joemac, you lost me... each company is looking at their ROI (Return on Investment). While I have not looked into it, isn't the "BIG OIL" talking about their ROI? If it is, then alignment is precisely how they look at it in any industry.
For the record, I want the oil companies to keep prices up and getting crazy profits. If the price of petroleum drops, millions of dollars of investment in alternative energy will just go away.
And of course, the easiest thing for the politicians to do in order to lower costs to consumers is cut fuel taxes
, but no Democrat or
Republican wants to do that, because that would mean they have to cut spending.
But that said, I think ROI is a very poor way to measure the situation. If Microsoft prices their products too high, people will switch to Linux, Mac, or just use the older Microsoft stuff. If Walmart prices their things too high, people will shop at Target or Costco or some other store. If car prices increase too much, people will keep their previous cars or buy used. All of those events would be a major or minor drain on the economy.
When the price of oil goes up, currently there is no alternative. It's a very damaging drag on the entire US economy. In other words, the oil industry as a whole has become a type of monopoly. I think measuring monopolies by the same standards as other competitors is not reasonable.
(Although again, I think the best thing for the government to do is nothing. As long as prices are up on petroleum, the monopoly might be broken by the free market through alternative competition.)