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Oil Industry, GOP Call For More Domestic Gas Production To Curb Prices

March 9, 2012 by  

Oil Industry, GOP Call For More Domestic Gas Production To Curb Prices

Congressional Republicans and oil industry executives called for more U.S. gas production to counter rising prices that have been recorded across the country, The Associated Press reported.

According to the news outlet, Democrats have focused on conservation and the role of Wall Street speculators in driving up prices. Jack N. Gerard, chief executive officer of the American Petroleum Institute, told a House energy panel that the U.S. has a significant amount of resources that are not being tapped to their full potential.

The AP reported that Gerard noted President Barack Obama, who called for an “all-of-the-above” energy approach, has threatened the oil and gas industry with billions of dollars in tax increases.

“Mr. Chairman, this is sending the wrong message to the global markets. This needs to change,” Gerard told the panel.

The New York Times reported that the current average price for regular-grade gasoline is $3.74 in the U.S., and recent forecasts have outlined how this could rise to $4.50 in places like California. Some analysts have speculated that the price may hit $5 a gallon.

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  • s c

    The only trail to follow in this matter is the yellow brick road that leads straight to the White House. There is NO WAY the American people will get in line to buy new or used Volts.
    I’m sure our great ‘leaders’ in Washington will do the right thing and put pressure on Detroit so everyone in Congress and the White House will be driving either a new or a used Volt. I can’t wait to see tricked-out Volts taking our world-class leaders to and from Washington. Imagine the colors and the many options.
    It should be a law. If the Volt is good enough for the American people, then let’s demand that every elected ‘leader’ in Washington not be allowed to drive anything BUY a Volt. Now THAT’s social justice!

    • Rocky Night

      Do we get a complimentary fire extinguisher with every new “Volt” purchase?

      Read about the pesky little fire problem they are having with the “Volt”.

      • Sirian

        The Volt is a joke and everyone knows it Rocky. Well, everyone that has a lick of sense about them. Whatever happened to GM’s EV-1’s? Those were well liked by the people that had them almost thirty years ago and all of a sudden they got repo’d and destroyed. Hmmm, wonder why????

      • Dale on the left coast

        EV1′s cost way north of $100,000 per copy to build back in the day . . . they were only leased because no one would buy them . . . they were an experiment . . . certainly not viable in a world of $1.50 a gallon gasoline. A company in Calif attempted to build a network of charging stations . . . they went broke!!!
        Today . . . an electric car runs on COAL . . . almost 70% of US electricity is generated by coal fired plants . . . glorified golf carts . . . if they work for you, buy one!!!

      • Tom Oram

        I checkeg this out. Us is exoprting mo r ga out then what gets from foreign oil in.The feds say we need more foreign oil. Not so we have more than we use . we need to stop exporting out of Country. TEO

    • Doc Sarvis

      I have not seen many Volts yet but do see more and more hybrids from various makers.

      • DavidL

        Hey Doc,
        I look forward to buying an electric car in the future. The Volt is a good start, but it has to get better. They will, or China, Japan, and other nations are going to eat our lunch as they did in the 70′s and 80′s.

        By the way, Conservatives, this administration is drilling more domestic oil than in the last ten years. Prices are still going up? Do you have a plan B?

      • Dale on the left coast

        DavidL . . . this administration is drilling nowhere . . . the private sector is drilling on private land in North Dakota . . . Bammy closed down the Gulf and all the public lands that Bush opened in 08 . . . the reason there is a surplus of oil and gas in the US today . . . is because impoverished folks don’t drive a lot . . . with almost 50 million on food stamps, unemployment in to 15% range and much higher among the under 25 crowd . . . this all results in Less Demand . . .

      • Vigilant

        DavidL, put your brain in operation before you engage your mouth.

        You say, “By the way, Conservatives, this administration is drilling more domestic oil than in the last ten years. Prices are still going up? Do you have a plan B?”

        (1) Administrations don’t drill for oil, corporations do.

        (2) Oil production is up on private and leased lands. It has decreased thanks to Obama and his cronies on lands owned by the Federal governemt, and due to the restrictions put on deep water drilling in the Gulf, as well as boneheaded attempts to block the XL pipeline. The PRIVATE sector has made up for the reductions caused by government interference.

