Two-Faced Gas Face

GOP, Saturday:

Freshmen Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) – tasked with delivering the weekly party message – ticked off the administration’s initiatives that he contended will exacerbate the problem, instead of alleviate it.

Obama has “called for raising energy taxes, which the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service says would actually lead to higher prices. He’s asked the Attorney General to ‘reconstitute’ an oil speculation task force that has never reported its work to the public. He quietly pushed members of Congress to prevent construction of the Keystone pipeline – despite overwhelming support for the project and the jobs that it would create – and his lobbying may have made the difference in the vote,” Gardner charged.

Under mounting criticism and facing falling poll numbers, Obama addressed the issue in a speech Thursday on his “all-of-the-above” energy policies – a term borrowed from Republicans, who made it popular in the summer of 2008.

Gardner accused the president of failing to follow-through on policies that would bring down the price of gasoline.

GOP, Thursday:

Republicans launched a preemptive strike last week against rumored plans by the White House to tap the country’s emergency oil reserves.

Releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a 696-million-barrel stockpile stored on the Gulf Coast, is a ploy to score political points amid gas prices that are nearing a national average of $4 per gallon, Republicans argued.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is for emergencies – not political disasters,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said in a statement Thursday.

Both articles being at The Hill seems to indicate that the President being attacked for not doing anything about gas prices and warned not to do anything about gas prices at the same time is completely logical in every way.  If he doesn’t do anything, he hates America.  If he does anything, it’s a deeply cynical ploy to get re-elected.  Either way, It’s Good News For Conservatives(tm) if you accept the framing, which of course our wonderful liberal media will.  Horse race and all that.

Job creation?  Boring and soooooo 2011.  The election was always about gas prices, you know.

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71 replies
  1. 1
    ant says:

    I’d have to admit, I agree that tapping the reserve isn’t a good idea.

    It should be saved for shortages, not high prices, imho.

  2. 2

    The really unpopular fact about gas prices is that there isn’t ANY action by the US that would affect international oil prices as much as we would like.

    And no, we don’t want to talk about that.

  3. 3

    Slightly off topic but I suppose that any action taken by Obama that the Republicans call a “deeply cynical ploy to get re-elected” is actually a good move politically.

    Good to know. Might help my analysis in the days ahead.

  4. 4
    Zandar says:

    @ant: Case in point. Sigh.

  5. 5

    Both articles being at The Hill seems to indicate that the President being attacked for not doing anything about gas prices and warned not to do anything about gas prices at the same time is completely logical in every way.

    The Hill is rapidly becoming the lead wingnut bullshit factory, and have a new poll out today that shows Obama as the worst president ever. With dutiful oversampling of republicans.

    The GOP candidate have taken it a step further, that Obama actually wants gas prices high in an election year,

    (CBS News) COLLINSVILLE, Ill. – Mitt Romney is calling on President Obama to fire his administration’s “gas hike trio,” three top Cabinet members whom Romney accuses of being hired to help “skyrocket” gasoline prices.

    In other news, Jackalopes running wild on Planet Wingnut.

    Ed Henry wants to know what Obama plans to do for Jackalope control.

  6. 6
    c u n d gulag says:

    My favorite, is when they still scream “Drill, Baby, Drill!”

    And even though there’s more drilling for oil going on in the US than when “Baby Doc” Bush was Presitator, the price is going up.

    It’s a GLOBAL market, idjit’s.

    You want lower prices?
    Start another global recession/depression?
    Which you’re trying your damnedest to do, with talk of austerity.

    And yeah, our MSM wants, nay – needs!, a close horse-race. All of that ad revenue from CU is making them lick their reptile lips.
    So, dog-gone it, we’ll have a close Presidential race!
    No matter what we have to do to make it one.
    And no matter what the consequence is to the country, and world.

  7. 7
    ant says:

    @Zandar:

    Case in point. Sigh.

    what point is that?

  8. 8
    Punchy says:

    Gas prices are a nothingburger. Most peeps just deal with it, most of them know that politics cannot control them, and therefore PBO is not at fault.

    The Chirping 27%(TM), however, will continue to scream. At whom, I have no idea.

  9. 9
    Knockabout says:

    Stop. Just stop it. You have been told by dozens of people here that there’s nothing we can do about gas prices and that your constant spin trying to say it’s anyone but Obama’s fault makes you look even more silly than you do on a regular basis.

    You’re not qualified to discuss economics or any other science. Not even remotely.

    Just. Stop.

