published Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Gas prices and politics

Gasoline prices are rising for several reasons, none of which have anything to do with the political war that Republicans have promised to wage over rising prices at the pump.

Hedge fund managers and financial speculators looking for a quick killing, for example, have bid up oil commodity futures 35 percent since September on the basis of several converging economic issues. One is the outlook for an improving American economy -- and hence more energy use -- complemented by new calm over the Europe's sovereign debt troubles and an interim resolution to the Greek bailout debacle.

Another price factor is Iran's chilling promise to cut off oil shipments to Great Britain and France -- a move that would tighten supplies relative to rising demand -- in response to sanctions imposed by Western powers on Teheran for its nuclear weapons program. And China, now the world's largest energy consumer, is buying up futures contracts to refuel its new growth plan.

Lastly, American refiners are getting ready to shut down their refineries to switch over to cleaner, and a bit more expensive, summer gasoline blends. With the price of crude already rising for the other reasons, oil companies and refiners traditionally tack on a higher profit when oil prices surge.

Republicans, to be sure, are not about to criticize the heavy bets waged by hedge fund managers and Wall Street speculators as the cause for higher gasoline prices. These are the very people who are now digging into their deep pockets to finance the super PACS that are propelling and shaping the conservative campaigns of the leading Republican presidential contenders.

So their tack is to blame rising gas prices on President Obama, never mind the factual figures that document his bent for more drilling and more U.S. production.

Indeed, Obama's effort to boost U.S. energy supplies, though it has disheartened staunch conservationists, has been notable. The number of oil drilling rigs at work in U.S. oil fields (land and water) has quadrupled since Obama took office, and domestic oil production has increased every single year since then. Last year's production was the highest in eight years, easily trumping the output achieved by the last Bush administration.

With that record, and with the Obama administration planning to allow even more new drilling in Alaska, it's inaccurate and grossly unfair to blame rising gasoline prices on Obama. Criticizing him for waiting for a completed environmental study of the proposed TransCanada XL pipeline is faulty, as well. Though there are good reasons to block the pipeline -- Canada's heavy tar shale crude easily corrodes pipelines, and a spill could wreck the critical Ogallala aquifer that dry-land Midwestern farmers and ranchers rely on -- its production is at least two years away, and most of it is already committed for export.

Republicans don't want to deal with these facts, of course. House Speaker John Boehner assembled his fellow Republicans last week to finalize a strategy of blaming Obama for any gasoline price hikes, and that's the story they're sticking to.

Regardless, it's as inaccurate as it is wrong in principle. Obama's best long-term energy policy is his "all in" plan -- more production, and also more alternative fuels, and more conservation. For the latter, he's already gotten Detroit to agree to doubling its average gas mileage standard by 2025, so our nation's smallish, finite supplies will last longer and someday benefit our children and their children.

Sadly, all Republicans can think of is to blame Obama for the world's equally finite, and rapidly diminishing, supplies of oil. That's not helpful from any viewpoint.

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conservative said...

The stench of the hypocrisy of Lieberals would gag a maggot!

Lieberals indoctrinated by the Lieberal mess media, crazy enviornmentalists, and leftist organizations in general have led their sheep ( sheep are dumb ) to believe that Presidents are responsible for gas prices. They constantly blamed Bush and Cheney for gas prices. Lieberal sheep ( yes, I know that is redundant ) have fixed in their minds that Presidents are responsible for the economy and gas prices.

Now this writer wants to change that perception because Obamination is president. It's hard to stop a train.

February 23, 2012 at 7:22 a.m.

So what you're saying is all the conservatives blaming Obama for high gas prices are wrong?

Or are you denying that that is happening?

February 23, 2012 at 10:22 a.m.
conservative said...

From this writer : . Obama's best long-term energy policy is his "all in" plan -- more production, and also more alternative fuels, and more conservation.

From Obamination : "Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket"

February 23, 2012 at 10:49 a.m.
nucanuck said...

If we want to place blame for rising oil prices, look no further than the Fed, the ECB, and the consumers in the developimg world who want their fair share of the energy pie.

Ramped up money supply (by central bankers) is chasing commodities/oil. Several billion people (China, India, Brazil, Indonesia, etc) are "westernizing" and using more oil. Old well decline rates are overwhelming new wells coming on-line.

So who should we really blame? Maybe we should blame ourselves for using five times our fair share of the world's oil supply.

February 23, 2012 at 11 a.m.

Blaming ourselves? But nucanuck, that'd take responsibility and acknowledgment.

You know Denial is a much more popular religion.

February 23, 2012 at 11:21 a.m.
conservative said...

Nucanuck --

Do you fault yourself for using more than your "fair" share of the "world's" oil supply?

February 23, 2012 at 11:53 a.m.
nucanuck said...

Yes I do, and I and my extended family have been working at reducing all forms of consumption, but especially energy.

