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What Reporters Are Getting Wrong About Gas Prices

February 23, 2012 1:12 pm ET by Jocelyn Fong

cnn screengrabLast month the New York Times' public editor solicited reader input on whether reporters should challenge false statements made "by the newsmakers they write about." The overwhelming response from media commentators was, "YES, OF COURSE." Even Jill Abramson, the executive editor of the Times weighed in to say: "The kind of rigorous fact-checking and truth-testing you describe is a fundamental part of our job as journalists," adding, "Could we do more? Yes, always. And we will." 

That's good to hear because research out of Ohio State University indicates that passive reporting which "simply lists competing claims without offering any idea of which side is right," may cause readers to become disillusioned about their ability to determine the truth.

But in at least two recent articles, the Times uncritically reported Republicans' claims that the Keystone XL pipeline would hold down gasoline prices, giving no indication that in fact, experts say the effect would be miniscule at best.

This tolerance for unsubstantiated claims about gas prices is part of a larger pattern among many news outlets: In an effort to capture the political argument of the day, journalists often miss the larger, more interesting, and more important story.

What is the origin and the nature of our problem with gas prices? What can we do about it? Who supports and opposes those solutions? Who benefits from the status quo? If reporters aren't framing their gas price coverage around these questions, they're serving someone -- but it's not the public.

THE PIPELINE AND PRICES

In addition to the New York Times, reporters at CNN, Politico, ABC News, and the Associated Press have served as a vehicle for politicians to link the pipeline to rising gas prices. And of course, Fox News is making the claim outright on an almost hourly basis now. Fox anchor Bill Hemmer said on Monday: "So long as gasoline is getting higher, that's all the Republicans have to say is 'Keystone.'" And that's from the purportedly "straight news" side of the network.

But does this narrative have any merit?

Ray Perryman, the economist hired by TransCanada to assess the economic benefits of the pipeline, told me that his analysis -- the methodology of which has been questioned -- points to an impact of "around 3.5-4 cents per gallon of gasoline at current prices" once the pipeline "was fully implemented and flowing reasonably close to capacity." Moody's economist Chris Lafakis estimates that when balancing out the different regional impacts, "the pipeline would lower US gas prices by 1.6 cents per gallon."

For comparison, the U.S. average gasoline price has increased nearly 30 cents in the past two months. Perryman, a supporter of the pipeline, added: "I should also point out that a modest change of this nature will often be swamped by the day-to-day factors that impact market prices."

Analysts say gas prices are currently rising due to expectations of global economic growth, concerns about Iranian threats to disrupt oil supply and an influx of speculators.

GasBuddy chart

Energy economist Severin Borenstein, a professor at the Haas School of Business, believes the pipeline "wouldn't lower gasoline prices by any noticeable amount." Keystone XL, he said, would "bring additional oil to the world market, starting around 2020. The effect on oil prices then will be miniscule, the effect in the next couple years nonexistent."

There is currently surplus pipeline capacity for moving Canadian oil into the U.S. A report prepared by oil consulting firm EnSys for the Department of Energy found that "in every scenario studied, with or without KXL, the excess cross-border pipeline capacity persists until after 2020." 

Michael Levi, an energy expert at the Council of Foreign Relations said the impact of Keystone XL on gasoline prices "probably depends on the part of the country" but "would be very small either way." Levi wrote in a Washington Post commentary that the pipeline has a likely impact of "less than a dollar a barrel to the long-term price of oil, hardly a decisive factor when prices are already around $100 per barrel." 

Canadian economist Andrew Leach said "I can't see any significant reason for KXL to lower gas prices," adding, "Long term, it's probably close to a wash, but if anything, it's a small increase from eliminating the crude glut in the Midwest." Borenstein said something similar: "If anything it will raise gas prices slightly in the Midwest by relieving the bottleneck on getting oil out of that area."  

They are referring to the shortage of pipelines available to carry oil from Oklahoma to Gulf coast refineries, resulting in a buildup of Canadian oil in the Midwest, which lowers the price that refineries there pay. Keystone XL would relieve the glut, and thus, shrink the discount. "But there are other pipelines planned that will probably do that long before KXL would get built," Borenstein added.