        (3) We have limited control over world instabilities, and in the areas where we might make a difference in the world’s oil supply, we have acted contrarily and helped foment, not quell, trouble.

        (4) Devaluation of the dollar through fiscally and financially irresponsible Federal Reserve policies has caused the per bbl price to increase beyond reason.

        (5) Wipe out all Federal Excise, state and local taxes on a gallon of gasoline and you save 30-50 cents a gallon IMMEDIATELY.

        (6) If, as you say, production increases don’t contribute to bring the prices down, then why is the administration floating the possibility of tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserves?

        A little logic goes a long way. Try it.

      • Joe H

        Davidl
        do I have a planB? YES, continue to drill and vote Odumberer out of office!!! His words while running were ” ENERGY PRICES WILL NECESSARILLY RISE”! now that tells me everything is going to HIS PLAN!!! Gas prices up, electricity prices up, natural gas is the onlt mostly stable one out there, at this time!!!

      • Joe H

        Oh, and that quote was preceeded by the words “UNDER MY PLAN”!!!! NOW he says he has no control??? BS!!!

      • texastwin827

        DavidL is correct…HOWEVER, shutting down the offshore rigs had made it necessary for onshore rigs to be re-opened or new wells dug…which is expensive, to say the least. At a time when this country needs to produce more, it’s capabilities have been curtailed by this administration.

        http://www.indexmundi.com/energy.aspx?country=us&product=oil&graph=production
        year production change

        1984 8,879.00 2.20 %

        1992 7,171.12 -3.31 % Bill Clinton
        1993 6,846.67 -4.52 %
        1994 6,661.58 -2.70 %
        1995 6,559.64 -1.53 %
        1996 6,464.52 -1.45 %
        1997 6,451.59 -0.20 %
        1998 6,251.83 -3.10 %
        1999 5,881.46 -5.92 %
        2000 5,821.60 -1.02 % GW Bush
        2001 5,801.40 -0.35 %
        2002 5,745.55 -0.96 %
        2003 5,680.70 -1.13 %
        2004 5,418.85 -4.61 %
        2005 5,178.38 -4.44 %
        2006 5,102.08 -1.47 %
        2007 5,064.25 -0.74 %
        2008 4,950.32 -2.25 % Obama
        2009 5,360.54 8.29 %
        2010 5,511.93 2.82 %

        DavidL…you lose credibility when you don’t present BOTH sides…While we are drilling a little more, now, the US consumption has also DECREASED (info only available to 2009).

        http://www.indexmundi.com/energy.aspx?country=us&product=oil&graph=consumption

        1984 15,732.65 3.29 %

        1992 17,109.51 2.57 % Bill Clinton
        1993 17,257.59 0.87 %
        1994 17,799.83 3.14 %
        1995 17,783.79 -0.09 %
        1996 18,476.15 3.89 %
        1997 18,774.07 1.61 %
        1998 18,946.01 0.92 %
        1999 19,603.83 3.47 %
        2000 19,717.92 0.58 % GW Bush
        2001 19,772.60 0.28 %
        2002 19,834.31 0.31 %
        2003 20,144.82 1.57 %
        2004 20,833.01 3.42 %
        2005 20,924.36 0.44 %
        2006 20,803.93 -0.58 %
        2007 20,818.37 0.07 %
        2008 19,563.33 -6.03 % Obama
        2009 18,810.01 -3.85 %

        Please note that in 1984, we were drilling MORE and consuming LESS than we are, currently…and the price of gas was much cheaper. That said, as a Texan, I can assure you that speculators are also very much the reason for the huge increases. IF you are really interested in what is causing these high prices, look no further than the “Enron Loophole”. Little history here…Sen Phil Gramm who authored this lovely piece of legislation benefited from it…his wife was an executive with Enron.

        That said, Obama’s take on it when he was running for the Presidency:

        The Enron Loophole, Phil Gramm, and McCain’s Bankrupt Economic Policy
        http://mydd.com/users/animated/posts/the-enron-loophole-phil-gramm-and-mccains-bankrupt-economic-policy
        by animated, Sun Jun 22, 2008 at 10:20:03 AM EDT

        The Obama campaign indicated today it will push an issue that was the subject of a Countdown report last week, the so-called “Enron Loophole” and it’s ties to top McCain adviser, Phil Gramm. According to The Politico, the Obama campaign accused McCain campaign co-chair and economic adviser Phil Gramm of pushing the deregulations that have allowed speculators to game the system and drive up the price of oil.

