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Becca of DelphiForums noticed an interesting coincidence between the current gas price temperature map and the results of the 2004 Presidential election: can you spot it?

Could this simply be a coincidental reflection of relative demand, population density or other economic demographics, or potential market manipulation by commodity traders, now under investigation?

It's not as thought there's any kind of evidence of Republicans ever gaming the system, right?

If this has been diaried already, let me know -- thought I saw it elsewhere, but can't find it.

Originally posted to GreyHawk on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 04:31 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Not a tip jar. (12+ / 0-)

    I dunno if Becca has a dKos account; if she does, then she should reply to this first comment and establish a tip jar.

    She should get the kudos for this.

    I don't see how markets could be coordinated so precisely, but then I'm no economics expert.

    I'd vote it being an interesting, and damnable, coincidence, but can't justify it as anything more.

    Still, I like the "damnable" part, and hope someone in Congress puts up a similar chart when talking to the commodity trading folks.

    Sometimes, it's nice to see 'em sweat.

    Crossposted from ePluribus Media with minor editorial adjustments.

    Never, never brave me, nor my fury tempt:
      Downy wings, but wroth they beat;
    Tempest even in reason's seat.

    by GreyHawk on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 04:35:40 AM PDT

  •  Don't know for sure, (4+ / 0-)

    but I think the variations have to do with different grades and formulations of gasoline mandated for different areas of the country.

  •  EUP of Mi gas is as of yesterday (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreyHawk, jlms qkw

    $4.29 a gallon. But that does probably include cost of trucking gas this far north, and Bridge fees. Not sure it proves your theory.

    "Though the Mills of the Gods grind slowly,Yet they grind exceeding small."

    by Owllwoman on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 04:40:36 AM PDT

  •  Let's ask John McCain !! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreyHawk, jlms qkw

    Sure does look Enron-ish, doesn't it?  

    And since Phil and Wendy Gramm are advising McCain, he should be able to offer a good explanation.

    •  I prefer "Enronesque" -- but that's only 'cuz (3+ / 0-)

      I ~think~ I coined that term.

      The accounting methodology and market trading schemes that were exposed through Enron's collapse certainly due appear to show up in a lot Republican strongholds.

      I wonder just how many "paper tigers" they've used to create their empire, and -- if it is so illusory -- what kind of match and flame will take it down...and with what consequences for the rest of us?

      Never, never brave me, nor my fury tempt:
        Downy wings, but wroth they beat;
      Tempest even in reason's seat.

      by GreyHawk on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 04:49:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You might want to shrink the second image a bit (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WI Deadhead, GreyHawk, jlms qkw

    it will fit better in the columns.

  •  As a former trucker,,,, (6+ / 0-)

    I can tell you that NJ was always one of the cheapest places in the country for fuel.  Number one or two, always.

    And WA was low as well, I'm told because of the pipeline but I don't know for sure if that was the reason.

    LA was much cheaper than TX, by at least 20-30 cents/pg.  

    These were the prices as of 3-4 years ago, and I'm using the prices of unleaded, rather than diesel.  

    So there are definitely some surprises on that chart.

    "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine 4080+ dead Americans. Bring them home.

    by Miss Blue on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 04:48:16 AM PDT

    •  Mmmmm... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jlms qkw

      ...if the prices you're talking about are the ones you were familiar with, and not the ones on the map, then that could bolster the theory.

      Never, never brave me, nor my fury tempt:
        Downy wings, but wroth they beat;
      Tempest even in reason's seat.

      by GreyHawk on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 04:54:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely (4+ / 0-)

        NJ is the most striking for me.  It was rare that any other state was lower-priced than Jersey.  To see the huge swing is something I'd like to hear explained by someone.

        I drove 2 million miles in 6 years - did the four corners of the country, 2 trips per month.  Yes, I did have several different log books, lol.

        But anyhoo, I have a strong working knowledge of fuel prices all over the US.  Or did.  And if need be, I have the bags of receipts to verify my statements.

        The only "red" state I see that has increased beyond the rest is GA.  That was also one of the lowest-priced states, and it sure isn't on that chart.  When going to FL, you always filled up in GA before you crossed the state line, and I see there doesn't seem to be much difference on that chart.  FL was always extremely high - right up there with CA.  Guess they are being rewarded for the 2000 vote.

        "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine 4080+ dead Americans. Bring them home.

        by Miss Blue on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 05:02:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Just noticed another anomoly (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WI Deadhead, GreyHawk, Owllwoman

        AZ was never lower than it's neighbors.  Same prices as NM, and on the far western edge it fell right in line with CA, except for the truck stops before the state line - they would do a booming business.

