Monday, May 05, 2008

Oil Profits Cold Comfort to Have Not Individuals

Big oil offers it's thanks to you the consumers for making them laugh in hysterics as they limo ride all the way to the bank. Yes, we love their product and we are making a few people happy. We can take some comfort in knowing that Newfoundland and Labrador is at least making barrels of extra revenue, and on the way to being a "have" province. It's too bad though, that this is cold comfort, literally, to those on low incomes, people with disabilities, and fixed incomes.

A recent story which got airplay a local tv news show, described one woman's struggle to keep warm, keep fed and keep healthy. The news of prosperity translates into more poverty for people like Wanda White.

Ms White receives $320 every two weeks. Some people fill their cars or trucks with that much gas each month. She has to use it for heat, food, electricity, phone, etc. The cost of home heating fuel since last September has risen by about .40 cents a litre. That's an increase of around $320 per typical oil tank fill up. There are many others with health struggles like her who are negatively affected by massive increases in heating expenses. Her spastic paralegia requires the use of a cane and her speech is slow. Yet, she is ambitious - doing an online course, and wanting to open a tea house in the future.

There are indeed pockets of third world living in our rich G7 country.

This is not much help, but one idea to trim home heating costs, or insurance, or anything for that matter, is to phone around and compare prices. For furnace oil, there is a range of around .06 cents a litre.

As of today, May 5th, here are local St. John's home heating oil prices:
(prices are for 1 litre of oil)

Five years ago you could buy furnace oil for about .43 cents a litre, give or take a few cents difference between dealers. In general, inflation may seem low, but this one essential product is hurting people badly. They need income increases too, to keep pace with vital living expenses.


Peter L. Whittle said...

I have posted a fair amount in the past about the inequities tied to our new oil wealth. For many people on low or fixed incomes, to keep treading water and paying the bills is getting exhausting. One senior told me he was much better before the oil started to come ashore.

The Newfoundland Observer offers a great glimpse into the struggles facing many who are not receiving 20% wage increases to combat rising energy and food costs. It is a great post and well worth the time it takes to read it.

Charles Cheeseman said...

Cutting down on how much we drive is easily doable, but not to the same degree with home oil. People need to burn fuel to keep temperatures at a comfortable level, and for health. I also know people who are freezing in their own homes to cut the oil costs. One in particular worries about it alot and is not healthy. Thanks again for the comment Peter.