        Now ask yourself…WHAT has Obama done about it, in his 3 yrs in office? NOTHING and he likely never intended to.

      • Howard R. Lowe

        Someday an electric car, someday solar energy, someday wind power, some day algae for gasoline & diesel. SOMEDAY! Until then it will remain fossil fuels (crude oil, natural gas and coal) and nuclear. This unless the self-annoited genius in the White House uses his magic wand.
        REALITY – All of the alternate energy forms are still in their infancy and very costly, and often do not work ver efficiently. Many years of reserch and development will be required before some of them will replace fossil fuel.
        I am a retired petroleum engineer/geologist with 60 years of domestic and international experience in the oil industry. Ideologues will pay no attention to the REAL FACTS – I wish it were not so.
        I invite you to view my blog – http://energycrisis.blogspot.com

    • simian pete

      s c,

      I think oil and gas have a bleak future…..

      I heard that the new energy source is going to be superconducting, superfluidic, fuel cells based on a mercury alloy.

      The technology was developed by the Germans during WW2 – but to late to be used in the war ….

  • Thomas

    The price of gas isn’t going up. The value of the dollar is dropping thanks to Helicopter Ben.

    • Sirian

      Very good point Thomas. That is one of the major influences on market pricing of oil world wide.

    • James

      Thomas, That’s quite true, but it’s also true that supply and demand play a part. Oil companies conspire to keep supply constant while demand goes up, on occassion. This causes retailers to bid the price up for more supplies.

      • JerryWheelerWroteThis..

        Not to mention that the majority of American oil is being exported.. How else do you think they can declare “record profits’..? By selling the oil for higher profits to other Countries like Britain (were fuel is sold per liter) then re-purchase their excess and sell it to the highest bidder in America (be they them or their competitors) so that it has to be raised even higher to…. Make More Record Profits!! Also along that dark alleyway, they control it for political purposes. Call me a fool but with just a little investigation you should come to the same conclusion. As for supply and demand, with pathetic pencil necks controlling the flow, of course it would resemble supply and demand.. Blame you g’ment for this as they were the idiots who told you that two, even three cars in the family is better than one thereby doubling and even tripling oil consumption.

      • texastwin827

        Jerry…way off base here. You apparently don’t know much about the oil industry.

        FIRST…what caused the increase exports has a two pronged reason:

        1) Demand is down so the refineries have an EXCESS, which is what they export (so no we don’t export more than we use in the US). US refineries are currently operating at less than 85% capacity and still have excess petroleum products because our consumption is down!

        2) Part of what caused the exports to be higher than normal was the export of distillate fuels (which includes diesel fuel and heating oil)

        As for the “excess profits”, brush up on what Brent and WTI (West Tex Int) prices are. WTI is currently about $15 a barrel LESS than Brent. Oil companies buy WTI, refine it and then sell it at the same price they would if they had paid Brent prices!

        If you are truly wanting to know what causes the high prices…it’s the oil speculation and we have Phil Gramm to thank for that (because his wife was an executive with Enron, when he pushed it through).

        On that note, ask yourself why Obama has not done what he said he would do about the “Enron Loophole” when he had a Congress that was a Democratic majority and could have pushed for it’s repeal. It was, after all, one of his big campaign promises. Since Congress (& the President) are NOT exempt from the insider trader’s laws, like the rest of us are, care to bet that they all are oil speculators?

    • Centurion

      Thomas is correct. When oil is indexed to the price of gold, you find out that the ratio has not changed significantly in more than 30 years. Increases in the money supply have caused inflation that is reflected in the cost of oil and petroleum products when priced in inflated dollars.

      That said, we do have the ability to drive the cost of oil and therefore gasoline down through exploration and production of the largest oil deposits on the planet, right here in the US. The government has systematically blocked this option by buying rights to add to the strategic reserve and preventing exploration and production on private and federal land and waters through supposed environmental regulations.

      They have to make the price of gas go up to make “alternative” (read very expensive and unreliable) energy sources viable. The only problem with Solyndra was that the the price of oil hasn’t hit $300/bbl…..yet. Once the traditional (called “black”) energy sources are too expensive to compete with the “green” alternatives, they hope to see all of us beg for “cleaner” energy. The green stuff is too expensive, so they need to find ways to make the black stuff cost even more.

