Friday, September 21, 2007

The Daily Word of the Day is... Fungible

Okay, let me just put this out there...

Hugo Chavez does not care where you buy your gasoline from. I know a lot of people think that he does. but he doesn't. I promise.

I work, as my regular readers know, at a gas station. That gas station happens to have a big Citgo sign out front. For now. The Truck that delivers our gas doesn't say "Citgo" on it, though. It says "Eagle Transport".

Soon, I have been told, We will no longer be a Citgo station, but a Texaco station. This is probably due in part to the ill-informed, but well-intentioned, boycott of Citgo Gas Stations by people who live their lives in accordance with instructions sent to them in E-Mail Forwards.

I have a hunch, though, that our delivery trucks will not change. What those trucks have in them is refined gasoline. The refined gasoline in those trucks is, as of now, usually, with occasional exceptions, from a Citgo refinery located in Texas. The Crude Oil that they refine there in Texas, might come from Venezuela. Unless crude from Iran, or Argentina, or Saudi Arabia, or Iraq, or Alaska, or right there in Texas was cheaper that day.

So when you buy your Gasoline at the pump, you are buying it from an American Employee in an American Store which got its Refined Product delivered along American Roads, in an American Truck, from an American Refinery, which provides lots of American Jobs to American Workers, with American Taxes collected at every point along the way.

That refinery May (or May Not) have gotten its Unrefined Product from a foreign entity, which May (or May Not) have been Communist, Islamic, Theocratic, Catholic, Secular, Democratic, or Otherwise. And this is the case NO MATTER WHAT BRAND HAS ITS SIGN ON THE BUILDING!

Let me break this down another way. If your town has a Citgo Station across the street from an Exxon Station, and you and all your neighbors (according to the instructions in your e-mail) only buy gas from the Exxon Station, then pretty soon the Exxon station is going to run out of gasoline. Then when they have to buy some more, they are going to look for a company that has some extra, unsold, gas sitting around that they want to sell cheap. Why, Citgo's gas is on sale this week!

So, come the next week, your local Exxon Station will be selling Exxon Gas that had been Citgo gas the week before. And you know who got the money for that? Hugo Chavez and his Evil Minions of Death! (The ones who gave low-income Americans all that free heating oil right after Hurricane Katrina, when our own government refused to offer assistance.) I know this happens - I have been there and signed the papers acknowledging that instead of getting our usual gas, we have, on a few occasions, been selling BP gas at our Citgo Station, in our Citgo-Branded (soon to be Texaco-Branded) pumps.

We can do this because Gas is Fungible. That means "interchangeable" A gallon of gasoline is a gallon of gasoline no matter where it started out. By the time it gets to you, the "End-User", The only thing you can reliably guess about that gallon of Gasoline, is that it changed hands in the cheapest way possible, with each step of the demand-chain buying it from the cheapest available supplier at the time.

Actually, the only way to make sure that Hugo Chavez and his Evil Minions of Death are less well funded, is to reduce the value of all oil, EVERYWHERE. The way to do this is not to buy gas from one company or another, but to stop buying gas altogether! Or at least substantially reduce the amount of gas you (and everybody else) consumes. That Email forward didn't get nearly as popular, though.

So, buy your gas where it is cheapest or most convenient for you, and leave the international economic pressuring to the professionals. And When you get an E-Mail Forward with a Tasty bit of "News", go to to check the facts before acting on it, please?


Anonymous said...

For a guy who claims to stay away from politics and religion, you have a lot to say. Well done. (even medium rare in some cases)


(BTW- My friend thinks you should have named your airport-found-female-cat-looking-like-death warmed-over "Amelia")

Elizabeth said...

Hear, hear!

Seriously, I'm so tired of those emails. I've actually started trying to steer certain other FMT members who shall remain annonymous toward Snopes (particularly after the lovely "Mars is gonna be as big as the moon" email...), but there seems to be no progress on this front.

Sadly it seems that a lot of the people I know that would bennefit from reading this aren't reading your blog anyway.

Frank Gibson said...

well, send them a link, Liz! just click the little envelope-picture at the bottom of the post.

But when is mars going to be as big as the moon? I want to be watching when that happens. (and I want to know I've lived a good life, because the universe will officially be collapsing at that point.)

BT said...

Interestingly enough the e-mail I received here in the land of oil and cattle was in order to support Hugo Chavez you should buy gas at Citgo...Very weird...

Liz said...

Ah!! How do I comment to a comment? (I'm used to a different system where you can just hit a "respond" button on the comments too...)

By the way, they've been talking about Monteagle on the weather channel. They interviewed a waitress at the Smokehouse about the drought.

Frank Gibson said...

Yeah, that's one of the bummer things about the blogspot forum. You can't direct comments to their appropriate "Thread". MySpace, I have to admit, has Blogger beat hands down in that regard. But you don't see ads with half-naked people in them here. so there's that.