  10. 10
    vtr says:

    If the president had the power to control the price of a commodity and used it, would that make him a socialist?

  11. 11

    @Knockabout:

    Haz Zandar’s personal troll rizzen from the depths? What a silly comment, grasshopper.

  12. 12
    Ash Can says:

    @Knockabout: lolwut

  13. 13
    jibeaux says:

    I neither accept the framing that the president has “failed to follow through on policies that would bring down the price of gasoline” nor think that the strategic reserve should be tapped. And do not feed the trolls, esp. the incomprehensible ones.

  14. 14
    MeDrewNotYou says:

    Just about every post pertaining to the GOP calls to mind the immortal words of Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth- “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore.”

    Posts about Tunch’s antics make me giggle, though.

  15. 15
    Howlin Wolfe says:

    @Knockabout: Are you qualified, knickerbutt?
    And blaming “anyone but Obama?” Please indicate the language in the post that expresses that idea. Or implies it.
    And since you think you’re the one with the answers, please enlighten us with your wisdom. Otherwise, I guess, contrary to your bossy little post, we won’t “stop it.” FOAD.

  16. 16
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    I miised the falling poll numbers part? When have we started seeing that trend?

  17. 17

    @Linda Featheringill: That’s the case, and we certainly can’t discuss that, other than in quiet rooms.

  18. 18
    ppcli says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Standard bullshit. There was one poll about a week ago, that turned out to have oversampled Republicans drastically. It showed Obama with a 40% approval rating, and in a statistical dead heat with Romney and just barely beating Santorum.

    Of course, it was trumpeted 24/7 on Fox, and the gated media community naturally picked up the framing.

  19. 19
    rea says:

    Well, you’ve got to admit, the Republicans have a plan that would, indeed, lower gas prices.

    Crash the economy hard enough, and gas prices will go down due to reduced demand . . . see 2008.

  20. 20
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): There was that horseshit NYT poll last week, which was an outlier, but you can guess which poll the media focused on.

  21. 21
    Mark B says:

    As far as I know, Obama’s numbers are pretty stable … with a little bit of random noise. If the election were held today, it would probably be close, although not as close as the current polling data shows, which is skewed towards the Republicans which are sucking up all of the air in the political arena. Once there is a Republican nominee, people will be able to make a clear choice, and it’s not even going to be close. It’s not even going to be as close as last election, Obama will win handily and it’s going to be an electoral washout, except for the deep South.

  22. 22
    Falmouth says:

    To those of you not supporting use of Strategic Oil Reserves (all it would seem), using it in concert with allies at random times could hurt oil speculators and what other method is there to do so ?

  23. 23
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Knockabout:

    Oh, I see Zandar’s personal stalker is back, and spouting bullshit, as usual.

    We need a meteor for this idiot, stat, FSM. Please heed our pleas.

  24. 24
    redshirt says:

    I’ll say this: For the Insane, the Wingnuts are awfully easy to predict.

    I suspect Team Obama knows this and knows it well, and factors it in to schedules/speeches/etc.

  25. 25
    grandpa john says:

    @ppcli: One thing I did learn ,well 2 actually,from Nate and 538 are;
    1,To take any one single poll and try to prove a trend is bullshit.
    Polls with out cross tabs are always suspect. If you don’t know the breakdown by age, race, sex, political leanings of the population sampled by the poll, it is useless except for propoganda.
    As mentioned in your post, a poll that oversamples by party is useless and if the polling outfit wont give you the cross tabs they are worthless.
    Polling companies traits need to be studied. Rasmussen is a republican poll , always over samples reps and slants rep, UNTIL right before the election when it changes it numbers and becomes more representative. Nat Silver has proven this in his work at 538

  26. 26
    Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor says:

    @Falmouth:

    To those of you not supporting use of Strategic Oil Reserves (all it would seem), using it in concert with allies at random times could hurt oil speculators and what other method is there to do so?

    Transaction taxes.

  27. 27
  28. 28
    Biff Longbotham says:

    Driving in Bumfuq northern Florida this weekend gave me few good radio listening options. 21 years of being Army enlisted have given me a high degreee of resistance to teh stoopid, as delivered by officers and,(more to the point), winger radio shows. So I heard Rushbo blathering and stopped the station scan. He was hitting the point that Zandar’s making pretty hard–“bzz..bzz..fuel reserve just for emergencies!!..it won’t do any good!!..bzz.bzz..only will release 30 million gallons!!…” Very little of what this man says gets through my bullshit filter, but here was a hard number he was throwing around and, despite myself, it made me wonder. Because if true that would only be a drop in the proverbial bucket. So, anyone know the real deal about the strategic reserve?

