an article on Fuel Freedom by Zana Nesheiwat:
Before 1984, only AT&T
could sell long-distance telephone service, making a long-distance call
cost $3.00 a minute. That monopoly and unfair pricing ended when a
federal judge required AT&T to grant access to any carrier that
wanted to sell long-distance services. Within three years, the price of a
long-distance call decreased from $3.00 a minute to 30 cents a minute.
Today it’s 3 cents a minute, thanks to competition and an open market.
the breakup of that monopoly, which brought forth industry competition
and consumer choice, we wouldn’t be enjoying rapid advancements in the
communication industry and the ability to watch, listen, play, tweet and
stream from one device.
Economics 101: A monopoly has the power
to set the price on a commodity. Although there is more than one oil
company (Shell, Exxon, BP, etc.), the only fuel they sell to consumers
is petroleum. The lack of fuel competition allows “big oil” to set the
price. The wide-scale adoption of abundant, domestic fuel supplies
(natural gas, methanol, ethanol and electricity) will boost competition
and innovation, resulting in a wider fuel selection for consumers and
lower prices at the pump. This is not to mention protection against
resource and price volatility and improved air quality.
of an oil-addicted population and economy, or, as many call it, an oil
monopoly, will do everything in their power to maintain a situation
where they have sole custody over the transportation fuel market. Recent
actions from the American Petroleum Institute (API) demonstrate this.
Group Downstream director, Bob Greco, announced that API is “strongly
considering” asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case regarding the
sale of a high-ethanol fuel blend. Soon after, a press conference
ignited news headlines with something along the lines of, “Ethanol
destroys cars.” The claims that warn of the dangers of ethanol are based
on a research study funded by — you guessed it — the API and
Clearly, API is threatened by the “competition” and
has good reason to be! The competition – natural gas, methanol and, in
this case, ethanol, or any combination of alternative fuels, could cause
the oil industry to lose profits, market shares and eventually, their
dominant control over the fuel market.
The breakup of AT&T
brought forth a new era of technology — multi-functioning phones and
affordable long-distance phone calls. Breaking the oil monopoly would
give us far more than that — relief at the pump and a thriving future
for years to come.