TransCanada told Canada's National Energy Board that in the Midwest, its pipeline would "increase the price of heavy crude to the equivalent cost of imported crude," which would provide Canadian oil companies with an added $2-3.9 billion in annual revenues. Energy analysts disagree about whether this would actually translate to measurable changes in the price of gasoline for consumers.

So at most, the pipeline would lower gasoline prices by a few cents in eight years or so, and it might raise prices in some parts of the U.S. Presenting Keystone XL as an explanation or a solution to the current price spike is simply not serious. So why are journalists who are covering gas prices treating it otherwise?

THE LARGER PROBLEM

The issue of Keystone XL is not the first time mainstream reporters have been complicit in a public discourse over gasoline prices that is riddled with misconceptions. Last spring when prices eventually rose to near-record levels, Republicans and conservative media blamed the Obama administration's temporary deep water drilling moratorium enacted after the devastating BP oil spill in the Gulf. Reporters from the New York Times, Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, CNN, among others, provided the same he-said/she-said coverage we're seeing now.

Meanwhile, energy experts were saying that "it's not credible to blame the Obama Administration's drilling policies for today's high prices because of the relative scales involved." That quote came from Michael Canes, former chief economist of the American Petroleum Institute, which represents the oil and gas industry.

As it turned out, any decline in offshore production caused by the deep water drilling moratorium was more than overcome by a boost in onshore output. Increasing each year since 2008, U.S. oil production is higher than it's been in eight years and the number of oil rigs in operation is soaring, which complicates Republicans' messaging on gas prices.

EIA chart oil rigs

"As far as drilling and production, it's going to be really good and robust," energy economist Michelle Michot Foss recently told the Houston Chronicle. "But consumers will be upset because gasoline prices will continue to be high."

Which brings us to the truth of the matter: Ramping up drilling and oil infrastructure can provide some economic benefits, but holding down gasoline prices is not one of them. If we want to be less vulnerable to price spikes, we have to use less oil. Period. That is the context that should pervade news coverage of gas prices.

Economists and energy analysts have repeatedly made this point:

  • Michael Levi: "Since oil is traded on a global market, the effects of volatility are reflected in the price of every barrel of oil regardless of its origin. This problem can be addressed only by making the U.S. economy more resilient to oil price swings, which includes -- most significantly -- lowering total U.S. oil consumption."
  • Severin Borenstein: "We should avoid the fantasy of thinking that by choosing a different seller, we are somehow offsetting the impact of Middle East production. To fix the problem, we just need to use less oil."
  • Tom Kloza: "This drill drill drill thing is tired ... It's a simplistic way of looking for a solution that doesn't exist."
  • Richard Newell: "We do not project additional volumes of oil that could flow from greater access to oil resources on Federal lands to have a large impact on prices given the globally integrated nature of the world oil market."
  • Doug Holtz-Eakin: "You can't change the oil price very much with the U.S. exploration."
  • Ken Green: "We probably couldn't produce enough to affect the world price of oil. ... People don't understand that."
  • Lou Crandall: "Higher oil prices today are a global phenomenon, and the additional supply from increased drilling by the U.S. would not alter the global balance of supply and demand greatly. ... The only difference is that a somewhat larger share of the revenue would accrue to domestic interests (governmental and private) rather than to foreign suppliers." 

Contrast those facts with the framing we're getting from countless news reports:

bloomberg headline

nyt headline

dallas morning news headline

Beyond the shame of being used by political operatives to distribute a powerful and thoroughly inaccurate message, news reports that privilege the myths over the facts help cement a short-sighted perspective on our energy challenges.

THE REAL MEANING OF INDEPENDENCE

To the extent that Americans continue to rely heavily on oil, our economy remains latched to a price that will, for the foreseeable future, be pushed up by Asia's rapidly expanding demand. According to the International Energy Agency, China alone accounted for the majority of the increase in global oil demand last year. The number of cars in operation worldwide surpassed 1 billion in 2010, with half of the growth over the previous year coming from China.

map of oil demand

Energy expert Chris Nelder said in an interview that "The rest of the world is pulling on price and we are essentially the losers in that contest because nobody is using gasoline at the level that we do or as inefficiently as we do." The bottom line? "We're not going to do anything about price. What we can do is consume less," Nelder said.

