GREED is really the engine of capitalism, global and local, as the current worldwide de facto oil crisis shows, in which prices soared from $70 per barrel at the beginning of the year to last week’s $120. Everyone I know is shocked over the soaring, for instance, of the regular gasoline’s price from P50 per liter in recent memory to P85 last week.
What few people know is that while the country groans under the weight of fuel costs, the industry continues to making a killing. Its “industry take” – mostly net profits — account for 15 percent of diesel prices, 19 percent of gasoline, 22 percent of kerosene, and a scandalous 41 percent of LPG, the poor’s fuel, according to a study of the Department of Energy. This is way above the 2.5 percent industry take in the US oil industry. (Taxes on the other hand (excise and the value-added taxes) account for 23 percent of gasoline prices, 15 percent for diesel, 17 percent for kerosene, and 14 percent for LPG.) \
No wonder that the newest players in the petroleum-distribution business, such as Phoenix Petroleum owned by the Davao-based Dennis Uy have become unbelievably rich in just a few years. Ramon Ang’s Petron Corp., with the biggest market share of 26 percent has generated profits way beyond the tycoon’s expectations. Dutch-owned Pilipinas Shell and Chevron Philippines (combined market share: 26 percent) has been remitting hundreds of millions of dollars yearly to their headquarters. (more…)