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Tag Archives: gas prices

Gas Prices Keep Inflation at Highest Level Since 2009

Soaring gasoline prices drove the consumer price index up 0.6 percent in September, matching the August gain which was the largest increase since June 2009, the Labor Department announced today.

Gas prices remain stubbornly near their September highs, posing a peril to President Obama’s reelection. Consumers are particularly sensitive to paying more to fill up the car and are constantly reminded of the hardship as they pass gasoline stations all day long.

The growth in the price of gasoline is threatening consumers’ spending power, as hourly wages adjusted for inflation fell 0.3 percent in September after dropping 0.6 percent in August, Bloomberg reported today.

A gallon of gas now averages 3.82 across the nation, nearly 50 cents higher than in July. Gas prices rose seven percent in September and nine percent in August.

There is strong historical evidence to suggest that gasoline prices figure prominently in voters’ choices in a presidential election, whether they realize it or not, .

According to a White House Dossier analysis of data from the Department of Energy, in every election but one, stretching all the way back to 1976, if the price of gasoline was higher on Election Day than four years before, the incumbent president or the candidate of his Party seeking to succeed him lost.

Rising gas prices may also provide ammunition to Gov. Mitt Romney as he charges that Obama has failed to focus sufficiently on developing fossil fuel resources, including nixing of the Keystone Pipeline project.

Obama in 2008 suggested he was OK with rising gas prices as a means of pushing Americans toward use of alternative energy.

Outside of gas prices, the CPI was relatively stable, and economists are not expecting huge jumps in the future, although some worry that massive bond buying by the Federal Reserve could put pressure on prices to rise.

Obama to Kill Two Political Birds With One Stone

Updated 9:22 am ET

This is fantastic. A brilliant maneuver by the West Wing political operation. I’m deeply moved.

The White House just announced that President Obama this morning will materialize in the Rose Garden to tell everyone that he is “cracking down” on manipulation of the oil market by financial profiteers.

This is very elegant. Pretend you are doing something about gasoline prices while ALSO sticking it to evil rich people gorging themselves on investment income by manipulating the markets.

It’s a campaign two-fer. If the “crackdown” actually does anything to reduce the price at the pump please wake me and let me know. Meanwhile, Obama gets to gin up the proletariat against Wall Street.

Thank you David Plouffe, you are a political genius. I’m glad to see you’ve got the economic team on a leash and heeling beside you.

Obama’s announcement is at 11:10 am. I will livestream it for you so you can comment along.

UPDATE: This political announcement also has a Big Brother component. From the White House:

The President is calling on Congress to pass an immediate increase in funding to support at least a six-fold increase in the surveillance and enforcement staff for oil futures market trading at the CFTC.

Also a “ten-fold” increase in maximum penalties for “manipulative activity in oil futures markets.”

History: Gas Prices Rise, White House Changes Hands

President Obama’s desperate campaign to recast himself as a fossil fuel-worshipping drilling fanatic surely flows from the agonies of his reelection gurus in Chicago, who have watched helplessly as the price at the pump soars while the president has spent his time attempting to sow windfarms.

Obama’s more politically minded advisers may be aware of a fact his alternative fuel acolytes don’t understand: In every presidential contest but one since 1976, if the price of gasoline was higher on Election Day than four years before, the party or the president controlling the White House was booted from power. If prices went down, power was maintained.

That’s why after spending most of his presidency relentlessly pounding the lectern demanding greater use of alternative energy – and spending billions to get there – President Obama Wednesday found himself on a New Mexico oil field proclaiming, “Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.”

Today, Obama heads to Cushing, Oklahoma to try to mitigate one of the great mistakes of his presidency – rejecting the Keystone pipeline – by visiting a spot on the southern portion of the project, which he supports. According to Politico, he’ll issue executive orders aiming to expedite construction of the pipeline and other “vital infrastructure projects.”

Why? Because if history repeats itself, Obama is going to lose the election.

According the the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, gasoline prices are currently averaging about $3.87 per gallon. When Obama was elected in November 2008, they were at about $2.40 and had been falling rapidly.