While we remain far and away the world's largest oil consumer and drive several times more cars than China, we are using less than we used to. In large part due to the recession, but also because of conservation efforts, U.S. liquid fuel consumption has not returned to pre-2008 levels and the Energy Information Administration expects "only small increases" in the next two years. Reflecting the differences in demand growth between the U.S. and developing economies, refiners here are now selling more fuel to other countries than we import.

As financial writer Greg Ip noted, a result of slowing U.S. oil consumption "is that the economy will be less sensitive to changes in the oil price." Although much of the media debate focuses on the prices posted at the pump, what matters more for policy purposes is how vulnerable we are to these inevitable price spikes. Given that our vulnerability is based on how much oil we use, news reports on gas prices should, across the board, be talking about cutting consumption.

"Increasing efficiency is going to be a far more productive policy tool than increasing supply," Nelder stated. CFR's Levi also said "fuel economy standards will probably have a substantially larger impact" than Keystone XL.

That's because, as Chris Lafakis explained, higher average fuel economy, "be it through electric vehicles or improved efficiency on conventional vehicles," lowers "the percentage of consumers' incomes that they spend on gasoline."In the same way that changes in gas prices matter less to someone who drives a hybrid than to someone who drives Hummer, economies using oil more efficiently are more resilient to price spikes.

Congress created Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards (CAFE) in 1975, following the OPEC oil embargo. The standards were not updated until 2007. According to energy analyst Vaclav Smil, "this failure to pursue greater fuel efficiency was an irrational choice and, hence, an irresponsible policy. It came about because of low oil prices, and it led to a higher dependence on imports."

Here's how our fuel economy (grey line) compares to other countries:

fuel economy chart

The 2007 energy law raised the standards to an average of 35 miles per gallon by 2020. The Obama administration pushed compliance up to 2016 and later enacted standards for heavy-duty trucks. Most recently, the administration proposed another set of standards for model year 2017-2025 cars, requiring "increases in fuel efficiency equivalent to 54.5 mpg." Major automakers agreed to the rules, which work out to a real-world average of about 40 mpg.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated that by 2025, the rule would "reduce oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels per day - enough to offset almost a quarter of the current level of our foreign imports." An analysis by the Consumer Federation of America  indicates that the standards will result in substantial savings for consumers.

Fuel economy improvements should be a major part of the gas prices story. Policies that encourage the production and adoption of hybrid and electric cars are also relevant, as are investments in transportation infrastructure and alternative fuels. These are not quick remedies, but when it comes to oil dependence, if we're not talking about long-term solutions, we're not talking about solutions at all.

Shauna Theel contributed to this post.




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    • Author by gmccpa (February 23, 2012 1:21 pm ET)
      5  
      Maybe gas prices are really Pres. Obama's fault. Pres. Bush cut the price in half..in just 60 days. The week of Sept 22 2008 prices were 3.77. Sixty days later they were 1.77.

      Thats pretty dramatic. All it took was Bush's little Sept 24, 2008 speech:

      [quote]Good evening. This is an extraordinary period for America's economy.

      Over the past few weeks, many Americans have felt anxiety about their finances and their future. I understand their worry and their frustration.

      We've seen triple-digit swings in the stock market. Major financial institutions have teetered on the edge of collapse, and some have failed. As uncertainty has grown, many banks have restricted lending, credit markets have frozen, and families and businesses have found it harder to borrow money.

      We're in the midst of a serious financial crisis, and the federal government is responding with decisive action.

      [/quote]
      Report Abuse
      • Author by BDA (February 23, 2012 1:35 pm ET)
        10 1
        I'm not sure if you are being snarky or not, but if Bushie could get prices to drop 60% in 60 days, what did he do to make them rise so far in the first place. If Bush gets credit for lowering prices, he must also get credit for raising them in the first place.

        If Bush was sooo great for the energy independence of this country, why did prices rise so much in the last year of his 8 year term. He had seven years to make things better for Americans, What happened??
        Report Abuse
        • Author by gmccpa (February 23, 2012 1:49 pm ET)
          12  
          Of course I am being snarky....the prices dropped at the end of 2008 because the economy was in a free fall. As it has improved over the past few years... prices have risen. I posted earlier this week that the oil prices are very well correlated to the Stock market major indexes. And they have really spiked recently due to the Bomb Iran theme.

