Gasoline and Oil Prices
As of Monday, November 14, 2011, the nationwide average gasoline price was $3.436 per gallon (including all taxes) for regular grade. That price is UP by 54.4 cents from a year ago. It is cheapest on the Gulf Coast ($3.231) and most expensive on the West Coast ($3.759).
In the “so what?” department, gasoline prices in the United States are actually lower than in many countries. Drivers in some European cities, like Amsterdam and Oslo, are paying nearly 3 times more than those in the U.S. The main factor in price disparities between countries is government policy. Many European nations tax gasoline heavily, with taxes making up as much as 75 percent of the cost of a gallon of gasoline.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has, in a recent report, said that oil supplies would become “critically tight” in 2012. Analysts predict that oil prices could go higher as production capacity and inventories are “effectively exhausted.” In the past four years we have seen China entering transactions all over the world to secure oil resources to fuel their economy over the coming years, increasing demand. The price of oil, on Friday, November 18, 2011, for benchmark crude, fell $1.41 to finish at $97.41 per barrel. But, as can be seen here, the price of a barrel of crude oil is trending upward after a sharp decline in 2008. And the price of oil definitely has an effect on gasoline prices.
So what has Obama done lately to relieve or increase oil production capacity? Well, on the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline he “passed the buck” and made no decision. The Obama administration opened on Tuesday, November 8, 2011, more of the U.S. coast to offshore drilling, opening six offshore areas with active oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico and off the coast of Alaska. The entire West and East Coasts of the continental USA remain off limits, as does the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). “Since President Obama took office, he has systematically taken steps to reimpose an offshore drilling moratorium, and today he is one step closer to making that a reality for the next five years,” said House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-WA). “Oil and natural gas production on federal lands continues to decline under this administration, and the new Offshore Oil & Gas Program does not provide much hope that this destructive trend will be reversed anytime soon,” said Karen Harbert of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
So where does the MSM come in? The MSM is doing its best to hide that fact that when Obama took office on January 20, 2009, gas was $1.84 a gallon. It topped $2 a gallon on March 26, 2009. And it continues to rise, topping $3 per gallon in December, 2010. And AAA said that prices could be as high as $4.25 to $4.50 a gallon in 2012 thanks to crude oil volatility and increased demand due to positive economic indicators.
Obama called on major oil producers, such as Saudi Arabia, to increase their oil supplies and production. Obama, on the one hand, is asking for more production from countries to whom the United States sends billions of dollars for oil every year. On the other hand, he is taking cash away from companies who use that cash to increase domestic production of oil and related jobs. The ultimate outcome of course being more reliance on foreign countries for oil and fewer jobs at home. Was his plea or actions ever noted in the MSM?
MSM “experts” several times in 2011, predicted that gasoline prices, which nearly hit $4 a gallon in 2011, would be dropping. Remember how badly the MSM lamented high gas prices during the Bush administration? In August, 2005, John Blackstone of the “CBS Evening News” said, “Across the nation, gas prices went to record highs today. Will it get to the point that only the privileged can afford gas?” Gas then was around $2.60 a gallon. Gas is almost 80 cents higher right now, yet the MSM isn’t screaming about the 1 percent being the only ones who can afford gas.
During the near-record price spike that occurred earlier this year, the MSM hardly treated higher prices like a big story. They produced just 40 percent of the gas price stories than they had during the 2008 price increase that occurred under Bush. Further, the MSM linked “skyrocketing” gas prices to Bush 15 times more than Obama.
During the Bush administration, fluctuating gas prices was a way the MSM depicted a struggling economy. Now under Obama, they largely dodge their own indicator because it would make their man in the White House look bad.