AOPA Joins Effort To Fight Fuel Prices

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AOPA says that about three-quarters of its members have scaled back their flight time due to the high cost of fuel. In an effort to take action, AOPA has joined a coalition called Stop Oil Speculation Now (S.O.S. Now). The S.O.S. group sent e-mails to millions of airline customers over the last week, alleging that "normal market forces are being dangerously amplified by poorly regulated market speculation." AOPA President Phil Boyer acknowledged that for AOPA to join forces with the airlines makes for "strange bedfellows." However, the S.O.S. effort is drawing support from many quarters, he said, such as labor groups, bus and trucking associations, and members of Congress. "We're all frustrated with these high prices, and this is a step in the right direction to do something about it," Boyer said. "We hope that it ultimately creates a national energy policy that Congress can adopt." EAA said it will "continue to explore measures aimed at containing the cost of personal flight" but stopped short of joining the coalition.

"Speculators buy up large amounts of oil and then sell it to each other again and again," reads the S.O.S. e-mail. "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."