THE PRICE OF OIL

Since the Texas oil men, George Bush and Dick Cheney, took over, and since the secret meetings of the energy task force (the list of whose members even a GAO law suit could not dislodge), the price of oil has quadrupled.

‘Oil consumers are paying $4 billion to $5 billion more for crude oil every day than they did just five years ago,’ according to this global overview in the Washington Post, ‘pumping more than $2 trillion into the coffers of oil companies and oil-producing nations this year alone.’

It’s probably just a coincidence that the oil industry and Halliburton have done so spectacularly well. And that California had a sudden energy crisis – unchecked by the ample powers of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission – that siphoned billions from San Francisco to Houston, unseated a Democratic governor in mid-term, and then disappeared as fast as it materialized.

But whether coincidence or not, don’t assume $4 is the highest price a gallon of gas can ever reach. Much of Europe is already paying $7.50 and more.

BEATING THE PRICE OF OIL

Easy, at least when you’re just one or two in the car. Smart cars arrive in January at about $12,000 a pop, and will double your mileage . . . which halves the cost of fuel. Not right for every situation, but safer than they look and so easy to park.

THE PALM BEACH STORY

Why buy this wonderful old movie for $11.99 when you can get the whole seven-DVD Preston Sturges boxed set for $28.49? (Or, of course, NetFlix – but then you can’t rewrap it after you’ve watched them and delight someone for the holidays.) However you do it, though, if you haven’t already seen The Palm Beach Story – do. You have to watch Mary Astor and Rudy Vallee and Joel McRae and Claudette Colbert deadpan Sturges lines like . . . ‘That’s one of the tragedies of this life – that the men most in need of beating up are always enormous.’

 

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