  29. 29

    @Falmouth:

    To those of you not supporting use of Strategic Oil Reserves (all it would seem),

    and what other method is there to do so

    I support it, but it would likely only make a small difference of a few cents per gallon, and I doubt it would affect much oil speculation. What Obama can do is propose legislation to embrace the perception he can do stuff to control gas prices, such as windfall profits tax, and put forth legislation or step up existing laws for regulating speculators. These things would never pass into law, but would put the honus onto repubs in congress who would block them, and maybe wouldn’t do a lot if they did pass. But this is election politics, and reality takes a backseat to perception of reality. Silly Season

  30. 30
    Kilgore Trout says:

    @Falmouth:

    To those of you not supporting use of Strategic Oil Reserves (all it would seem), using it in concert with allies at random times could hurt oil speculators and what other method is there to do so ?

    Bingo. If releasing from the reserves will screw over some of the speculators that are driving up the prices then I’m all for it.

    It seems that even the rumor of a coordinated release with Great Britain dropped the price of oil over the past week. I’m all for a surprise release timed to do the most financial damage to speculators as possible.

  31. 31
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Falmouth: What are you trying to do? Lower the price of gas or prevent the price of gas from hurting Obama’s reelection chances?

  32. 32
    MikeJ says:

    @Biff Longbotham: During the Arab spring they released 30M bbl, not gallons.

  33. 33
    scav says:

    As I understand it, sample a population / poll often enough and it’s increasingly likely you get misleading or unusual results, even when doing thing correctly. Add in all the outfits not doing things correctly and those with agendas and I’d expect there’ll always be a worrisome result to flog.

  34. 34
    ant says:

    @Kilgore Trout:

    I’m all for a surprise release timed to do the most financial damage to speculators as possible.

    i guess.

    anyone know if they bought a bunch of oil in the late 2008 dip in prices?

    id be fine with it too if they replace what they draw down when prices drop.

  35. 35
    Falmouth says:

    @Belafon: I would like for the Speculators to take it where it hurts and make profits for them less certain. Lowering price of gas would be a benefit, but not main intent.

  36. 36

    well, from my link last night, it looks like Israel is officially agreeing with the US government that the Iranians have not yet decided to build a A bomb, so fear of an attack on Iran should be eased some. But of course, there are other excuses to be used to drum up oil supply fears.

  37. 37
    amk says:

    Great post, zandar.

    If only the two-bit, third rate, fucking fourth estate did their fucking jobs instead of their fifth columnist ways ….

  38. 38
    Culture of Truth says:

    The media loves gas prices because it allows them to seem populist, and it’s cut and dried. Prices are up 10 cents! Prices are 5%!

    Also it allows local reporters to use the term “pain at the pump” which never gets old.

  39. 39
    Matthew Reid Krell says:

    @MikeJ: Clever, that Rushbo. Get the number right, get the units wrong. Reduce the amount in people’s minds by an order of 42.

    Of course, that assumes that people understand the difference between barrels and gallons…not really a safe assumption.

  40. 40
    Biff Longbotham says:

    @MikeJ: Thanks, you are correct, and bbl is what I meant, not gallons. Still, a drop (x 42) in the bucket.

  41. 41
    burnspbesq says:

    @Knockabout:

    Wow. You believe some truly idiotic things.

  42. 42
    Redshift says:

    And let us not fail to notice that nearly everything in the first excerpt is a lie or at least misleading, and not just the quotes from the GOPer. The implication that Obama first spoke about “all of the above” this week because of Republican criticism is completely false.

  43. 43

    Job creation? Baaah. Government can’t do that! Didn’t Boehner say as much? That’s the job of FREE HAND JEEEBUS.

    What do Republicans do when they get elected to office? Stuff like this. Because the only legitimate role for government is to roll back cultural progress made by the left. Other stuff like jobs? That takes care of itself.

  44. 44
    Cat Lady says:

    Remember at the beginning of Obama’s term when the daily fluctuations of the stock market (if it was going down) was because of something Obama said, did, or ate and Jon Stewart suggested that the ticker be shown running across his face in news conferences. You don’t hear that anymore now that the market is over 13,000. Funny that. The wingers got nuthin.

  45. 45
    Matthew Reid Krell says:

    @Matthew Reid Krell: Just saw Biff’s reply. Never mind.

