Why Now?
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
  What a Piece of Work
Despite its many faults Florida does have a pretty good public radio system based at Florida State University in Tallahassee. The Florida Public Radio Network provides local stations with a daily half-hour of coverage of the legislature when it's in session and a half show every week on Florida politics the rest of year.

They also have a monthly hour-long show called Florida on the Line which allows people to call in with questions for the people on the panel for the monthly topic. Tonight's subject was the Federal Energy Bill that Shrubbery just signed.

The panel consisted of: Jim Smith, President of the Florida Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, Holly Bins, with the Florida Public Research Interest Group (Florida PIRG), and Greg Laskoski, with AAA Auto-Club South.

Ms. Bins made the point that this might have been a good bill in 1975, but it does nothing for today's problems.

I was taken by the comments of Mr. Smith. He represents the independent gas station owners and they aren't happy with the bill. He noted the problems that were encountered trying to get fuel to the Panhandle after hurricane Dennis and asked how anyone thought they were going to be able to sell ethanol. Apparently there are no local sources, so the independents would have to buy it from processors in the Midwest or Brazil, which means higher prices.

A small bit of information I picked up in conversation with gas station people: they make a fixed amount on a gallon of gasoline, generally a dime. They make a dime when the gas sells for a $1/gallon and they make a dime when it sells for $3/gallon. Every one else in the system makes a percentage. The state gasoline tax is a fixed amount on a gallon, but they also collect sales tax, which is a percentage. As always the people you can complain to have no power and make no money from the price increases.

The corporations make larger profits while the consumers and small businesses pay for it.


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