Danville Express

Perspective - June 8, 2007

Letters to the editor

About those gas prices

Dear Editor:

Sticking to my New Year's resolution, and your editorial policy of comment affecting the Danville area, it seems timely and local to comment on the spike in gasoline prices.

Our residents are disproportionately active or retired members of petroleum companies, and they maintain the spike in price obeys the law of supply and demand. Other Danville commuters accuse oil companies of price gouging.

A review of this legendary business may shed light on the truth. ExxonMobil, and Chevron, the No. 1 and No. 2 multi-national oils, locally represented, have a common origin in the Standard Oil Rockefeller Trust broken up in 1911. The former, you may remember, once had the name Esso, the latter, Standard Oil (California) after the break-up. The history of Esso, the largest piece of the fragmented Trust, has a particularly legendary history.

Many remember Esso's slogan, "Put a Tiger in your Tank." Few remember the previous mascot of Esso before the Tiger was the Bee. This mascot derived from the names of domestic refineries, starting chronologically with Bayonne, and then Bayway, both in N.J., followed by the Baton Rouge, La., and then the Baytown, Texas, refineries. The last refinery built in the USA, in early 1980s, was in Benicia. Note that all Esso refineries named began with a B, hence the Bee mascot. From this came the consumer cry, "Those Esso Bees are gouging us again!"

Environmentalism poses this dilemma: "What should Danvillites do seeing a protected animal eating a protected plant?"

Ralph Hoffmann, Danville


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