Friday, May 16, 2008

High Fuel Prices

With the long weekend upon us you’re bound to hear a plethora of opinions and complaints about how the government and oil companies are gauging the poor working man. At some point during these many rants someone always suggests (in a very confident manner) that the government should be doing something about these prices. Although I agree that it would be nice if someone magically made fuel prices cheaper I don’t think it’s practical, realistic or appropriate to expect governments to do this. Since oil is a global commodity what exactly should the government be doing to protect us poor Canadians from high fuel prices? Maybe they could eliminate the gas tax altogether? Sounds like a great idea but then where are they going to make up that revenue? Maybe spend less on hospitals, schools etc? Or perhaps they could initiate a communist style business policy and claim the private owned oil companies as government property? This obviously isn’t a reasonable option either.

In my opinion if you want to remain living in a democratic, civilized, industrial nation there are only two options available if you really want to fight the high cost of fuel:

Option #1: Use less of it. (ie- drive, boat and heat less).
Option #2: Protect yourself from high fuel prices by buying part of the oil companies. When you buy shares of a publicly traded company you’re buying a small percentage of the company. As a part owner you’ll benefit (in the form of capital appreciation or dividends) each time the pump prices go up. Hey if can’t beat them join them.

If you’re interested in Option #2 here are a few companies that you might want to start your search with PCA, HSE, SU, COS.UN, TLM.

44 comments:

david said...

I think you should replace "democratic" with "capitalist". You can still have state run/regulated companies and be democratic.

Just saying that there often seems to be an equation with democracy with capitalism, when they are two different things (take a look at China)

MG (moneygardener) said...

I thought I had that line trademarked? :)

"This makes a lot of sense because if one is choosing to expend money in this area, odds are many other people are doing the same. Wouldn't it be nice to make a trip to the pump, grill, bank, mall, or liquor store a net neutral financial choice? "If you can't beat em, join em!"

Jerry said...

I personally don't think the gains from oil stocks will be enough for regular usages. It helps, but doesn't solve the fundamentals

Solfest said...

I also believe in the own the companies you spend money at theory. Of course you must also use due diligence before any puchase. One can own most of the companies that we send money to on a monthly basis. Such as gasoline, electricity, nat gas, tel co, walmart, cable, banking, and so on.

Middle Class Millionaire said...

MG,

My apologies (your royalty cheque is in the mail...)

Jim Somerville said...

Well, at least maybe the government could cap the taxes on fuel? It is a percentage right now, so the higher the price of gasoline goes, the more taxes we pay on it. Why don't they just make it a fixed cost per litre, that they can raise or lower when they deem it necessary?

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