          Unfortunately, the entire Right wing is too busy accusing Obama of being a Communist, socialist, Marxist, anti capitalist...to notice that all of the major Capitalistic markets have thrived during his tenure.
          Report Abuse
          • Author by hello_yoohoo (February 23, 2012 6:19 pm ET)
            3  
            Of course you're being snarky? FYI, there is no sarcastic way to pronounce your snarkiness, thus it is confusing when it is communicated in text. You do have a point that fox news fans use that logic, but it's impossible to know if you're a fox news fan or not form that text.
            Report Abuse
        • Author by pete592 (February 23, 2012 1:51 pm ET)
          12  
          Right-wing professional liars will tell you the price hike under Bush was because he wasn't given free reign over Alaska to drill for oil.

          Opening up the ANWR would not and will not live up to its promise of cheaper gas.

          As I pointed out below, for years, right-wing professional liars have habitually parroted different cheap-gas silver bullets.

          All we have to do is drill here.
          All we have to do is build a pipe line there.
          All we have to do is bomb the holy hell out of a Middle Eastern nation.
          Report Abuse
          • Author by joeybagofdonuts (February 24, 2012 12:24 pm ET)
            3  
            I had totally forgotten about that...the whole ANWR thing. Ever since Sarah Palin, I forget there are really good things to come out of Alaska.

            I guess we could call the Republicans current strategy (in RE: to "All we have to do is drill here," etc). Is the ANWR to Anbar Approach to Energy Independence: Drill ANWR, Bomb Anbar!
            Report Abuse
          • Author by notsure5 (February 24, 2012 4:42 pm ET)
            1  
            What's really funny is the last one actually has the opposite effect.
            Report Abuse
      • Author by hello_yoohoo (February 23, 2012 2:19 pm ET)
        4  
        Hmm, is this sarcasm? I don't see any hints of admitting it's sarcasm, but that speech says nothing about gasoline or oil, and the world wide economy had collapsed in september of 2008, so it seems as if this has to be sarcasm.
        Either way GW's anti epa anti regulation pro drilling policies resulted in record profits for oil companies while the consumers paid record prices.
        Oil in 2000 - $40/barrel
        Oil in 2008 - $140/barrel.
        Report Abuse
    • Author by pete592 (February 23, 2012 1:42 pm ET)
      13  
      The Iraq War failed to live up to its promise of cheaper gas (not to mention "pay for itself").

      "Drill baby drill" failed to live up to its promise of cheaper gas.

      The Keystone XL pipeline will fail to live up to its promise of cheaper gas.

      Basically, when right-wing professional liars profess to know what will make gas cheaper, they don't.
      Report Abuse
      • Author by Bongo Fury (February 23, 2012 1:51 pm ET)
           
        I must live in Bugtussle or something. Gas here has been $3.10 all winter, with no signs of increasing.
        Cheap gas in itself is an oxymoron.
        Report Abuse
        • Author by chazmanr (February 23, 2012 2:44 pm ET)
          2  
          You live in Bugtussle. We haven't see $3.10 in Chicago for the past 2 years.
          Report Abuse
    • Author by DAWUSS (February 23, 2012 1:54 pm ET)
      2 9
      Wasn't $5/gallon an environmentalist's dream back in '98?
      Report Abuse
      • Author by pete592 (February 23, 2012 2:05 pm ET)
        10  
        Back then, I was dreaming of automobile manufacturers finally pulling their heads out and prioritizing efficiency and alternatives. What did we get? Excursions, H2's, and the resurgence of the muscle car.

