No word yet if the move towards the ten dollar a gallon gas prices that Obama “Energy” Secretary Steven Chu called for in 2008 is occurring gradually enough to satisfy his boss. (Not to mention NBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Politico.) But even Bloomberg News, the home of the ritualistic “unexpectedly” whenever bad economic news occurs, can see the handwriting on the wall this week, even if it takes them a few paragraphs to get to it:
Hurricane Isaac and a deadly blast at Venezuela’s Amuay refinery pushed gasoline to an almost four- month high and threatened to revive a debate about energy costs in the run-up to the presidential election in November.
Futures jumped yesterday in New York as Isaac forced closures of Gulf Coast refineries and reduced rates at others. That market is also reeling from an Aug. 25 explosion in Venezuela that killed at least 48 people and closed the country’s largest fuel-making plant. Futures are up 23 percent since their 2012 settlement low of $2.5501 a gallon on June 21.
Prices at the pump will be the highest ever for the U.S. Labor Day holiday, AAA said yesterday. The surge reignites an issue that has pitted President Barack Obama, who has called for the elimination of billions of dollars of subsidies enjoyed by the oil and gas industry, against the presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney. It also spurs speculation that Obama will release supplies from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to ease prices for consumers.
“Given this administration’s belligerent rhetoric against the oil industry, it’s going to be very easy for Romney to pin the blame on Obama,” said Stephen Schork, president of Schork Group Inc., a consulting firm in Villanova, Pennsylvania. “The White House will be on the defensive. It makes an SPR release likely sooner rather than later.”
In the past, Obama has been “unexpectedly” for-gainst the release of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, first saying that “we shouldn’t be tapping the reserve to provide a small, short-term decrease in gas prices,” in 2005 during his brief stop for coffee in the US Senate before hitting the campaign trail. However, he’s been much more sanguine about the prospect once he became the Democratic front-runner in 2008, and then releasing 30 million barrels of oil from the SPR in 2011.
Incidentally, last week I caught the video for the 1985 hit song “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” from Tears for Fears. Presumably, the band meant the song as a warning against individual hubris and greed in the go-go ’80s, but like Orwell’s 1984 and Amity Shlaes’ The Forgotten Man, Mr. Obama seemed to adopt it as a user guide. But watching the video again, which was in heavy rotation at the peak of MTV, I was struck by two things:
Old Conventional Wisdom: These guys sure know their way around their synths, but with their ponytails and pink polo shirts buttoned to the top button, they certainly look more than a little…precious.
New Conventional Wisdom: Damn, look how cheap gas was in 1985!
I’m pretty sure anything showing $1.45 a gallon gas is considered a hate crime in 2012 California.