Three generations all moved into one house together. We went from four vehicles to two for four adult drivers. We normaly walk or bicycle to any place within 1.5 miles. We hardly ever commute more than three miles for any daily reason. Our grandkids walk to school and back. We only heat the rooms that we sit down in and even there we dress warmly to keep the setting low. We recycle vitually everything.

We know that we will have to do more in the future and we will.

How about you?

February 23, 2012 at 12:55 p.m.
conservative said...

Well, you are still using more than your "fair" share of the "world's" oil supply.

Do you fault yourself for using more than your "fair" share of the "world's" medical care?

No, just like you, I use as much of the "world's" oil supply as I can afford. In fact, I wish I could afford to drive all over the United States and even travel to some other countries much like the Al Gores of the environmental church who hypocritically break the commandments of enviornmental conservation.

February 23, 2012 at 1:25 p.m.
nucanuck said...

We are actively reducing our usage even though we can afford more. You, on the other hand, are admittedly limited only by financial constraints. Therein lies both the problem and part of the solution. We acknowledge that we still consume too much and we work as a family to do better on a daily basis.

You, and the many like you who seem to believe that money is an entitlement to consume whether or not it is sustainable for the planet, will probably have to become impoverished before you will practice involuntary conservation. I find that a bit amusing considering the nom de plume you assume on this site.

February 23, 2012 at 2:40 p.m.

I know I'd fault myself if I got say an organ transplant and didn't do my best to deserve it. I'd also be quite willing to let somebody else have medicine over me, were it to come up.

February 23, 2012 at 2:49 p.m.
tipper said...

What I like about you conservative is that you never let the facts get in the way. But of course this is an opinion site; and we all know what is said about opinions.

February 23, 2012 at 3:13 p.m.
conservative said...

nucanuck --

Well now, where is this call to deprivation codified? Is Paul Ehrlich your high priest in the church of enviornmentalism? You obviously believe you are somehow more virtuous in your theology than myself and others. Who do you think you are scoring points with in your self righteousness. Who do you think is going to judge you and where do you think you will ultimately go when you die? I am not being facetious, I want to know what you believe.

Do you fault yourself for using more than your "fair" share of the "world's" medical care?

February 23, 2012 at 3:33 p.m.

Amusing, conservative complaining about that sanctimony of others.

February 23, 2012 at 3:54 p.m.
nucanuck said...

I believe you asked the question..."What about you?"...relative to US oil use. I responded and now you call me self-righteous for behavior that should be the norm.

Since you ask about Medical care. I have had very few medical proceedures, ever. The one serious proceedure I had resulted in me being uninsurable from age 59 to age 65 (medicare) I take no prescription drugs and have paid in more to the medical system than I have taken out. I employ preventive medicine practices. Was my usage more than my fair share of world medical care? Possibly, but again, you look the fool.

As to your question about the are almost the last person I would choose to discuss anything theological. The reasons would be clear to all readers, yourself excepted.

February 23, 2012 at 4:03 p.m.
conservative said...


Self righteousness applies to those who devise a standard and demand that others keep it as well. The Pharisees of the Bible were self rightousness. They devised a system of works believing this would get them into heaven. Scripture plainly taught that works would not make them righteous in the sight of GOD and that all of our righteousness is but a filthy rag in his sight.

You put forth a "fair" standard of oil usage and admitted you did not keep it but wanted to know what I was doing in regards to keeping your standard. I confessed that I wasn't making any effort to keep your usage of oil standard. You were then judgemental toward me about my lack of conservation, which doesn't bother me. However, I wanted to know your authority for your standard of conservation. You gave none, except " behavior that should be the norm". Self righteous people always have some "I don't smoke and I don"t chew, and I don't date girls that do" standards, which just like the Pharisees, don't keep.

"We are using more than our "fair" share of the "worlds" oil supply" is just as silly as "we are using more than our "fair" share of the "world's medical care.

BTW, you deprivation standards are not practiced by the overwhelming majority of liberals either.

February 23, 2012 at 5:40 p.m.

Conservative reminds me of the Christian cults that go with the idea of sinning being fine since obviously good is of no value as we're all flawed and imperfect.

It's a twisted version of the same thing castigated in the Biblical Pharisees. Of course, that version may not be accurate, but a distortion of their actual beliefs.

I'm sure conservative is quite comfortable with misrepresenting others in order to advance his own agenda.

February 23, 2012 at 5:44 p.m.
conservative said...


You are dead wrong. You made all of that up and you know it. You are not hurting me, I've heard it all before.

You need to grow up.

February 23, 2012 at 6:05 p.m.

The scary thing is that you will never apply such conduct to yourself.

So that's why I stand by my comments, you believe you can sin and still receive the grace of your God, accordingly, no matter how reprehensible your conduct, you're in the clear, God will forgive you.