        But it looks on that chart like southern AZ particularly is lower than the rest of the state.  That most definitely was not the norm 4 years ago.

        "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine 4080+ dead Americans. Bring them home.

        by Miss Blue on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 05:08:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Don't forget hemlines and the stock market (n/t) (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreyHawk, jlms qkw
    •  Got a map for them? (0+ / 0-)

      Not sure how the stock market would map out -- how'd you approach it? Pick a few select stocks? -- but "hemlines" I'm assuming would reflect "uptight" ... erm... anywho, it could be interesting to see where those map out to.

      Never, never brave me, nor my fury tempt:
        Downy wings, but wroth they beat;
      Tempest even in reason's seat.

      by GreyHawk on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 05:25:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  state taxes? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hornito, WI Deadhead, GreyHawk

    What does the graph look like if you subtract state sales taxes?

    Also, there may be differences due to emissions standards, especially for CA.

    •  Dunno -- good question. (0+ / 0-)

      The emissions standards could well be part of it -- I wonder if a map of relative state taxes as they pertain to fuel is available, and if there's a map showing relative emission standards on some type of a rating scale -- both could provide a very interesting skew and/or insight.

      Never, never brave me, nor my fury tempt:
        Downy wings, but wroth they beat;
      Tempest even in reason's seat.

      by GreyHawk on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 05:27:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, time to hop on my 250 miles per gallon (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreyHawk

    bike and get the Sunday Paper.  

    Hope there are $2 in coupons, $1.50 for the paper, .50 cents for the 24 mile round trip !!!

    Happy blogging

  •  For real? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreyHawk, NRG Guy

    Not to be mean or anything, but the idea that there is some conspiracy by commodity traders to keep gas prices higher in blue states is a little out there.

    Even ignoring the fact that such as conspiracy would be difficult to cover up, it would create lower profits for gas companies to charge less than the natural market price in a given area (or if you believe they are manipulating prices, it would make no sense for them to artificially raise prices only in blue states).

    In reality the correlation is pretty simple. Blue states tend to have more liberal, environmentally friendly state legislatures, who are more likely to charge higher state gas taxes, and require more green, but also more expensive, grades of gasoline.

    California  has one of the highest prices in the union, for example, because it requires a special low-emission blend of gasoline to be sold in the state which, while environmentally friendly, is more expensive to produce.

    •  No, not particularly. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Miss Blue, Youffraita

      __

      Not to be mean or anything, but the idea that there is some conspiracy by commodity traders to keep gas prices higher in blue states is a little out there.

      __

      Yes, it is a little out there, hence the curious coincidence and the statements that I don't think it could seriously be that tightly controlled. Demographics of other natures must be driving it, and tie more directly back to the tendency to how a state leans politically.

      That said, there ~is~ a serious investigation going on regarding the very Enronesque appearance of commodity trading use to influence market prices.

      __

      In reality the correlation is pretty simple. Blue states tend to have more liberal, environmentally friendly state legislatures, who are more likely to charge higher state gas taxes, and require more green, but also more expensive, grades of gasoline.

      California  has one of the highest prices in the union, for example, because it requires a special low-emission blend of gasoline to be sold in the state which, while environmentally friendly, is more expensive to produce.

      __

      You're probably dead-on accurate here -- but, given the climate of the investigation, isn't it fun to see such a map and think such GOPpish thoughts?

      Aren'tcha just a little happy at the thought that someone investigating the commodity trading issues could pop this up on the board in court and ask for traders to explain it, knowing that they probably could but it would still look damning anyway?

      ...no? Not even a ~little~ schadenfreude?

      Never, never brave me, nor my fury tempt:
        Downy wings, but wroth they beat;
      Tempest even in reason's seat.

      by GreyHawk on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 05:33:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Couple flaws in your post (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WI Deadhead, GreyHawk, Youffraita

      One - Prices went up in every state, not just blue ones.  It's the whole picture that is being discussed.

      Two - What is the explanation for a couple blue states making a dramatic swing from being some of the lowest-priced in the country to some of the highest, such as NJ and WA?

      Three - What is the explanation for AZ being so much lower-priced than it's neighbors, which was not true in the past?

      "But your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore"--Prine 4080+ dead Americans. Bring them home.

      by Miss Blue on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 05:36:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The big swings in "traditionally low" states was (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Miss Blue

        something that I certainly hadn't expected to see; I'd posted this as a "Hey, wow -- curious and yet damning" type of thing, but without any thought that such a real connection could exist.

        I loved how your post on trucking-based travel experience actually provided another couple of factoids to consider.

