Oil refineries across the country have been plagued by a record number of fires, power failures, leaks, spills and breakdowns this year, causing dozens of them to shut down temporarily or trim production. The disruptions are helping to drive gasoline prices to highs not seen since last summer’s records.It is evident by the lack of capital expenditures that profit is the only goal of these companies. What other industry could allow the complete breakdown of their manufacturing capacity and still maintain and GROW their profits? It is time for Congressional action to force the capital expenditures necessary to modernize production facilities. It is quite obvious that if left to their own devices that nothing will be invested to improve this situation. The Oil industry has America by the balls and the Bush administration is helping to tighten the grip.
These mechanical breakdowns, which one analyst likened to an “invisible hurricane,” have created a bottleneck in domestic energy supplies, helping to push up gasoline prices 50 cents this year to well above $3 a gallon. A third of the country’s 150 refineries have reported disruptions to their operations since the beginning of the year, a record according to analysts.
It is time for a windfall profits tax with the proceeds being used to fund alternate sources of energy. Our national security and economic future demand this type of action.