  46. 46
    MikeJ says:

    @Biff Longbotham: Don’t know if it is a drop in the bucket. When they made the release before they did it top stabilize prices without a lot of ballyhoo. They released the amount they thought they needed and it helped. When it comes to determining the appropriate amount to draw out Rush is not my go to expert.

    There’s no reason to think they would be constrained to only releasing what they did last time. Right now the SPR is completely full at 727MMbbl. 30MMbbl might be enough, or 60 or 120.

  47. 47
    artem1s says:

    Is it possible that this BS by the GOP is about them still trying to frame the President as the Black Jimmy Carter? They are playing all the greatest hits…unrest in Iran, out of control energy, etc. I’m sure they’d love to have a hostage crisis to exploit as well but it doesn’t look like Syria is going to give them one.

  48. 48
    gnomedad says:

    @General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero):

    Obama actually wants gas prices high in an election year,

    Because Obama wants to Destroy America, but doesn’t have the patience to wait until after he is re-elected to do it.

  49. 49
    Mike in NC says:

    @Culture of Truth:

    Also it allows local reporters to use the term “pain at the pump” which never gets old.

    Thanks to the wingnut media and their mainstream apologists, I’ve learned in the past month that the price of a gallon of unleaded gas is the greatest crisis the nation has ever undergone, or something like that.

  50. 50
    Culture of Truth says:

    Maybe Ted Koppell can bring back Nightline for a daily update on the price of gas.

  51. 51
    gnomedad says:

    @artem1s:
    I believe / recognize / whatever that:

    1) We are at or near Peak Oil and the sooner people accept that, long term, petroleum prices have nowhere to go but up, the better.

    2) The US, with 4% of the world’s reserves cannot in general affect global, and therefore local, prices in a big way.

    However, markets are chaotic, and I can at least entertain the possibility that, short term, there might be tweaks we can enact that are effective and beneficial, particularly in a down economy.

  52. 52
    shortstop says:

    @Mike in NC: I rolled my eyes at the WaPo quotes from a stay-at-home mom in Rockford who’s appalled at how much it costs to drive to her kids’ school three times a day. Gosh, I wonder if there’s any solution for her tragic situation other than lowering gas prices.

  53. 53
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @shortstop: Find her children a better teacher.

  54. 54
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    The US, with 4% of the world’s reserves cannot in general affect global, and therefore local, prices in a big way.

    Prolly a good idea to point out that in addition to only possessing 4% of the world’s oil reserves, we USE 25% of the oil…

    Approx 20BB/ a day, which I believe comes out to about 7.2B barrels/yr…

    Pls feel free to correct and humilitiate me if I’m wrong…

  55. 55
    shortstop says:

    @gnomedad: I’m glad that Obama is getting out in front on this, but unless I’m mistaken, he’s not publicly discussing the fact that using U.S. reserves will have no real long-term effect on prices. I sure as hell haven’t seen any other Democrat do it.

    Most of the even well-educated people I know have no idea that oil prices are set globally. It’s well past time for a grownup discussion of what can and can’t be done about oil prices. While I recognize that the eve of an important election is not the time to commit suicide by telling a spoiled America what it really isn’t mature or rational enough to hear, in the medium term we just have to get out there on this.

  56. 56
    shortstop says:

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): I laugh. It hurts, but I laugh.

  57. 57
    gnomedad says:

    @shortstop:

    I’m glad that Obama is getting out in front on this, but unless I’m mistaken, he’s not publicly discussing the fact that using U.S. reserves will have no real long-term effect on prices.

    As an Obot, I assume he understands this but figures he dare not mention it right now. Teh Stoopid is strong in this country.

  58. 58
    gnomedad says:

    @shortstop:

    I rolled my eyes at the WaPo quotes from a stay-at-home mom in Rockford who’s appalled at how much it costs to drive to her kids’ school three times a day.

    WTF? Linky, plz?

  59. 59
    Rick Taylor says:

    I don’t expect the President to agree, but I think there is a positive value to high gas prices. We need to make the transition to alternative energy sources, and that will be more likely if high gas prices make alternatives more attractive. Yes it would be far far better if instead of giving the windfall to speculators and oil companies, we paid higher taxes, and then used the funds to support public transportation and to help people hit by higher gas prices. But this is currently politically impossible.

  60. 60
    gnomedad says:

    @Rick Taylor:
    Ayup.