It makes sense that, no matter the reasons people say they vote for presidents, gas prices may have an outsized, if somewhat subconscious, effect on their choice.

Like no other product, the price of gas affects our sense of well being. We feel the pain of rising prices not only every time we fill up at the pump, but nearly every time we pass a gasoline station.

Think of how often, if you drive, you find yourself checking out the price of gas. Higher prices hit us over the head like a sledgehammer several times a day.

When prices go down, we suddenly feel rich. It’s like getting a pay raise. It’s almost fun to pay for cheap gas. “Swipe that credit card, I can take it! It’s so much better than before. And less money for people overseas who hate us.”

The most obvious case of this effect – and the most comparable to the dramatic rise during the Obama presidency – is the increase during the Carter administration. Then the price doubled from 63 cents per gallon when Jimmy Carter was elected to about $1.25 per gallon in November 1980, when he was routed by Ronald Reagan. Under Reagan, the precipitous increases ended, and the price had declined gradually to $1.17 by the time he was reelected in 1984.

Gas prices also played a little noted factor when the White House switched hands from the Democrats to the Republicans in 2000. When George W. Bush defeated Al Gore in November 2000, the price of gasoline was at $1.52. Four years before it had been 30 cents less, at $1.22.

The exception to the rule was Bush’s own reelection, which occurred – just barely and during wartime – despite an increase at the pump in November 2000 to $2.00 per gallon.

But this is the exception that proves the rule. The Obama people, who have been insisting that there’s nothing the president can do about gas prices, better try anyway.

NOTE: This is a revised version of an earlier article.

Carney: Newt Gingrich “Lying” About $2.50 Gas

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney suggested Newt Gingrich is lying when he claims that he could reduce gasoline prices to $2.50 per gallon.

Carney, who spoke during today’s White House briefing, did not specifically refer to Gingrich, saying instead that anybody who says that a strategy exists that can make the price at the pump $2.50 is “lying.” But Gingrich has made his claimed ability to reduce prices to $2.50 a gallon a major plank of his campaign, and the comment was clearly directed at the former speaker.

Washington politicos rarely resort to the verb “to lie” when referring to their opponents’ statements. The tactic usually is to call something “misleading” or “untruthful.”

Carney’s tough wording suggests the enormity of the threat the White House perceives from rising gas prices and the pain for voters at the pump. Carney and other White House officials have repeatedly insisted that there is little the president can do to stem the increases, and have suggested a longer term  “all of the above” approach that includes not only drilling but development of alternative fuel sources.

Why the Rising Price of Gas May Sink Obama

The instability in the Middle East holds a hidden peril for President Obama. As oil prices skyrocket, his reelection prospects may be plummeting.

There is strong historical evidence to suggest that gasoline prices, whether people realize it or not, figure prominently in voters’ choices in a presidential election.

According to an analysis of data from the Department of Energy, in every election but one, stretching all the way back to 1976, if the price of gasoline was higher on Election Day than four years before, the incumbent president or the candidate of his Party seeking to succeed him LOST.

The price at the pump has a lot to do with our sense of well being. It  is a point of frustration or satisfaction we recognize every few days when we go to fill up.

What’s more, gas prices ripple throughout the economy, affecting the prices we pay for other products that must rely on oil to for transport and other energy needs. And when prices rise, it harms the economy, effectively transferring billions in wealth out of the United States and into countries like Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.

The only exception to the Presidential Pump Price Predictor occurred in 2004, when the average price on Election Day was $2.03 per gallon for regular gas compared to $1.54 in 2000. George W. Bush won reelection, but just barely, and against a deeply flawed candidate – John Kerry – during time of war.

P060409PS-0053The pattern resumed in 2008, when the presidency again switched parties as gas become more expensive. The price had risen to $2.40 on Election Day and Democrat Barack Obama defeated Republican John McCain.

Of course, there are many things that go into a presidential election. But a factor that has been consistent in eight out of the last nine presidential elections cannot be ignored.

The price of gasoline last week was $3.38 per gallon, about a dollar higher than the day Obama was elected.