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On the busy corner I live near, a Shell station and a Mobil station sit catercorner from one another. Although giant corporations would never violate the Sherman Act by making horizontal agreements to fix prices, these competing stations, somehow, always charge exactly the same price for each grade of gasoline. Until this Fall, here in Chicagoland, with some of the highest gasoline prices in the country, that always seemed to be going up. The highest recent price I can recall, earlier this Fall, was $4.29.9/gallon for regular unleaded.

The price of gasoline doesn't make much difference to my life, personally. My two wage earner household drives one car, a 2007 Prius with barely over 35,000 miles. The gas tank holds just over 10 gallons of gas. We drive very little, using public transit for 95% of our work commute mileage, and rarely take long driving trips. We buy gas about once a month or less and the difference in cost  per tank, whether we are paying $3.50 or $4.50 per gallon, is less than the cost of a couple of lattes. It is not a BFD, for my two income household.

But in less affluent households, driving less efficient vehicles and with less access to useful public transportation, that is, for almost everybody else in America, the price of gasoline can make a lot of difference in people's lives and prosperity, personally. And though high gasoline prices almost certainly are environmentally sound as a matter of policy, the pain in the lives of ordinary working families, when prices reach new heights, is equally genuine.

Pain and fear are staples of GOP political messaging and so, inevitably, Mitt Romney and the GOP have passed by very few opportunities to try and blame President Obama and Democrats for high prices at the pump. Mitt Romney kept it up at the recent Town Hall Presidential debate when he was lobbed a softball about whether it is the job of the Energy Secretary to try and keep gasoline prices low. Romney played a totally phony gambit of blaming high gas prices on the President's sound decision to take back oil leases on federal lands from lessees that just sat on them and refused to drill. While that reduced the number of outstanding drilling permits, a matter of no consequence, it resulted in an increase in production on federal land, a matter of considerable importance and contrary to Romney's attempted point.

Aside from the phoniness of their arguments on the merits, the problem for Romney and the Republicans, now, is that gasoline prices have been suddenly plummeting in a way that anyone who drives is bound to notice. On the corner I mentioned above, the price is down to $3.53.9, as of tonight. According to news reports, prices are dropping similarly all over the country, from California to North Carolina, and even in Paul Ryan's own hometown.

Romney and the Republicans, of course, are decent, honest and honorable men and women. As noted by Paul Ryan's own hometown paper:

Gas prices have been a hot topic during much of the campaign, the story notes. Some battleground states including Wisconsin are enjoying big price drops.
Decent,  honest and honorable people can be relied upon, having piled on with the blame, to now give credit where credit is due.

So, follow me out into the tall grass to see what our friends in the GOP are saying about it now that gasoline prices are in free fall just before the election.

crickets

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Comment Preferences

  •  Of course not. (3+ / 0-)

    Because every single one of the idiot sacks of dirt squealing that Obama was responsible for higher gas prices knew in their hearts it was only fucking bullshit.

    The road to Hell is paved with pragmatism.

    by TheOrchid on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 05:45:34 PM PDT

  •  I wish that the (4+ / 0-)

    media would do their job by asking republicans that question.

  •  I saw $3.99 at costco yesterday in Santa Cruz (0+ / 0-)

    Today I was doing a little look see at my log book .
    I averaged 6.4 miles a day over the last year .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 05:49:48 PM PDT

  •  It's still over 4 bucks here in Oregon (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Porterhouse, LeftOfYou

    I haven't seen anything remotely close to a plummet.

    Just like I've never seen, in 35 years, anything remotely close to a serious investigation into price manipulation or oligopolistic practices by the oil industry.  Not by any Republican administrations, and not by any Democratic ones.

    Your title suggests that Obama deserves credit for falling gas prices.  That would presume he deserves blame for rising prices as well.  

    I don't think this country has ever had an honest conversation about gas prices, and how they move up and down, and what market forces are at play, or what regulatory forces might possibly be brought to bear.

    Oregon: Sure...it's cold. But it's a damp cold.

    by Keith930 on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 05:51:03 PM PDT

    •  I don't think his title really suggests it. (4+ / 0-)

      I think he's just pointing out the stupidity of Republican claims in the opposite direction.

