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06 October 2008

Gas prices are low. What happens if they shoot back up? I'm not a conspiracy theorist by any means, but this recent tumble in gas prices has me very suspicious of the government.

Let's say the current administration is artificially depressing gas prices (they're 2.99 where I am right now) and then they shoot up past $4.00 a week or two after the election?

As a practical matter, what could we as citizens do at that point?
Continue to bend over and take it in the ass?

It's sucking still here though. And the fact that I'm still driving the fucking Lexus isn't helping me. Especially because I'm going out of town this weekend. 400+ miles roundtrip, yay! I'll bring the lube myself, you fuckers.
posted by sperose 06 October | 13:41
Okay, first - I read this post as Gay Prices Are Low - and I wanted to buy Beeps and Wolfdog before someone else snatched them up.

posted by Lipstick Thespian 06 October | 13:41
Aw! :)
posted by BoringPostcards 06 October | 13:47
I, for one, would pay upwards of $4.00 per gallon of Boring Postcards.
posted by rainbaby 06 October | 13:50
Continue to conserve gasoline, through such avenues as carpooling, combining trips, driving efficiently and choosing alternate means of transportation whenever possible?

Or, y'know, riot in the streets until the petrogarchs' blood stains the asphalt. Just let me know which one you decide on, so I'll know what kind of shoes to wear.
posted by box 06 October | 13:57
Um, I meant Wolfdaddy upthread. I dinnae think Wolfdog is gay. And if'n he is, throw him in, too.

Once Boring Postcards, Wolfdaddy and/or Wolfdog have been acquired, I am appointing them regional directors of the new Homosexual Cultural Museums I'm instituting across this great land.

These museums will celebrate gay contributions to world cultures, hold in-house counseling for at-risk teens, and provide drastically reduced healthcare for people of all sexual orientations who are afflicted with HIV/AIDS, cancer, etc.

Hi, my name is Lipstick Thespian, and I'm running for President in the Universe Next Door. My running mate is Queen Latifah.

posted by Lipstick Thespian 06 October | 14:03
You're a real maverick, LT.
posted by cmonkey 06 October | 14:05
$2.99?!? It's $3.99 here. And sometimes you still can't even find it anyway. *weeps, wishes for car that runs on petrogarch blood*
posted by mygothlaundry 06 October | 14:20
The cheapest I have seen it this week is 3.49. I just paid 3.75 today.

As a semi-informed person, here are my opinions and observations:

The Bush administration is not, would not, and could not artificially deflate or inflate gas prices. Look to oil companies and other companies directly related to drilling and gasoline as the culprits.

Businesses (gasoline manufacturers) who have an interest in the outcome of the election can intentionally increase or decrease supply. They can intentionally increase supply and flood the market and cause prices to go down. (They say there is a glut of gasoline in this country right now. Granted, some areas have been affected by distribution problems because of the hurricane. )

Anyway, there is lots of money to be made if McCain wins. There is billions to be made with offshore drilling, ANWR, and tax gifts. Companies may be increasing supply, and therefore causing decreased prices, to create a false sense of security. If gas prices are low, we'll be less apt to change. We're more apt to vote for another Republican. We'll want to stay on the same course and not upset the apple cart.

Honestly, things are so bleak, if gas goes down to 2.00, McCain can't win.

Exxon-Mobile DESPERATELY wants McCain to win.
posted by LoriFLA 06 October | 14:25


posted by WolfDaddy 06 October | 14:39
Let's say the current administration is artificially depressing gas prices (they're 2.99 where I am right now) and then they shoot up past $4.00 a week or two after the election?

