If you are old enough you may remember a popular TV show starring Bob Newhart in the 1980s. Among the regulars were three brothers, backwoods hicks that wandered in and out of the show. Only one of the brothers spoke and he always began with “Hi, I’m Larry is this is my brother Darryl and this is my other brother Darryl.”
I was reminded of the Darryls while reading an editorial by Daryl Lease who shares his namesake’s acumen and wit.
As gasoline prices rise past $4 to $5 (and above) the question arises what should be done. The rise in fuel prices was one of Barack Obama’s objectives; one that he mentioned prior to the election but which was conveniently overlooked by the media. But they can’t very well ignore an issue that is affecting every household. The easiest scapegoats are the oil companies who are delivering the product to the pump. So Darryl, Darryl and Daryl are determined direct the pain that the American people are feeling away from the political class and to the productive class.
It’s easy to do when you couple sophomore sarcasm with innumeracy.
“My eyes go misty on me every time I fill up my gas tank these days, but not for the reasons you might think.
Oh, sure, the price of gas has reached the point where I peer down the nozzle to make sure I get every last drop out of the hose.
But what makes me feel glum - so very, very glum - is how badly our oil companies are treated these days. I have a weak spot for underdogs, you see - even underdogs that periodically sink their teeth into my walleted behind.”
Daryl tells us how much profit the oil companies are making and singles out Exxon Mobil, the largest US oil company for reporting a profit of $10.6 billion dollars. Sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Why it’s enough to keep the government running for 1 whole day. So just how much of that $4-$5 gas does Exxon Mobil get in profit? The question is important because if it’s a lot, then the oil companies are taking us to the cleaners.
Now, for Barbie, Darryl, Darryl and Daryl “math is hard.” They are innumerate. You just don’t learn math at CCBSU (Close Cover Before Striking U.). But some of us did, so I went to the Exxon report and did some math. Here are a few facts:
• Exxon Mobil is a diversified energy company that produces oil and gas, processes it and sells it as fuel, chemicals and refined products.• Exxon Mobil is a global company and derives most of its sales and profits overseas.• Exxon Mobil sold about 39 billion gallons of petroleum products in the US last quarter.• If you attribute all … 100% … every penny of Exxon Mobil’s worldwide profits to US petroleum sales last quarter, and assumed that they made zero, zilch, nada profit on every sale in every country worldwide, then you could claim that Exxon Mobil made $0.28 cents per gallon on every gallon of their gas you used.• But that would be as stupid as Darryl, Darryl and Daryl (“math is hard”).• So you take a look at some of the other numbers that Exxon Mobil provides and you come to the real profit that the evil oil company is making on you: $0.02. That’s right, TWO CENTS A GALLON IS THE OIL COMPANY’S PROFIT ON $4+ PER GALLON GAS.• If Exxon Mobil were to break-even on its gasoline sales, considering that gas prices went from $1.60 when Obama took office to $4 - $5 today, you would not notice it.
Expensive gas is not a rip-off by Exxon Mobil, it’s government policy. How else are they going to make Government Motors’ electric cars sell? How else are they going to make you ride that high speed train they want to build or the urban transit they want you to take? What else gives them the opportunity to lavish your tax dollars on windmills and solar panels? They tell you that the answer to $5, $6, $7, $8 dollar gas are wind power and solar panels, but your car doesn’t run on wind or sun power. Meanwhile they’re shutting down oil exploration in the Gulf, off the East Coast and in Alaska … all for your own good. And Darryl, Darryl and Daryl tell you that the company that delivers fuel to your car for a 2 cent profit is the villain but the government who takes 18.4 cents in federal taxes and the state (Virginia) that takes 17.5 cents per gallon is looking out for you.
But don’t blame Daryl, he’s no different than any other member of the media. My problem with media is that they are willful and dangerous because they have a dramatic effect on public policy while bearing no responsibility for the outcome. They influence policy while being politically unaccountable. That’s why people like Daryl and the entire rotten system that they represent is in the process of dying since the advent of the internet. The ability of people who think, can add and subtract, and are not hired by monopoly interests can now speak to a regional and national audience and have as much – or more – influence than Darryl, Darryl and Daryl: a punch line from a comedy show in the 80’s.