You probably even blame your fellow man since if they weren't so persistent in their unwillingness to follow what you believe, you wouldn't have to lie about them and attack them in a repudiation of the conduct Jesus professed.

February 23, 2012 at 6:32 p.m.
conservative said...


Wrong again.Try again.

February 23, 2012 at 6:37 p.m.
nucanuck said...


What you call deprivation,we call a high quality of life.

February 23, 2012 at 6:55 p.m.

Conservcative, really, you will grow up, and repudiate your past misconduct on this site?

Please, let us see a demonstration of it.

February 23, 2012 at 7:19 p.m.
conservative said...

nucanuck --

As long as it is not immoral, your lifestyle is fine with me. It is your choice, as it should be and it doesn't take money out of my pocket in the form of taxes.

I have no ill feelings toward you at all. I do see how Lieberals have destroyed people's minds and lives and I loathe what they do. I am sure we have much more in common than you might think.

BTW, I know poor and I know deprivation. I have used an outhouse, water hand pump, and drank water from a stream when the well dried up.

February 23, 2012 at 7:34 p.m.
conservative said...

Bulb --

You might try using more adjectives.

February 23, 2012 at 7:36 p.m.

Looks like we won't see an effective demonstration of how you're decided to grow up and stop with the baseless and jejune derision of others.

Guess I got my optimistic hopes up for nothing.

But hey, have some superfluous adjectives!

February 23, 2012 at 7:44 p.m.
nucanuck said...


Who's talking about poor and deprived? My family are all prospering achievers who want to do their part as stewards for our planet. We try to live by The Law of Right Action. You notice that I said try.

February 23, 2012 at 8:14 p.m.
conservative said...

Nah, try adverbs

February 23, 2012 at 8:19 p.m.

How will that help you demonstrate your desire to genuinely improve your conduct?

February 23, 2012 at 8:24 p.m.
conservative said...

I own you!

check back here at 11:45

February 23, 2012 at 8:29 p.m.

So will you have grown up by then? Are you attending some self-help course?

February 23, 2012 at 8:34 p.m.

Here you go. An education in fiat currency and real money.

I know it is a conservatively biased site, but the math in the article has no bias. You can't beat the numbers. You have been robbed. That is why gas costs so much.

February 24, 2012 at 11:23 a.m.

You can't beat numbers? Yes, you can, you can beat them into any shape you want.

February 24, 2012 at 11:25 a.m.

So, explain how those numbers were manipulated bulbs. Tell us all where the deception exists in that simple comparison.

February 24, 2012 at 11:45 a.m.

You said that you can't beat numbers, I asserted that that in particular was false, that there can be a bias in them.

I'm less concerned with your example in particular than I am with the general concept you expressed.

If you are willing to accept that it is possible for numbers to lie, then it might be worth examining those but I will insist on explicit recognition of that point first. That really y flabbergasted me.

February 24, 2012 at 3:02 p.m.

I don't agree. Numbers can't lie. They can be misrepresented, manipulated or misinterpreted, but they don't lie even when being used to support lies.

February 24, 2012 at 3:51 p.m.

One example of this would be the unemployment numbers that don't include the unemployed that have given up looking for work. Unemployment didn't go down just because they were no longer counting those people. The numbers were manipulated by removing the count of people that gave up looking to make it look like unemployment was improving. The numbers aren't lying. The dirty politicians behind them are.

February 24, 2012 at 3:54 p.m.
nucanuck said...

Yes, the central bankers are pushing massive amounts of liquidity into the system to try to cover over bank insolvency. That liquidity undermines the value of paper currencies (the dollar) and relative prices in oil and commodities rise.

The worldwide effort to save the bankers is killing the people who must buy essential products. The price of gas isn't a partisan issue, it's a geo-political/economic issue that rests at the feet of the financial deregulation of 1998. That is what opened the Pandora's box of fancy leverage instruments that are sinking the developed world.

It's the central bankers trying to fix one problem and causing another. This can't end well.

February 24, 2012 at 4:06 p.m.

FPSE, that's like saying "words can't lie" or even "letters can't lie" which doesn't make anything more than a quibble of phrasing. If you want me to rephrase my words to "people can lie with manipulated numbers" I won't mind doing it if you feel that's clearer to you, but I won't consider that a real change. Still, I'm willing to work with you and phrase things in an acceptable way when I don't feel it changes the meaning.

But you can beat numbers, into the form and fashion you want, and you even provided an example of what you believe to be such conduct. So when you said that you can't, I felt you were in error.

February 24, 2012 at 4:16 p.m.

Maybe I should have said the numbers in the article aren't lying...

February 24, 2012 at 4:18 p.m.

Perhaps. But anyway, maybe they can reset the money supply, and we can bring beer back down to a nickel.

February 24, 2012 at 4:55 p.m.





February 24, 2012 at 5:16 p.m.
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