      Speculators have very little to do with the price of gas. Spot trading of oil futures is as likely to lose as make money. Subsidies of unproven energy production techniques (solar, wind, tidal, etc.), all of which have their own unintended consequences, distorts the market by injecting tax money where the market sees no value or future.

      Individual subsidies for users of these methods further distort the market by charging all “traditional” buyers more to redistribute their funds to those that “invest” in the new technology. In many places this is done by the power companies who charge everyone more per kilowatt hour so that they can pay the solar or windmill user 9 times the retail price for energy produced. Stop the windmills, stop the artificial price increases to subsidize them and everyone gets cheaper electricity. Most of these arrangements are the result of government mandates, not the preferences of the power companies who must appear to adhere to the extremist green agenda to avoid even more regulation.

      This whole thing is concocted to interfere with the market, pick winners and losers, reward the government corporatocracy and steal more of your money and liberty. Welcome to fascism!

  • jopa

    America today is not even using the gas it is refining, it is being sent overseas.Several refineries are on temporary shutdown due to low demand for fuel.Oil drilling within the US is up 350% since Bush was in office so it is time to look at Wall Street as to why prices are high.If it were the Presidents fault, Bill O’Reilly would tell you that but there are several news stories out from past Fox news clips even stating that the President has no control over gas prices from when Bush was in office.

    • Warrior

      US oil production down 14% since 2010 on federal lands. Natural gas production is down 11% from 2010 on federal lands. See any pattern here? These figures come right from the feds themselves.

      • GRusling

        The drop in NEW production on federal lands is a result of a slowdown in permitting by the federal government, while the uptick in overall production is a result of drilling on PRIVATE land, where only a “State” permit is required. The Fed can’t really intervene, except through the EPA, which is doing its best to shutdown production and new drilling in West Texas and New Mexico.

        With new extraction procedures we can now produce more oil in the US than we can use, and we have an absolute GLUT of natural gas! We can easily convert Gasoline powered vehicles to natural gas, and U.S. Auto manufacturers will start turning out many “Flex Fuel” vehicles in the next year. Obama will be going nuts trying to stop this from happening.

        The problem with Gasoline prices is the decline of the U.S. dollar, and that won’t stop until Ben Bernanke (or his replacement) stops the printing presses.

        It’s pure and simple monetary inflation, folks, no matter what the “Fed” calls it, and it’s ongoing…

    • James

      Jopa, domestic oil production is up, but that doesn’t necessarily mean lower prices here. The oil companies can sell their oil to foreign markets where there’s more profit.

    • http://www.mototcarsfinancial.com Brad

      drilling is up on private land but down considerably on federal land

      • eddie47d

        Overall the figure for domestic production is up from 4.6 millions in 2008 to 5.6 million barrels in 2011. One million barrels is a substantial increase.

  • Doc Sarvis

    Our demand for oil is actually beginning to shrink. That is what the oil companies fear. They already have leases to drill that they are not using while making record profits. The oil industry is just trying to drum up our fears – again.

    • GRusling

      Demand in the U.S. is shrinking because prices are high and our economy is bad. The Oil Companies have nothing to do with either. The “Dollar Volume” of oil profits is up because of inflation and increased global demand, but the PERCENTAGE of profit has changed very little in the past 20 years. The last time I heard it was still in the 7 – 8% range, and if you think that’s “excess profit” you never ran a business…

    • Dale on the left coast

      Doc . . . oil companies are really “fearful” . . . lol
      Today . . . there are over 60 drill ships under construction in the world . . . they are investing Billions in new equipment to explore for oil . . . unlikely any of this will be going on in the USA because of the direction of the Feds. Billions invested in Solar Panels and Windmills . . . that don’t friggin work.
      China and India will more than make up for any shortfall in US sales . . . they are selling new cars at many times the rates of sales in the US.
      The present administration has flushed the US economy and the US dollar . . . welcome to the land of massive debt and soon out of control inflation!!!

    • Vigilant

      “The oil industry is just trying to drum up our fears – again.”

      Another ill-considered and asinine statement from Sarvis.

