Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Figuratively speaking . . .

With your indulgence I stray today from "all things airplane" and turn instead to travel related news by the numbers. The numbers I refer to here are numbers of dollars that blow my mind.

1. Oil this morning is at $129/barrel on its way to $130. $4.00/gallon cannot be far away. Look for airline fuel surcharges to leap again. Look for all charges to leap again. Look for your car to leap into the garage and stay there.

2. The National Petroleum Council announced a $100 million public relations campaign. No doubt Exxon and other member companies with $10 billion-plus quarterly profits need to buff their image a tad, but one can't help but wonder what better use that $100 mil could be put to.

3. It was announced yesterday that the Pennsylvania Turnpike was sold for $12.8 billion to a consortium led by Citigroup. Having beat out a rival group headed by Goldman Sachs, Citigroup et al will lead the largest ever privatization of a toll road in the U.S. Wonder what will happen to tolls now that the road is owned by a for-profit entity? Having ruined the economy with ill-fated mortgage investments, you knew wall street would find greener pa$ture$.

There are countries and companies and investors reaping vast profits from all this. One has to wonder what might happen if we lowly consumers run out of money to buy their products, run our cars and take vacations?

Go figure.


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