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10 Jul 2008 / Julie

An email from the airlines or Help Gas Prices Not Suck

I got this email this morning from the airline I’ve got an account with. Is it me or have we been saying this for years? Apparently the price has risen high enough for more people to care.

An Open Letter to All Airline Customers

Our country is facing a possible sharp economic downturn because of skyrocketing
oil and fuel prices, but by pulling together, we can all do something to help now.

Stop Oil Speculation Now

For airlines, ultra-expensive fuel means thousands of lost jobs and severe reductions in air service to both large and small communities. To the broader economy, oil prices mean slower activity and widespread economic pain. This pain can be alleviated, and that is why we are taking the extraordinary step of writing this joint letter to our customers.

Since high oil prices are partly a response to normal market forces, the nation needs to focus on increased energy supplies and conservation. However, there is another side to this story because normal market forces are being dangerously amplified by poorly regulated market speculation.

Twenty years ago, 21 percent of oil contracts were purchased by speculators who trade oil on paper with no intention of ever taking delivery. Today, oil speculators purchase 66 percent of all oil futures contracts, and that reflects just the transactions that are known.

Speculators buy up large amounts of oil and then sell it to each other again and again. A barrel of oil may trade 20-plus times before it is delivered and used; the price goes up with each trade and consumers pick up the final tab. Some market experts estimate that current prices reflect as much as $30 to $60 per barrel in unnecessary speculative costs.

Over seventy years ago, Congress established regulations to control excessive, largely unchecked market speculation and manipulation. However, over the past two decades, these regulatory limits have been weakened or removed. We believe that restoring and enforcing these limits, along with several other modest measures, will provide more disclosure, transparency and sound market oversight. Together, these reforms will help cool the over-heated oil market and permit the economy to prosper.

The nation needs to pull together to reform the oil markets and solve this growing problem.

We need your help. Get more information and contact Congress by visiting

Robert Fornaro
Chairman, President and CEO
AirTran Airways, Inc.
AirTran Logo

Bill Ayer
Chairman, President and CEO
Alaska Airlines, Inc.
Alaska Airlines

Gerard J. Arpey
Chairman, President and CEO
American Airlines, Inc.
American Airlines

Lawrence W. Kellner
Chairman and CEO
Continental Airlines, Inc.
Continental Airlines

Richard Anderson
Delta Air Lines, Inc.
Delta Air Lines

Mark B. Dunkerley
President and CEO
Hawaiian Airlines, Inc.
Hawaiian Airlines

Dave Barger
JetBlue Airways Corporation
JetBlue Airways

Timothy E. Hoeksema
Chairman, President and CEO
Midwest Airlines
Midwest Airlines

Douglas M. Steenland
President and CEO
Northwest Airlines, Inc.
Northwest Airlines

Gary Kelly
Chairman and CEO
Southwest Airlines Co.
Southwest Airlines

Glenn F. Tilton
Chairman, President and CEO
United Airlines, Inc.
United Logo

Douglas Parker
Chairman and CEO
US Airways Group, Inc.
US Airways
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