Bob SweigertSpecial to the Bonanza

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March 14, 2012
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Grasshopper Soup: Good thing skis don't use gas

TAHOE/TRUCKEE — This column is not intended to be a serious report, but it makes about as much sense as everything else we’re hearing on the topic.If gasoline prices go up because of uncertainty in the Middle East, shouldn’t ski lift tickets get more expensive because of uncertainty about the weather? In November and December, we don’t know if Old Man Winter will deliver enough snow, but ski resorts don’t even raise prices in the spring when snow is even more uncertain.And how come ski resorts don’t lower the price of lift tickets when the supply of snow increases like it did last year? There is clearly a big difference between speculation in big oil and speculation in the ski industry.Global oil economics is very complex. So is the weather. But we have more control over economics. Yet, oil companies want us to think they have nothing to do with raising, or lowering, gasoline prices; that it just happens automatically, without human intervention, like the mating ritual of the bird-of-paradise.It sounds like they don’t have any control of their own oil business in America. They could lower gas prices just for fun, but that would require unusual generosity.I bet those good-old-boy, all-American oil execs are very good at reading fairy tales and telling tall tales to their grandchildren. It’s always the same old story every year. Gasoline prices begin to rise as we approach the summer vacation season, and drop a little in the fall when people aren’t going to buy as much gas. But, from year to year, gasoline just keeps getting more and more expensive, even when the price of a barrel of oil doesn’t fluctuate all that much.I’m beginning to think the oil companies want me to believe they are such a finely tuned machine they can actually guarantee that a barrel of oil on an oil tanker leaving Saudi Arabia tomorrow will be the refined gasoline I pump into my gas tank next week.Maybe it will be. What do I know? Oil execs know we are unable, or unwilling, to effectively boycott their product. They depend on our ignorance for their record profits.So, the big gasoline company executives can say to us uneducated consumers, in the same sentence, that the reason gas prices go up is supply and demand, and because Iran might start a military blockade of shipping routes. Now I get it. That means that, if oil company execs are telling the truth, the reason they are raising gas prices is because they need to make as much money as possible before World War III starts, or the world ends, whichever comes first.It also means we should all stop driving our cars for a month. Don’t even go to work. We can do it. Surviving for a month without an income is a piece of cake, especially if you have a ski pass. Just keep TART running, and don’t buy any gasoline; none!Skis don’t run on gasoline. All you need is gravity and a little wax.I’m not a community organizer, but I would love to see a month-long gasoline boycott nationwide. But we can’t do that. Our good friends are in the local gasoline business. If things are worth more based on supply and demand and future uncertainty, at least that’s good news for humans, because our future is definitely uncertain. When human life gets too expensive, social and political speculators might decide to go totally green in time for St. Patrick’s Day and end human life to save the planet. We can always hope uncertainty about the future of government will make government worthless.Use green ski wax and get in as much skiing as you can before Mother Nature, or the government, decides it can’t afford you anymore.Bob Sweigert is a Sierra Sun columnist, published poet, former college instructor and ski instructor. He has a B.A. and an M.A.T. from Gonzaga University.-He has lived at Lake-Tahoe for 30 years.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Mar 14, 2012 11:32AM Published Mar 14, 2012 11:31AM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.