Gasoline Prices

Media Goes Silent as Gas Prices Fall After Obama Crack Down On Oil Speculation

But how could that be?  They say that the media is in the tank for Obama. (Snark)

PoliticusUSA

The media and the Republicans were happy to blame President Obama for the high price of gasoline in March, but they are giving Obama none of the credit for the drop in gas prices today.

It seems like only yesterday that the GOP and their corporate media lackeys were telling us that gas prices would ruin Obama, but they have gone silent as gas prices have fallen since Obama announced his administration’s crackdown on oil speculation.

As recently as last month, Mitt Romney was still blaming President Obama for the price of gas, “He gets full credit or blame for what’s happened to this economy and what’s happened to gasoline prices under his watch and what’s happened to our schools and what’s happened to our military forces — all these things are his responsibility while he’s president.”

Speaker of the House John Boehner went as far as to claim that gas prices could cost Obama the election, “But if the economy doesn’t get better, I don’t think he’ll win. If people don’t feel better about government-run health care, I don’t think he’ll win. And if gas prices are $5 or $6, he certainly isn’t going to win.”

The media was happy to give the Republicans a free forum and plenty of airtime to use to blame Obama for gas prices, but on April 17 Obama called for a crackdown on oil speculation, “We can’t afford a situation where speculators artificially manipulate markets by buying up oil, creating the perception of a shortage, and driving prices higher, only to flip the oil for a quick profit. We can’t afford the situation where some speculators can reap millions (of dollars in profits), while millions of American families get the short end of the stick. That’s not the way the market should work.”

Since Obama announced his crackdown on oil speculation, gas prices have fallen twelve cents a gallon. The media response to this news has been total silence. (I guess if Republicans don’t have anything to say then there is nothing for the corporate media to report).

There are a couple of other factors at play that have also driven the price of gas down. Speculators had been running wild in February and March. They were betting that war with Iran was on horizon. When Israel or the international community did not take any military action against Iran, prices decreased. The other shoe to drop was that savvy U.S. drivers quickly decreased their consumption. When prices got too high, people started driving less. People have more fuel efficient vehicles that need less fuel. The hybrid has replaced the gas guzzling SUV as America’s car of choice. Better technology has made it easier for consumers to fight back against price gouging and speculation.

It is impossible to say whether President Obama’s announcement of a crackdown on speculators lowered gas prices on its own, or whether it was the president’s announcement and a combination of other factors, but if Obama was to blame for price increase, using the same logic, he also deserves credit for the price decrease.

Republicans try to blame President Obama for everything every day, but the media happily and unquestioningly acts a megaphone for the right’s talking points. The media amplified Republican blame of Obama for gas prices, but they have never given Obama credit since gas prices have fallen.

The media’s ability to skip the good along with their enthusiasm for reporting the bad when it comes to this president is one of the reasons why conservative media bias is so obvious to many Americans. There is a reason why Pew has consistently found that President Obama gets the most negative media coverage of any 2012 candidate.

Time and time again during the Obama presidency, we have seen the media behave in ways that debunk the liberal bias myth. Conservatives continue to tout their liberal bias cover story, all the while keeping the American people in the dark about who controls their media, and whose bias they really represent.

Blame Oil Speculators, Not Obama, For Rising Oil Prices

Explaining why gas prices spiked in the last week or so is not easy.

Most people simply tune out from the technical and Wall Street explanations for the sudden rise in gasoline pricing.  They’d rather believe the GOP lie that President Obama is responsible for price spike.

The following piece from Think Progress puts it all into perspective…

Think Progress

As the improving economy has robbed conservatives of their chief talking point against President Obama, they’ve turned to rising gas prices as the next problem to pin on the president.

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) “instructed fellow Republicans to embrace the gas-pump anger,” while Rick Santorum conspiratorially claimed Obama is intentionally pushing up prices to cut carbon emissions. Not to be outdone, Newt Gingrich released a 30-minute video today about how “the Obama administration is so anti‑oil” that they’ve forced the price of gas to go up.

But there’s little truth to claims that Obama has curbed U.S. oil production and driven up gas prices in the process. As NPR noted this morning, the number of drilling rigs in U.S. oil fields has quadrupled under Obama and domestic oil production hit an 8-year high in 2011. For the first time in 60 years, the U.S. is now a net fuel exporter.

Oil demand was actually down 4.6 percent last week over last year, while the supply of gasoline has actually increased slightly since a year ago. So why are gas prices so high? As McClatchy’s Kevin Hall explains today, there is a systemic problem: speculation.

Energy futures markets serve a legitimate role in helping producers (like oil companies) and big end users (like airlines) hedge against price volatility, but lately, they’ve been taken over by Wall Street speculators who never intend to actually use the fuel they’re betting on.

As Hall reports:

Historically, financial speculators accounted for about 30 percent of oil trading in commodity markets, while producers and end users made up about 70 percent. Today it’s almost the reverse.

A McClatchy review of the latest Commitment of Traders report from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates oil trading, shows that producers and merchants made up just 36 percent of all contracts traded in the week ending Feb. 14 while speculators who will never take delivery of the oil made up 64 percent.

Many experts, lawmakers (Democratic and Republican), and government regulators have expressed similar warnings.