        Never, never brave me, nor my fury tempt:
          Downy wings, but wroth they beat;
        Tempest even in reason's seat.

        by GreyHawk on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 08:27:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  You have points but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GreyHawk

      also consider the high political players heavily invested in the oil & gas industry. I find it ridiculous to think they would NOT meddled in something so close to their pocket book.
      Especially if it happens to take a petty swipe at states they may feel "slighted" by as well.

      -7.50/-7.90 Everyone knows I'm out in left field.

      by WiseFerret on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 06:19:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Like" maps (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreyHawk

    I looked at a county map of the 2004  election, since the gas price map is a county map, and the comparison is, I think, harder to see.  Here is a link of the map.

    I don't know how to add the image here.

    •  Here it is: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Land of Enchantment

      ...but, that version of the map is using purples. Here's a straight red-blue of the same -- it's easier to see why it's less of a correlating factor if compared by county:

      Not sure if there is a good correlation method anyway without actually adjusting either map to utilize the same shading scheme -- otherwise, it's all just "shades of grey purple" and colorful interpretations.

      Never, never brave me, nor my fury tempt:
        Downy wings, but wroth they beat;
      Tempest even in reason's seat.

      by GreyHawk on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 08:39:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  According to the American Petroleum Institute... (3+ / 0-)

    and Common Sense Junction (2007):

    Of the ten states with the highest tax on gasoline:

    New York, Hawaii, California, Illinois, Connecticut, Michigan, Nevada, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida

    eight went for Kerry in 2004.

    Of the ten states with the lowest tax on gasoline:

    Alaska, Wyoming, New Jersey, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Missouri, New Mexico, Kentucky, Mississippi, Arkansas

    only one went for Kerry in 2004.

    This was a neat catch, but unfortunately the relationship is spurious.

    Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. -- Salvor Hardin

    by TexasAMC on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 06:14:50 AM PDT

  •  Tax levels in some of the blue states.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreyHawk, nathguy

    may also be a factor, as they tend to be higher because of the needs of the larger population bases, and the service levels the blue states provide verses red states.

    Just a thought....

    ELECT LIBERAL PROGRESSIVES NOW!

    by Hornito on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 06:15:41 AM PDT

  •  my guess is several factors (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreyHawk

    gas formulations (if the whole damned country used the same environmentally friendly formula as CA, we'd see less difference)
    taxes (notice that Minnesota isn't one of the "hot spots" - we have ridiculously cheap gas taxes. This is how we build such excellent bridges.)
    refinery availability. There is little leeway on refineries, especially in states with special formulas.
    Demand. Many of these "warmer" states have high economic activity compared to, say, the deep south or the great plains. Lots of tourists in some cases as well.  Note that Florida is a little warmer; that's a tourist state too.

  •  prfessor pollkatz identified it first (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreyHawk

    George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

    by nathguy on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 06:56:59 AM PDT

  •  Not sure if the two can be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreyHawk

    accurately linked, but it sounds interesting.

    But in California (traditionally blue), we don't have the best public transportation system throughout the state, thus, we are driving more than most other states.

    But for those of us who believe in conspiracies, this diary makes a good argument.

  •  gas prices, election results, and tin-foil hats (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreyHawk

    Consider the following factors that are likely to directly influence local gas prices:
     - Cost of a barrel of oil
     - federal gas taxes
     - state/local gas taxes
     - state special formulation requirements
     - petroleum miles (equivalent of food miles).   How far does
       gas have to travel (before and after refining) to get to
       your gas tank once it enters the country.  What are the
       transportation costs.
     - cost of real estate
     - cost of labor

    Now consider that blue states are generally higher income (and high cost of living) states, have higher taxes, probably more environmental laws, higher population density, etc.  Everything costs more there.   I would expect to see a corelation without any price fixing.   If there is any price fixing going on, you have to at least compensate for the legitimate variations before you allege foul play.  Corellation isn't causation.

    EIA state profiles
    http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/...

    --
    -6.25, -6.36 Worst. President. Dictator. Ever.

    by whitis on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 01:32:43 PM PDT

    •  This isn't meant to imply a conspiracy, but (0+ / 0-)

      instead to note the interesting similarity, speculate on the various factors that could in play, and remind people that there ~is~ an alleged conspiracy re: price fixing already under investigation; nobody has directly alleged that the current "price temperatures" ~are~ directly a result of any shenanigans.

      ...but it is fun to point out the coincidence while the investigations into the enronesque trading behaviors are underway. :)

      Never, never brave me, nor my fury tempt:
        Downy wings, but wroth they beat;
      Tempest even in reason's seat.

      by GreyHawk on Sun Jun 01, 2008 at 03:10:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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