        Operation Desert Storm had made it abundantly clear to many of us that we're not going to get cheap gas by bombing the Middle East back to the stone age, but the lessons weren't learned, and probably never will be.
        Report Abuse
        • Author by CrashGordon (February 23, 2012 2:15 pm ET)
          6  
          I think the lesson was also learned that high gas prices (due to high oil prices) is good for anyone who makes money off of the oil industry. If you also make money off the war industry, it's a real win-win.
          Report Abuse
      • Author by chazmanr (February 23, 2012 2:51 pm ET)
        1  
        To some extent. I will point out that when I spent the summer of '84 in the UK, gas there was about $4/gallon while we were paying about a $1.25.
        Report Abuse
      • Author by letdowntourist (February 23, 2012 11:23 pm ET)
        1  
        the policy hasn't changed, we're just getting more screwed.
        Report Abuse
    • Author by CrashGordon (February 23, 2012 2:19 pm ET)
      1  
      I will admit that I was guilty of blaming Bush for the spike in gas prices during his presidency. Even though I do not see the wisdom in filling the strategic reserves when gas prices are at their highest (thereby both competing with consumers to drive up the price of gas and wasting taxpayer money to buy gas when it's at its most expensive), I have completely conceded that for the most part, it wasn't his fault. There is no question that speculation due to conditions in the middle east are what makes gas prices the most volatile. I often think that conditions are made to look much more dire than they really are in order to drive up oil prices, but that's my own conspiracy theory--I have no hard data to back that up.
      Report Abuse
      • Author by Unreality (February 24, 2012 2:36 am ET)
        3  
        I assert that his lack of regulation of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and change of rules had more to do with increase than other factors. Additionally rattling the saber for invasion of Iraq or Iran promotes fear uncertainty and doubt among traders.
        Report Abuse
    • Author by didi (February 23, 2012 2:42 pm ET)
      5  
      "Since oil is traded on a global market, the effects of volatility are reflected in the price of every barrel of oil regardless of its origin."

      What makes oil a global commodity? The corporate desire to make the most out of the resources. That is contrary to the interests of the United States.

      The fact that oil extracted from the gulf and in the US is priced at the global spot market forces the price of the oil up substantially from the actual cost of extraction.

      Additionally, there is no regulations in place to force the oil companies to sell the oil domestically. So drill baby drill will not increase supply in the US. We also export gasoline on the open market. We pay the environmental costs for the refining and other countries get the product.

      The bottom line is that a commodity of such importance cannot be manipulated such as it is without causing negative effects on the US economy.
      Report Abuse
      • Author by BDA (February 23, 2012 4:19 pm ET)
        3  
        I am always outraged over the impact that speculation has on a commodity of this importance. Gasoline is vital to every aspect of the economy. If OJ futures skyrocketed due to a forecast of a cold snap in Florida,and that didn't happen, no big deal, i'll switch to apple juice for a while. The speculators will end up with alot of OJ that isn't worth what they paid for it. But when these speculators drive up oil prices because of what MAY happen in Iran or wherever, there will always be someone buying it because it is needed. You cant buy another product instead when gasoline is artificially inflated. There doesn't seem to be any downside to inflating oil prices if you are a speculator. Plus, we never got an explanation of why oil prices dropped from $140 a barrel to $80 a barrel in a matter of months back in late 2008. We didn't suddenly find we had twice as much oil as we thought. What ever happened to supply and demand?
        Report Abuse
        • Author by joeybagofdonuts (February 24, 2012 12:39 pm ET)
          1  
          And this is where the crux of the article is: if we, both consumers and as a country us less oil, we'll be less vulnerable to speculation and price gouging by oil companies. If we had an "apple juice" for your "OJ" to use your analogy: hybrid vehicles, electric vehicles, reworking the power grid, investing in and encouraging public transit to middle class Americans. I mean, where I am, Norfolk, Virginia, just put in an above-ground light rail that runs about 10 miles in two down, and passenger expectations have doubled in the 6 months its been open. If we give people options, our pocketbooks won't be enslaved to what the cost is at the pump.
          Report Abuse
      • Author by NON-PARTY (February 23, 2012 6:19 pm ET)
          1
        I agree in whole with what you just wrote. Which means anything President Obama tries in regards to Energy production in the US to curb cost and consumption will be eaten up by the world as well.
        Report Abuse
    • Author by dogbreath (February 23, 2012 3:05 pm ET)
      2  
      I hate to say it, but we aren't going to see gas prices go down below $3.00 ever again. Speculators won't allow it, and they, more than any other market force, are steering prices right now. Yes, worldwide demand is higher, but so is production. The simple fact is that any minor wrinkle in the system - Iran's saber-rattling - is going to send speculators into a frenzy.
      Report Abuse
    • Author by David2012 (February 23, 2012 3:10 pm ET)
      3  
      To take down and repeat lies as the apparent equivalent of truth isn't journalism.