      The governments at federal, state and local level together make 3-5 times as much on a gallon of gasoline than do the oil companies – but you’re worried about the oil industry drumming up — fears?”

  • http://personallibertydigest gottaplenty

    Get the Govt. out of every ones life and it will ballance out. Supply and demand.

    • Kinetic1

      gottaplenty,
      What don’t you get about the oil industry? With OPEC setting prices it makes little difference what the levels of supply and demand are here in America. The only demand that counts is the world’s demand, where countries like China and India are providing an outlet for our oil and driving the international prices up. All this BS about the need to drill in ANWR or to run the XL pipeline to keep prices and imports down is proven false by reports like this:

      ““Our options were to reduce production, lay off workers, close refineries or find markets for our products,” said Tupper Hull, a vice president at the Western States Petroleum Association, an industry trade group. “We found new markets.”

      In December 2011, West Coast refineries exported an average of 33,000 barrels a day of motor gasoline, according to data provided by the United States Energy Information Administration, up from just 4,000 barrels a day in 2007, before the recession began.”

      Source: The Bay Citizen (http://s.tt/16QG6)

      Clearly this nation’s oil industry is more concerned about their bottom line then our nation’s economy. Government regulation isn’t driving up the price of oil by limiting supply, the industry has it all under control, making it clear that more drilling will have NO effect on our need to import oil.

      • Carolyn Cummings

        Very well stated! I would like to make an observation I noticed in all the post here. I believe we as taxpayers need to demand that the special subsidies to the oil companies that are bragging about their record profits be stopped. And knowing how they think they will hold us hostage with even higher gas prices, which just makes me sick. Again very well stated!

      • Dale on the left coast

        Are you suggesting that the refineries should shut down . . . rather than refine and export product? You are in favor of more unemployment?
        Because of the ongoing disaster called the USA . . . demand is lower. Oil is a commodity . . . the futures market is betting that prices will go higher . . . only the prospect of more supply down the road will change the direction. Of course the Feds are doing everything in their power to block oil production and the XL pipeline.

      • Vigilant

        Kinetic1, I’m a bit surprised that you would say, “Clearly this nation’s oil industry is more concerned about their bottom line then [sic] our nation’s economy.”

        Taxation on a gallon of gasoline amounts to 30-50 cents per gallon The oil companies make a fraction of that. If the Feds were really interested in the economy vis-a-vis gas prices, they’d do everything to spur oil production, which would increase world oil supplies, which would increase domestic demand by bringing the price down in America.

        Increased demand for gasoline in America means more revenues to the government via excise taxes (18.4 cents per gallon). It is clear that Obama has no interest in bringing down the price of gasoline, and stated as such through his Energy Secretary until the political pressure was ramped up.

        Lastly, the oil companies were not incorporated as nonprofit organizations. You bet they’re interested in their bottom line, as they should be. They’re not paid to wring their hands over the economy.

      • Kinetic1

        Dale and Vigilant,
        First, I have no desire to see our plants close down. The point here is that, despite claims to the contrary we are producing and refining plenty of oil here in the U.S. Day after day I hear claims that we need to drill more to reduce our nation’s dependancy on foreign oil, but few mention that the very people who would drill and refine our nation’s oil are more likely to ship it overseas where they can make a higher profit than to keep it here and reduce our imports.

        Second, there was a time when an American corporation was expected to place value in their nation as well as their bottom line. These companies depend on our nation’s resources, it’s people and infrastructure, yet they turn a blind eye to our nation’s condition as they avoid paying Billions in taxes each year. At some point the idea of placing profit above national interest must change.

        Third, if we want to bring down the price of crude, stop the speculators from driving it up. It’s one thing to allow those who supply and consume oil to purchase futures or short sell, but those who are in it just for profit need to get out. If you can’t take possession of the product you have no business trading.

        Finally, V, let me thank you for catching my error. Clearly it should have read “than”.

  • eddie47d

    Domestic production is up for oil and natural gas. Natural gas is plentiful in Colorado and New York/Pennsylvania. West Texas has new oil wells pumping and also in the Gulf region. Shell could soon be drilling on the North Shore for the permits were approved(which I oppose). The Bakken oil fields are still begging for workers in North Dakota and production is going gang busters. There is now a glut of crude oil in the US and not all refineries are working to capacity. I think the oil companies may be pulling a “housing market” scenario(overbuilding) where they want more when they can’t even handle what they have. Could it be about quick profits while the market is hot?