Then that would mean that the current administration has price structures in place that would revival those artificial price points that are established in such countries as India, Iran, etc. Although the US has the capability to establish something like this in the future (but they won't because it would cost the US taxpayers a large amount of money to subsidize oil prices because we are an oil consuming country not an oil producing), it currently does not. Prices, in the US, are currently priced based on the market which is affected by supply, demand, business practices, etc. The reason why oil prices in the Carolinas is still so much higher than, say, in NYC is because of Hurricane Ike. The reason why the prices of oil are down now compared to the height has less to do with whatever the government is doing and more to do with the fact that the oil consuming countries are facing a recession, the dollar has gone up compared to the Euro, and people in oil consuming countries are driving less and consuming less.

So, in general, your conspiracy theory isn't a very valid theory. The government is currently unable to influence gas prices, gas prices will keep dropping through the current election, and the current economic crisis (which is tied not to oil prices but to the current freeze in short term loans) will keep the economy down and will help the Democrats not the Republicans for November 4th.

It doesn't matter if gas went down to a dollar a gallon - if G.E. cannot receive short term loans, if small businesses can't receive short term loans (and I'm talking about loans lasting for, say, a week), businesses are going to layoff employees, consumer spending is going to sink, and the economy is going to continue to flounder.

Don't focus on gas prices to look at the current crisis and to develop faulty conspiracy theories. Focus on the credit squeeze and start laying the blame on people involved with that.
posted by stynxno 06 October | 14:45
Okay, that's who's playing Lollapalooza next year, Wolfdaddy. Focus, man, focus!
posted by Lipstick Thespian 06 October | 14:46
I'm not a conspiracy theorist by any means, but this recent tumble in gas prices has me very suspicious of the government.

Are you suspicious of the global market for oil, or just our government? 'Cause oil in general has been nose-diving since July.

A recession is deflationary w.r.t. commodities. A global recession especially so. And as the Europe slowdown starts to catch up with the US, it has been putting pressure on the euro and lifting the dollar. The weak dollar was part of the run up in oil.

"New York oil prices declined 12 percent last week as reports showed U.S. fuel demand the previous four weeks was the lowest in almost seven years and manufacturing shrank in September at the fastest pace since the last recession in 2001." From here.
posted by mullacc 06 October | 14:48
How could the government 'artificially depress' gas prices?
posted by matthewr 06 October | 14:50
How could the government 'artificially depress' gas prices?

Oh, this is easy! It could fail to properly regulate the financial industry and combine that lack of oversight with an incredibly easy monetary policy. The resultant asset boom will eventually fail as credit starts to deteriorate, triggering a wave of insolvency among financial institutions. Liquidity will dry up and the credit markets will grind to a halt. Individuals will respond to falling asset prices by increasing their rate of savings and reducing unnecessary consumption. The result is a decline in aggregate demand and also a slow down of capital formation--a double whammy on the economy. Voila! The government made oil go down!
posted by mullacc 06 October | 15:02
Though it's hard to time this to coincide with an election.
posted by mullacc 06 October | 15:03
(Beepsdogdaddywolf? - I still think we need a Mecha Hanky Code.)
posted by MonkeyButter 06 October | 16:28
If only you could stock up now.
But then all i can see is
Big Bang Boom.
posted by ethylene 06 October | 23:39
It's really unlikely the government could "artificially depress" oil prices. The only real leverage it has is the minuscule petroleum stockpile, but it's unrefined and not made into gasoline yet. The refinery capacity in the US is pretty well fixed (startup costs are enormous), so even releasing the strategic stockpile doesn't affect the *gasoline* supply much.

It is, however, nakedly and openly common for the Fed to do what it can to put the economy in a kind of low-key first gear during an election year, by jiggering interest rates. This year, it didn't work so well, but that's probably a big reason why Paulson didn't act as quickly as some think he should have back in the spring. So yes, it's not really unheard of for the financial arms of government to act in a way generally favorable to an incumbent's re-election (or at least his party's).

I really do think they thought that any crisis could be staved off past the election. Right now the price of gas is about the furthest thing from people's minds.
posted by stilicho 07 October | 05:02
Zombehs! OMG! || Giftfilter - halp!