      It's stenography, and it is what most "reporters" do nowadays.

      The one exception is Fox, which actually treats the lies as if they were the truth and makes no bones about it. The "liberal" bias of the media lies in occasionally bothering to write down the truth, but never without a "but on the other hand, some say" in propinquity.
      Report Abuse
    • Author by blueline99 (February 23, 2012 3:50 pm ET)
      3  
      We are currently on pace to set a record for gasoline exports. What this tells me is that the oil refineries are producing more gas, diesel, and jet fuel than we can consume.

      In a true supply and demand economy, the price for gas should be plummeting, but since the opposite is happening, the oil companies will be making record profits and the commuter train I take every morning will be even more crowded.

      Report Abuse
      • Author by David2012 (February 23, 2012 4:01 pm ET)
        1  
        You would think that once in a while somebody would mention that the U.S. was a net exporter of oil last year for the first time in decades and will be again this year.

        You'd think that. But you'd be wrong. It doesn't fit the narrative.
        Report Abuse
        • Author by David2012 (February 23, 2012 4:03 pm ET)
          4  
          Link re oil exports:

          http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/story/2011-12-16/us-oil-boom/52053236/1
          Report Abuse
          • Author by BDA (February 23, 2012 4:27 pm ET)
            1  
            Excellent link. foreign oil consumption is down to 49% vs, 60% in 2005. Bush was president back then right? So much for the GOP talking point. Why isn't this making the news?
            Report Abuse
          • Author by gmccpa (February 23, 2012 7:06 pm ET)
            1  
            It is an excellent link (no snarkiness this time) Unbelievable that is doesn't make the news. I take for granted that it would not make FOX news...but what about the rest?
            Report Abuse
          • Author by notsure5 (February 24, 2012 5:04 pm ET)
               
            To be more accurate, we are a net exporter of oil products. We could still be importing more crude than we are exporting. The article doesn't address this directly, instead it says that imported oil is less than half of the oil we are using.
            Report Abuse
        • Author by oscar the grouch (February 23, 2012 8:30 pm ET)
             
          And yet we still import 60% of our petroleum products. I have read we are overproducing some oil products (diesel, for example), but still need exports to cover our gasoline gap.
          Report Abuse
        • Author by Laffin Dolfin (February 25, 2012 12:59 am ET)
             
          A reasonable person would think that, yes. But behold your corporate media! Liberal, my foot.
          Report Abuse
      • Author by Invent a Scandal (February 23, 2012 4:52 pm ET)
           
        good point,
        and in conservative nut land, we must never have an increase in public transportation--because it's evil, you know, "public". But if we can just get that damn pipeline built, we can lower gas prices by 1.6 cents a gallon.
        Report Abuse
    • Author by Invent a Scandal (February 23, 2012 4:49 pm ET)
      3  
      However, sometimes I do wonder if the oil companies don't have a hand in these higher prices in the runup to the 2012 election.
      You know the corporatists want to take down Obama.

      I don't trust these oil plutocrats.
      Report Abuse
    • Author by tman418 (February 23, 2012 5:35 pm ET)
      3  
      Allen West mad at Obama, because it costs him $70 to fill his Hummer, which has 23 gallons and gets 15mi/gallon

      It's people like this scumbag that make gas prices high! I know that before Obama was elected, he and his wife shared a Ford hybrid.
      Report Abuse
      • Author by tman418 (February 23, 2012 5:35 pm ET)
        3  
        Also, isn't $70 a drop in the bucket for someone making $170,000 a year with benefits and pensions all over the place?
        Report Abuse
        • Author by Laffin Dolfin (February 25, 2012 12:58 am ET)
             
          Not if your name is Steve "Not so much" Southerland or Sean "I drive a used minivan" Duffy. Or, apparently now, Allen "lying torturer" West. Those $70 fills add up man! Hmm, I see these guys have something in common... (and 2 of them have two things in common)
          Report Abuse
          • Author by tman418 (February 25, 2012 12:03 pm ET)
               
            (and 2 of them have two things in common)


            Which 2 guys? And what's the thing they have in common?
            Report Abuse
    • Author by steeve (February 23, 2012 6:22 pm ET)
         
      "should reporters challenge false statements made by the newsmakers they write about"

      The only correct answer to that question is "whatever". The media is far too stupid to do that even if they wanted to, but if they abstain they still ruin the public discourse.