    • Vigilant

      Wake up, eddie.

      First, what does the plentitude of natural gas signify when the states are throwing every roadblock in the way of development?

      If there’s such a glut of domestic oil, then why is Obama considering tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserves, ostensibly to bring the price down? Not that he has any business tapping a source that should never be used just to keep the price down anyways?

      • eddie47d

        Your old enough to have heard that numerous times from various Presidents Vigilant. The top amount of storage was 726.9 million barrels and now has 695.6 million barrels. No it shouldn’t be used to control prices. Now are you telling me the states don’t have rights and can’t put up “roadblocks”? There are many factors involved in that and the oil companies can’t get all the candy in the store.

    • Vigilant

      Eddie says, “Now are you telling me the states don’t have rights and can’t put up “roadblocks”?

      To answer your question, I said no such thing, and what does that have to do with the price of tea? You’ve had problems with reading comprehension before, so let me walk you through this.

      Your statement was “Domestic production is up for oil and natural gas. Natural gas is plentiful in Colorado and New York/Pennsylvania.” That comment was made as a simple statement that there are no shortages of energy sources in America, pure and simple.

      My response went directly to that statement, by challenging your implication that the mere availability of resources below the surface of the earth (“Natural gas is plentiful…”) means that it is actually being tapped.

      That is not so, and the reason for it is the all-too-typically hysterical reaction of anti-fracking environmentalists like yourself. You certainly can not build up surpluses of natural gas in my state of New York when the anti-frackers are preventing it from even being drilled.

      Lastly, you and so many here don’t seem to have much proficiency in logic when it comes to the possible tapping of the Strategic Petroleum reserves. If Obama now claims he has but little if any control over oil prices (a lie), then how could he logically justify stealing from the reserves to affect prices? It’s a logical inconsistency, using your own (and Obama’s) assertions, as follows:

      (1) The price of oil is only minimally affected by the supply (availability) of that commodity

      (2) The president has little to no control over that price

      (3) “There is now a glut of crude oil in the US” (your words)

      (4) The president is considering the possibility of making more oil available through releasing oil reserves in order to lower the price of oil

      Now, if you can’t see that number 4 doesn’t logically follow from premises 1 – 3, then you and Obama have failed powers of logic.

  • MT

    Folks, gas and oil must go away eventually, we all know that. The cost of alternative at this time is much too high, more greed there. Since the change is inevitable, why not regulate gas prices now? it makes way more sense regulating gas than healthcare doesn’t it? called it socialism whatever, it’s going to fade away from basic trans at least (not air) so who cares? cap it in US at 3 bucks if anyone goes above this they go to jail. If they can’t make money at 3 bucks a gallon, go out of business, who cares since oil/gas has to go away anyway.forget the drill.drill. drill, regulate, regulate, regulate, if it is time for a national healthcare, then it has to be time for national gas care, the latter makes more sense

    • Vigilant

      MT, please consider what you’re saying.

      There is no such thing as a free lunch. Capping the price at the pump is not only an anti-Capitalist measure to begin with, it would not accomplish what you foresee.

      In the absence of increased government subsidies to the oil companies, those companies would go out of business, plain and simple. You’d be killing the goose that lays the golden egg because these companies need to make a profit.

      We depend on imported oil over domestic by about two to one. Two thirds of the refiners, distributors and gas stations could not afford to sell gasoline if they had to pay world market prices but were forced to sell at a loss.

      Only subsidies could keep the price in line, and since that comes out of taxpayer’s dollars, your taxes would have to increase to cover it. No savings at all.

      Nixon tried and miserably failed when he imposed wage and price controls.

      As I said before, the governments at all levels make 3 to 5 times as much as the oil companies on a gallon of gasoline. Eradicating those taxes would make the price drop 30-50 cents per gallon immediately. I’m not holding my breath waiting for government to ever do that.

  • http://none Claire

    Gas is now $3.99 per gallon here in town.

  • Marlene

    Was I seeing things? It seems it was just last week that Chevy announced it stopping production of the Volt and now, we’re inundated with Volt commercials. Do we still have the Edsel, which better than the Volt, wannabe or not?

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