    •  Like I posted in the other thread (0+ / 0-)

      No "plunging prices" here in central Pennsylvania either.  Not putting it past the distributors to keep the prices up to stoke voter anger.

    •  Actually . . . (0+ / 0-)

      I really mean that Obama deserves blame for lower gas prices. The policies of this administration have been extremely successful on both the demand and the fuel side of the fuel equation in America.

      Supply is up. Refining capacity has risen, steadily improving CAFE standards and more evolved American taste in vehicles has helped shrink fuel demand growth. It would defy all theories of market economics if prices at the pump didn't fall under such circumstances. That is good for the financial security of working families but it is only half a policy, because burning ever more fuel, even at shrinking growth rates, is bad for the climate.

      A true,  "all of the above energy" strategy for the federal government includes a proper balance of winning strategies for intercity high speed rail and freight, wind, solar, tidal, geothermal and other cleaner alternatives, with counter-incentives and denial of subsidies to the destructive technologies of coal and nuclear fission utility generation. Those kinds of policy shifts and the accompanying natural rise of fuel prices at the pump can't be fairly imposed on Americans unless we also do right by public transit, transportation subsidies and other policies to shelter fragile working family budgets from the financial shock of higher fuel costs.

      The stain of Bain is wrecking Romney's name. h/t to Lerner & Lowe

      by LeftOfYou on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 06:44:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You are absolutely right, I just spoke with (0+ / 0-)

      someone in the industry and they freely admit they are manipulating prices.  They love all of the fake threats regarding oil supply, they love issues like hurricane alerts, refineries shout down for maintenance(these are their words not mine).  Demand is down and prices are still high, you do the math.  

  •  I live in Alaska (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mookins

    and we surprisingly also have some of the highest prices in the nation, or at least prices well over the mean.

    Our idiotic right-wingers complain constantly about Obama and gas prices, but turn around and defend oil companies by stating oil is a commodity traded in a world market, and we shouldn't look at them for price gouging, or increase their taxes.

  •  Doubtful.. (0+ / 0-)

    He gets ripped for only creating 382 thousand jobs by the rupugs..yet..they seem to never talk of the 646 thousand jobs Dub ya lost in his 8 years..

    and the "so called" liberal media says nothing about anything..

  •  Are you kidding me? (0+ / 0-)

    The bias in the filters means that blame and merit for economic conditions only go right-to-left and left-to-right, respectively.

  •  Thank you for this diary. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftOfYou, Porterhouse, Inland

    I was at my local pump today, filling up. I didn't even think to look at the price per gallon at first, because what choice do we have?  

    Then at the last minute, I looked over my shoulder to the huge sign that states the price per gallon.  $3.37!  Hugely down from two weeks ago.  So I put another $10 in my tank.

    But I have no illusions. We have been slowly convinced that anything under $3.50 is a bargain.  And it WILL go up again, who knows when or by how much.

    I'm so freaking sick of Mitt Romney talking about "energy independence" when his definition of that is only MORE oil. Or coal. He doesn't have even the slightest belief in or appetite for alternative energy.  He's on record for making fun of wind energy, which is actually quite effective where it's employed.  I was in Spain this last spring, and there are "wind mills" everywhere there.

    The president, I believe, is well aware of what needs to be done. But he can only move as fast as America moves. IMO, he is constantly held up by what it takes to get re-elected.  

    And I don't blame him for that. Not one little bit.  Fact is, his #1 duty to the Democratic party is to get re-elected. If he doesn't do that, nothing else matters.

    SIGH.  I'm on a rant here, forgive me.  But imo, America's #1 problem is that we still think we're exceptional.  Well, we are so only by way of our poorly distributed wealth, and our resources.  In so many other ways, we are falling far, far behind.

    "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

    by StellaRay on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 06:00:24 PM PDT

    •  Gas Prices Have Always Been Too Low. (2+ / 0-)

      That is the sad truth, though it accompanied by conflicting, but equally sad truths, such as the pain I referred to for working families trying to stretch already tight budgets when fuel prices rise at the pump.