      The only way for the media to avoid ruining the public discourse is to spend all its time on celeb and human interest trivia garbage.
      Report Abuse
      • Author by David2012 (February 23, 2012 7:59 pm ET)
        2  
        I don't think they are stupid. I think they are paid. They had to be taught their boundaries, and have been. A paycheck is a powerful motivator. There was a time when there were men (and I think they were all men) who would publish on principle. That's increasingly untrue. A corporation is different than a man or a woman. It believes in profits, to the exclusion of every other value. It is required, as a matter of fiduciary duty to its shareholders, to do that. If it were an actual living, breathing human being, like say the Koch brothers, it would be regarded as a dangerous sociopath.
        Report Abuse
    • Author by hello_yoohoo (February 23, 2012 6:36 pm ET)
      3  
      I think blaming Bush for the gas price hikes and blaming Obama are different arguments:
      1. Mideast turmoil makes prices go up, by starting a fake war in Iraq Bush's mistake gave the world unnecessary turmoil. Obama hasn't started fake wars over mistaken intelligence.
      2. Iran is the new culprit of turmoil and therefore not exactly Obama's fault, he is doing right by not immediately going to war with Iran and trying to calm Israel down.
      3. Under GW prices went from $40 to $140, under Obama it's not 7 times the starting price. We still don't pay Bush era prices.
      4. Oil prices fell when the economy collapsed, therefore the prices of it coming back to end of bush era times comes with the territory of a recovering economy.
      5. Along with drilling, investing in alternative energy will reduce the future demand for oil also, therefore helping to devalue oil and add value to american innovation.
      6. Who's connected to big oil? Cheney, Bush's family, Palin' husband was a BP exec until she won office, Koch brothers (who had secret petro chemical deals with Iran). If anybody is going to take the people's side in this battle it's not republicans. Friends of republicans make record profits as prices go up.
      Report Abuse
    • Author by curiousindependent (February 23, 2012 8:00 pm ET)
      2  
      Wow, I notice, on that first graph, that gas prices spiked in the middle of 2008, while W was in office, and haven't reached near that peak under Obama. So much for boxy's eternal gripe.
      Report Abuse
      • Author by curiousindependent (February 23, 2012 8:03 pm ET)
           
        Speaking of boxy, why hasn't he posted in this thread? I mean, that graph DOES vindicate his claim of low low gas prices under W. Of course, he never bothers to mention that that low he claims is still 30 cents higher than it was when W was appointed, and that, for most of W's time in Washington, gas prices were MUCH higher.
        Report Abuse
    • Author by case1000 (February 23, 2012 9:03 pm ET)
        1
      Your own info provided above was looking good until...." refiners here are now selling more fuel to other countries than we import." Can't have it both ways......
      Report Abuse
    • Author by OOzinEvil (February 23, 2012 11:10 pm ET)
      1 2
      High gas prices can't possibly be the Presidents fault, unless..
      IOKIYAD
      Report Abuse
      • Author by Johaely (February 24, 2012 9:25 am ET)
           
        Please tell me, which presidential administration had a connection to the oil industry.
        Report Abuse
        • Author by curiousindependent (February 24, 2012 1:15 pm ET)
          1  
          I can't believe, just because the president and vice president, their friends and families, all made fortunes off the oil industry, that you would insinuate that they had a CONNECTION.
          Report Abuse
    • Author by John Puma (February 24, 2012 8:00 am ET)
      3  
      There already exists Phase 1 of the XL pipeline caarying crude from Alberta to Illinois. It was operational June 2010.

      From the chart above, we see that, since then, national gas prices have risen almost 40% from $2.62 to $3.62. Therefore, whatever price-lowering effect that this supply may have been causing in the Midwest is clearly not being felt nationwide.

      Since the other phases of the pipeline bring the crude to south Texas refineries, AND PORTS, to expect the US will get any of that product is pure fantasy, of the sort indulged in every day at the FOX Fraud and Fantasy Network.
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      • Author by Laffin Dolfin (February 25, 2012 1:10 am ET)
        2  
        Exactly! I use this argument every time someone tries to tell me how awesome the XL pipeline will be. Why do we need a pipeline from Canada to Texas? Are there no refineries in the north? Where do you think that oil's headed once it gets to the Gulf? A Canadian company is going to ship it to the highest bidder (probably China)to make money for Canada. We're just the poor sap middleman that gets stuck with the environmental mess their sludge tar oil pipeline will inevitably create. Millions of jobs! Yeah, right.

