A Gasoline Conspiracy To Set Fire To The Obama Administration?
I’ve never been much of a conspiracy theorist as it is not my inclination to see evil lurking behind every bush (no pun intended.) More times than not, things are—for the most part—pretty much as they appear to be.
However, there is a strange anomaly occurring on the highways of America and in the boardrooms of some of our largest investment institutions that has caused me to consider whether a plan is afoot that, if successful, could represent the best possible strategy for ending the presidency of Barack Obama.
According to the Automobile Club of America, gasoline prices have risen, on average, 13.1 cents in the past month—despite the fact that gas prices traditionally fall in the month of February as people drive fewer miles during the wintery month.
What’s more, virtually every projection out there suggests that gas prices are about to make a dramatic rise to, potentially, record levels with some suggesting that $5.00 a gallon gas or more —double the prices of just a few months ago—could very well be in our future.
This becomes a particularly odd statistic when one considers that Americans are using less gasoline than they have at any time in the last fifteen years. Currently, we burn up 8 percent less gas than we did during the peak year of 2006 while most experts expect the trend to continue to where we will be using 20 percent less gasoline by 2030.
Says Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service,
Strangely, the current run-up in prices comes despite sinking demand in the U.S. Petrol demand is as low as it’s been since April 1997. People are properly puzzled by the fact that we’re using less gas than we have in years, yet we’re paying more.
How can this be explained?
Certainly, concerns of a potential conflict in Iran, and the impact such an event would have on the world oil market, would drive prices up. Adding fuel to this gasoline fire are the seeds of uprising that are ripening in the eastern region of Saudi Arabia where most of the nation’s oil reserves are located.
And, to be sure, an improving domestic economy typically results in higher oil prices as demand begins to rise. However, experts seem to agree that even this will not return us to our high’s of 2006.
Experts agree that even when the economy rebounds from the recession, gasoline usage will remain below the 2006 figure, which should remain forever untouched barring any massive economic boom periods or drastic fuel price cuts. That reduction can be attributed to a number of factors such as higher fuel efficiency fleet figures for manufacturers, a higher use of hybrids, an increase in bio-fuels like bio-diesel and ethanol, and continued high gas prices, among other factors.
There has to be something else at work here.
According to Kloza, a healthy percentage of the increase is the result of speculative money flowing into gasoline futures contracts since the beginning of the year, mostly coming from hedge fund and big money mangers. “We’ve seen about $11 billion of speculative money come in on the long side of gas futures,” Kloza says. “Each of the last three weeks we’ve seen a record net long position being taken.”
These record positions that are driving up prices could certainly be the result of speculators’ legitimate belief that Middle Eastern instability and an improving economy at home make higher prices a good bet.
And yet, Middle Eastern instability is nothing particularly new. Even if speculators see an Iranian crisis putting more pressure on the oil markets than in days gone by, it is difficult to rationalize how this would result in a 100 percent increase in prices at the pump, particularly in view of the fact that we use less gasoline today than at other times of crisis.
While Wall Street’s ‘priority one’ is to make money, it is clear that, for this year, priority two is the destruction of Barack Obama’s presidency. Accordingly, from a Wall Street point of view, it certainly is a happy coincidence that that priority one, making big money on oil speculation, could directly lead to accomplishing their second highest mission.
I am left to wonder whether this is a happy Wall Street coincidence or a clever strategy that could pay off big-time come November.
Gasoline prices have a ‘real time’ impact on middle-class voters. Can you imagine a better way to make voters good and angry than to insure that they are paying five bucks a gallon for the gasoline that will be powering them to the voting booth in November? And if you subscribe to the theory that the President’s opponents would like to keep economic growth down until the election is over, what better way to accomplish such a goal than to force a precipitous rise in gas prices?
Maybe what we are seeing is nothing more than the natural and completely explainable reaction to events in oil producing countries and the promise of an improving domestic economy.
However, when you consider that we’ve faced these uncertainties more than once in the past fifteen years, and combine that with the understanding that we are currently consuming less oil products than at any time during that period, it is difficult to come up with a rational explanation as to why gas prices would nearly double in so short a period under these circumstances.
Am I simply getting paranoid as the election season is upon us?
Maybe. But there is no disputing that the higher gasoline prices go, the lower the odds that President Obama will be returned to office for a second term.
So, I’m just saying’…..
As a result of what is coming, it might be a good idea for the Obama Administration to start talking about the reasons for rising gas prices and I’d start talking about it now. This is one instance where silence is anything but golden and without a plausible explanation as to why the Administration is not responsible for what might be a dramatic rise in gas prices, it may be Pesident Obama who is left holding the pump nozzle come December.
By: Rick Ungar, Washington Monthly, February 17, 2012
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