Finally, after many delays, the government board responsible for regulating commodity futures markets finalized a rule in October to limit speculation, a power it was given by the Dodd-Frank Wall street reform law. However, the rule won’t go into effect until next October, as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) needs to collect “one year of interest data” first. The financial industry is fighting the new rule, but just today, the CFTC took action against a company in different market, providing an example of how the energy regulation can effectively work.

Did You Know…?

All topics come from The Huffington Post:

Facebook Credits Program Pays You To Watch Video Ads

Facebook introduced a new program on Thursday that attempts to incentivize users to watch ads… by paying them in Facebook Credits, the company’s virtual currency. Just last month, Facebook finally announced Credits could be cashed in on its Groupon competitor, Facebook Deals.     More…

 

Facebook Deals Tips: 11 Things You Need To Know

The daily and social deals space is getting hotter everyday — Google launched Offers just last week — and Facebook showed up early this morning with a serious offering that could shift the tech world’s intense focus away from industry darling Groupon.

Facebook Deals is noticeably different from competitors like Gilt, Groupon and LivingSocial, so click on to see what sets it apart, how to find deals, adjust your notifications, and why the News Feed is so important.   See slide show of FaceBook Deals here…

 

Google Business Photos Brings Street View Inside

TechCrunch reports that Marissa Mayer, Google VP of Location and Local Services, told a crowd at the Social Loco social networking conference that Google Business Photos will soon be bringing Street View indoors. With the new service, users will be able to explore restaurants, stores and other businesses in a panorama interface that’s very similar to Google’s Street View. While sites like Yelp let businesses and users upload photos, Google Business Photos is relying on its own photographers to populate the pages, and Google requires businesses to opt in before letting photographers visit businesses. Think of the photographers like flesh and blood Googlemobiles.     More here…

 

Marijuana Crop Found Near Osama Bin Laden’s Pakistan Compound

Details are continuing to emerge regarding Osama bin Laden’s top-secret Abbottabad compound, but the discovery of some high-strength marijuana plants just yards from the home has set the blogosphere aflame with speculation.

Said to be worth $1 million (though that estimate is now hotly debated), the home of the world’s most feared terrorist has attracted crowds of Pakistanis and media to its now sealed-off gates. But a stroll around the 20-foot-tall, barbed wire-ringed walls led CNN’s Nic Robertson to the cannibis crop, barely hidden alongside a garden of cabbages and potatoes.   More here…

 

Oil Prices Plunge In Record Sell-Off

Oil prices took a nosedive Thursday in a historic selloff, erasing weeks of gains and indicating that the months-long climb in energy prices may have hit a ceiling.

Crude oil plunged 10 percent as startled investors unloaded their positions and a weeklong decline accelerated into an outright freefall. The price of U.S. crude went from triple digits to double digits, falling below $100 after opening at close to $110. Brent crude, a European benchmark, lost $12 at one point in a sell-off that exceeded the one following Lehman Brothers’ collapse, Reuters reported.        More…

Wall Street Behind High Food-Oil Prices Causing Global Instability

Rachel Maddow and Dylan Rattigan are the ONLY two people on network or cable TV that tells its audience the truth about the current gas and food price hike.  Speculation on Wall Street  is what drives gas and food prices to all time highs.

It’s convenient to blame the President for these hikes but in reality, it’s Wall Street…

Times News Net

AAA exec blames Wall Street speculation for high gas prices

Frustrated at the gasoline pump? Don’t blame the troubles in Libya or supply and demand. AAA East Tennessee says blame Wall Street traders.

Don Lindsey, AAA East Tennessee public affairs specialist, said the speculative nature of stock traders and the price of crude oil exceeding $110 per barrel are the main reasons the nation is flirting with $4 per gallon gas at the pump.   Continue reading…

Watch this Dylan Rattigan video for more…

Fmr. Shell president ‘predicting’ $5-a-gallon gas in 2012

In my opinion, this story seems to be a “planned leak” from the oil industry to prepare the average American for more of the same greed we’ve seen from the oil industry for years.

Raw Story

The former president of Shell Oil said he believes Americans could be paying $5 for a gallon a gas by 2012.

“I’m predicting actually the worst outcome over the next two years which takes us to 2012 with higher gasoline prices,” John Hofmeister said in a recent interview with Platts Energy Week television.

Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst with Oil Price Information Service, agreed that Americans would see $5 a gallon gas but told CNN that he did not believe it would happen in 2012. “That wolf is out there and it’s going to be at the door…I agree with him that we’ll see those numbers at some point this decade but not yet.”

“The demand is still sluggish enough in some of the mature economies,” he said.

Hofmeister also predicted that demand would outstrip supply before the end of the decade.

“When supplies run low and the demand is still high, many areas will start to run out, with gas stations having no supplies,” World News Insight observed. “Ultimately rationing could then come into force. We could be looking at a return to the 1970’s.”

Average gas prices rose higher than $3 last week for the first time since October 2008.

Consumers were paying 17 percent more than a year ago and seven percent more than just last month, according to AAA.

Hawaii has the highest average price in the nation at $3.636. California is next highest at $3.275.

For the first time since October 2008, the price of a barrel of crude closed above $90 Wednesday.