What’s falling faster than a soufflé left in the oven too long? The price of crude oil. In July, the price per barrel was $147. Last week the price dropped down to $72 per barrel. Whoa, Nelly, what a drop.
However, Con Edison, KeySpan and the supermarkets have yet to pass this magnificent savings on down to the rest of us. In fact, Con Edison, who requested yet another rate hike increase set for next year, is busy advertising their beneficence with ad spots popping up proclaiming how interested they are in helping us poor shlubs out. Their plans include level billing payments for those who qualify, where to get help in paying higher prices for those who don’t, and if you cannot afford the price of electricity at all, how to survive the New York winters, with candles, coats and blankets (only kidding – that was not part of the commercial).
The answer is simple. The price of crude oil coming down has not melted the hearts of big business. They are still running on the assumption that we the consumers are idiots and will pay whatever they charge without any questions asked. And they are right. We the people have yet to demand an answer.
At the beginning of the oil crisis last spring the price of bread, pasta, rice and corn skyrocketed. We swallowed the bait and paid the prices. Part of the increase, they said, was due to the fact that a large portion of the crops were diverted for biofuel and/or animal consumption and not human needs. Basic economics -- an increase in the demand and a decrease in the supply makes the prices go up. The other reason for the hike was that it cost more for the farmers, the companies and the truckers to get the products from here, there and everywhere.
Well, crude oil has come down, the price of gas is now well below $3 per gallon, the lowest in several years, and yet the price of bread, pasta, rice, corn and our ever-burgeoning utilities has not come down to reflect the decrease. Yet we’re still swallowing the bait.
This means that we the people are still getting the short shrift. Their costs have gone down, and our costs are still up. The farmers and the utilities now have a surplus of cash with a decrease in output, thereby allowing them to save a nice portion in their piggy banks. I wish I could say the same, don’t you?
How level is the ‘paying’ field now? My last trip to the supermarket didn’t see any significant savings. I still paid over $3 for a loaf of bread, milk was still close to $4 per gallon and the price of rice hasn’t dropped. In fact, the $150 that I allotted in May of last year doesn’t nearly come close to paying for the same amount of groceries that I still purchase.
Not for nuthin’, but the only benefit I have realized due to falling gas prices is that with all that I am saving, I now have enough ‘mad money’ to invest in a loaf of bread. Oh happy day.
E-mail “Not for Nuthin’” at JoannaD@co