      A lot of those folks have to drive a long way for bad pay, driving gas guzzlers because they can only dream of buying up to newer, more efficient technology; , ,maybe they live in a low tax, low service state, county and city where overwhelmingly Republican electors have always thought of public transit only as just a way to get the help back and forth to the more genteel neighborhoods for their workday and not as an essential service for the public at large.

      Yet, in the name of good environmental policy and stewardship of our fragile planet, government policy should favor taxes and other strategies that would increase gasoline prices at the pump, if only to suppress demand and combat trends that worsen anthropogenic climate change.  But, to be just, we can't take such steps in a significant way unless we simultaneously protect folks from the personal budget shock of the shift in policy. Over time, most of Europe has managed this. The USA has never even seriously considered it.

      The stain of Bain is wrecking Romney's name. h/t to Lerner & Lowe

      by LeftOfYou on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 06:26:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes. (1+ / 0-)

        The USA has never seriously considered many things. We are riding our myth, and our luck, hard.  And NO presidential candidate has any choice but to pretend to believe in that myth. The "We are exceptional" meme is necessary for any politician to embrace, if they want to win.

        Which keeps America in the dark about how VERY MANY ways they are falling behind. This is clear to anyone who reads our rankings on a variety of issues.  Fact is, the USA is often WAY behind 2 dozen other countries, in as many issues.

        But, one place we always win---we put so much of our wealth into our military, and that scares just about every one. It's gob smacking to me, now many western writers love to write about other countries, like China, who put such an embarrassing and "undue" emphasis on their military.

        The ONLY difference between China and the USA, is that we don't parade it quite so obviously.  But we're only smarter than they are in our understanding of Pubic Relations in a democracy.

         

        "A typical vice of American politics is the avoidance of saying anything real on real issues." Theodore Roosevelt.

        by StellaRay on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 07:01:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The reason that gas prices are down (0+ / 0-)

    Is that the oil markets are expecting Romney to win and loosen regulations enough to make for a world glut. (/snark)

    Numbers are like people . . . Torture them enough and they'll tell you anything.

    by Actuary4Change on Wed Oct 24, 2012 at 06:10:13 PM PDT

  •  I must live in the wrong part of the country (0+ / 0-)

    considering that prices are not plunging locally.

    Maybe they are drifting down slowly, very slowly, as they are wont to do every year as the Summer Driving Season becomes a fading memory in the rear view mirror . . ..

  •  Drives me crazy that (0+ / 0-)

    President Obama and VP Joe Biden (one of my favorite people in the world) did not have the price of gasoline on this date in 2008 at the debates. In inflation adjusted dollars the highest price this CENTURY was during the summer of 2008. In inflation adjusted dollars, gasoline was cheaper on each debate date than it was in 2008. Obama eventually got an answer framed, but the number and the date would have been a fatal blow to the bs meme the right's been pushing.

  •  Here in smalltown outside of Seattle (0+ / 0-)

    premium's gone from $4.31 to $3.85 in the last three weeks.

    A little less traction for Republican fearmongering.

  •  $3.50 last I checked in Tampa (0+ / 0-)

    And just above the station where I filled my tank was one of the "Price on Obama's 1st day - Price now" billboards with President Obama bowing to the royal.

    But again, this is Florida :/

  •  They reached a high (0+ / 0-)

    of about $3.75 or so last week in the east Phoenix metro area.  Now they are down again; the lowest I've seen this week was $3.62.  Once we get 100 points on our supermarket loyalty card, we'll be able to get $0.10 a gallon discount to make it about $3.55.  At that, we may just fill it up.

    You can't keep a mighty tree alive (much less expect it to thrive) by only spritzing the fine leaves at its tippy-top. The fate of the whole tree depends on nurturing the grassroots. - Jim Hightower

    by PSzymeczek on Thu Oct 25, 2012 at 09:06:08 AM PDT

  •  Gas price in Canada (0+ / 0-)

    Commonly sputtered by Koch-heads and Tea Party twits that are high on Foxygen is that the XL pipeline from Canada would make a difference. Canada actually could be considered independent of 'foreign oil' or even energy independent when you consider how much they have available and export. Yet, the price of gasoline is the same in much if not all of Canada as it is in the US. They even have to pay by the liter.

    BP has rigs in the North Sea for the brent crude...yet, what is the price for petrol in the UK? Surely the locality can make a price difference.

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