        And lately I've been hearing the cry that if we don't build it, they'll just sell their oil to China. Following my logic here, you'll see that they're gonna do that anyway! (probably) But then, we all know wingnuts aren't very good at reasoned arguments, just repeating something often until enough people believe it.
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    • Author by rightie (February 24, 2012 8:35 am ET)
        3
      Stay on target ya'll. It is the debt. Gas prices will go up and down but the national debt keeps going up. How can everyone whine about gas when every man, woman, and child owes more than $35K each to the government. Horrible! Democrats love distractions to the real problem which is the debt.
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      • Author by rikntx (February 24, 2012 1:19 pm ET)
        1  
        And trolls love to try and derail threads by bringing up off-topic subjects. Way to stay on topic troll. Wingnuts love distractions.
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      • Author by Johaely (February 24, 2012 1:39 pm ET)
           
        It's not the Democrats who keep bringing up completely trivial matters and treat them as "issues".
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      • Author by political_left-religious_right (February 25, 2012 5:40 pm ET)
           
        Were you bellyaching about the debt when it climbed so massively in the last three Republican administrations? If yes, then you have a point, even if it is off-topic. Chances are, though, you are both off-topic and hypocritically pointless.
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    • Author by oscar the grouch (February 25, 2012 4:39 pm ET)
      1 1
      Since it takes years for the permit processes and related to be handled, can it be said the increase in drilling activity in the past three years are a result of the way the process was handled in the eight years prior to that?
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      • Author by political_left-religious_right (February 25, 2012 5:42 pm ET)
           
        No, because it doesn't take that long. That wasn't even a good try.
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    • Author by kafantaris (February 26, 2012 3:07 am ET)
      1  
      Iran is in a serious dilemma. On the one hand it wants to show the world all it’s got and put it at ease, while on the other hand it fears that such show 'n tell will give its enemies a roadmap to bomb it.
      Saddam Hussein faced a similar dilemma ten years ago. Though he wanted the world to know he had nothing to hide, he also wanted to bluff his archenemy Iran into believing Iraq still had WMD.
      Bluffing did not go well for Saddam, and it might not go well for Ahmadinejad.
      But since the price tag for ridding Saddam proved high, we ought to reflect what we are asking of Iran now. On the eve of a threatened attack, we are asking it to take us to the depths of its arsenal and show us all it's got.
      Such great expectations are a sign we have been talking to our friends too long and are in need of a broader perspective. Exactly when was the last time we asked Pakistan, India, China or Russia to show us their arsenal?
      “But those countries are not advocating the destruction of Israel.”
      True, but Israel is not a thorn on their side either.
      Surely, however, we can see beyond the hyperboles and figure out their underlying purpose. Or have we forgotten that not all Iranians are thrilled with Ahmadinejad?
      He sure hasn’t.
      Nor has he forgotten that that his countrymen hate Israel even more. So he tells them that Israel will be wiped from the face of the earth. Expectantly, this nonsense unites them against a common enemy. It even becomes a diversion from the misery and isolation brought on by his anachronistic regime.
      Quite clever work by Ahmadinejad -- and not a rial spent or a bullet fired.
      So why are we letting the crazy talk about destroying Israel get us all worked-up -- to the point of turning the world topsy-turvy again.
      Can we not plainly see the machinations of an unpopular regime trying to hold on to power?
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    • Author by Real Texas Straight Talk (February 26, 2012 12:15 pm ET)
      1  
      The only thing known to bring down gas prices, besides economic collapse, is us. When prices hit $4 a gallon, people change their consumption habits. We seek out smaller cars, mass transit and car-pool partners. We use less and demand less, and that changes shortages pushing the price up into surpluses pushing the price down. The best part is when we do this, we can stick speculators with oil they paid a high price for. They will be forced to sell at a lower price.

      So conserve now, and stick a Koch brother with a few tankers full of overprice crude.
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