullible
Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 2-7-2013 Daily Sparks Tribune

Gasoline Alley websites

Utility Consumers Action Network (site no longer maintained)

Automotive Trade Organizations of California

Read More About It —

Secret formulas set the prices for gasoline
By Alexei Barrionuevo

WALL STREET JOURNAL / March 26th, 2000

In 1988, the Wall Street Journal became the first national publication to print the story of predatory zone pricing by BigOil. The self-styled Bible of Business apparently forgot to read its own archive. It quoted aggrieved Nevada retailers and I discussed it at length on my erstwhile talk radio show. The 2000 story linked above describes the industry's highly refined cut-throat pricing practice, but neglects to mention its purpose and net effect: the elimination of low-priced, independent gas stations. ABC News aired a story on zone pricing a few days after the WSJ piece ran. Reporter John Martin likewise failed to inform his viewers of the strategy behind zone pricing.

Public Citizen research validates the depredations of the oilogopoly
   Las Vegas Mercury 5-13-2004   Download the document in Adobe Acrobat Reader

Love's Labors Lost

The following cover letter was sent to editors of a dozen or so mainstream and alternative newspapers and magazines in 1996. No one was interested in the story.

The Oilogopolists continue to rape and pillage while our news media continue to print industry press releases.

Press on regardless.

Be well. Raise hell.

Dear Editor:

I rake muck, kick ass and promote labor unions here in the High Desert Outback of the American Dream.

Crusading's a bitch when many of the rescued don't even know they need to be saved. Alas, the same can be said by those getting slam-dunked at the gas pump.

When it comes to gasoline prices, we have achieved national consensus: the public is screwed and everybody knows how, with which and by whom. With the forests of newsprint and eons of program time devoted to the current version of an energy crisis, might the great unwashed hope that the legit media may eventually find out why?

Alas, no. The real story could bite them on the ass and they'd say the mosquitoes sure are big this year. The foundation for the current spike in retail gas prices has been cleverly laid over the past 14 years. The past six weeks are just a warning of things to come. The monopolists really have developed a better mousetrap. You and I are in the cage. John D. Rockefeller would be proud.

While we were sleeping, BigOil came up with a new Monopoly game. They are trying it out on us right now, and none of the mainstream media have been able to so much as categorize the obvious.

Perhaps the following might interest your readers:

We may view this year as test marketing of a national price fixing strategy. I have legislative and court records and inside people. I am also following one neverending court action which could tip the scales. I wrote a 7,000-word series on the gas price fixing issue. The final installment is enclosed. Call me if you want to look at the rest. It's your kind of story.

 
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Copyright © 1982-2012 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 43-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and JoeNeal.org; a member of Communications Workers of America Local 9413 (the union of Mark Twain and the Territorial Enterprise) and former chair of the City of Reno's Citizens Cable Compliance Committee, He is producer of Nevada's annual César Chávez Day celebration and serves as first vice-president, political action chair and webmaster of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his opinions are strictly his own. E-mail barbano@frontpage.reno.nv.us.

Barbwire by Barbano premiered in the Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune on Aug. 12, 1988, and has originated in those parts ever since. Tempus fugit.

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