  61. 61
    gnomedad says:

    @Rick Taylor:
    This. I think it can be a liberal blind spot to always oppose higher prices because of the impact on the poor, but if this price signal is suppressed it will delay the profitability of alternatives. The impact on the poor would be better addressed with income supplements (perhaps financed by a gas tax), but this is Evil Socialism, so politically I can understand the preference for price tweaking.

  62. 62
    shortstop says:

    @gnomedad: Hmmm, now I can’t find it. Maybe it wasn’t the Post. Hang on…looking…

  63. 63
    Martin says:

    Well, things are a bit more subtle.

    While oil is a global market in the broader macro sense, there is some local variation in prices. West Texas (midwest) is at $107 right now. Brent (east coast) is at $125. The gap reflects the difference in supply/demand between the two markets and the cost to move oil from the cheaper to the more expensive one. If you could move oil for less than $18/bbl, you’d buy it off the one market and sell it on the other and pocket the difference. So drilling in the east (north atlantic) is what’s needed. Drilling in the midwest/gulf would lower that $107 price, and then you need to ship it east – which costs at least $18/bbl.

    So where you drill matters, at least to the extent that transport costs matter. The problem with releasing the SPR is that they’re all in the south. They’re in that $107 market, not in the $125 market, so in order to lower prices on the east coast, which are high or here in the west, which are also high, you need to ship that stuff.

    This intersects the Keystone debate to a certain degree. That pipeline is designed to only serve the midwest – the market that actually has a bit of a glut of oil. If we wanted to really lower the price of gas, we’d be looking at pipelines that can more readily move oil from the midwest to the rest of the country. As it stands, the Keystone pipeline is really a speculators dream. Speculators make money by exploiting the gap in commodity prices, either between markets like the midwest and east coast, or between periods of time, buying it now, storing it, and selling it later (called arbitrage). Keystone would only exacerbate that gap in commodity prices, not reduce it. It’d have an indirect effect on oil prices. It’d reduce the price of oil in the east, but to a much lower degree than if we built a pipeline from Oklahoma to New Jersey. The reason is that if you’re using midwest oil to drive down the price in the east, the prices in the east can only come down to the level of the price in the midwest + transportation + profits. The speculators aren’t going to do this if they don’t get paid, so the folks in the east are going to have to absorb that cost.

    The reason why prices are so different (they didn’t used to be) is twofold. One, there’s more oil flowing down into that market from Canada (thanks to the current Keystone pipeline, the one being discussed is an additional one) and up from the gulf than there used to be. We drill baby drilled. The other is that due to the arab spring stuff, and now sanctions on Iran, Europe’s supply from the middle east has been partially cut off for the last 2 years – in one way or another. So Europe is drawing more heavily from the north atlantic than they used to, and paying higher prices as a result. The east coast draws from the same market, so they’re having to pay more as well.

    What can the president do? Nothin’ really. He could campaign against Keystone and propose a pipeline that helps the nation more broadly. Dems would lose their shit, though, and it would take years to arrive. But if the situation reversed, it could also pump oil from east to west. But if everything is running smoothly, it’s mainly sit idle. It’s not a good investment if oil supply/demand is stable. A better use of that investment is continuing to reduce consumption. Reduce consumption and all problems get solved.

    Near term, he could lift the sanctions on Iran, which would be stupid, but it’d help. If we get into a shooting war in Iran (or Israel does) then it’s game over. Short of invading and occupying the country, the oil supply will get cut off and prices will spike. The arab nations can’t make up that volume for long, nor will they. So at the same time that the GOP is criticizing Obama for not doing more, they’re actively promising to make the problem even worse – and at the same time promising to lower the price of oil approximately 40%. It’s such astronomical bullshit that it’s hard to figure out where to start attacking it.

  64. 64
    Brachiator says:

    “The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is for emergencies – not political disasters,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said in a statement Thursday.

    As others have noted, this is all an attempt to get Obama to adopt a “drill baby drill” policy.

    The funny thing is that the president does have some room to open up more areas for drilling and still keep firm with respect to his overall policy. But the GOP will still keep hammering on this, whether or not it actually works for them.

    They can also blame Bill Maher, also, too.

  65. 65
    shortstop says:

    @gnomedad: Here you go. Note that Ann Romney doesn’t seem to be much better at choosing her words than Mitt is.

  66. 66
    Martin says:

    @The Republic of Stupidity: No, that’s right. We dropped to about 18.5B in 2008/2009 because of the economy (no job means no commute) and we’re up to about 19.5B again. We were around 20.5B at our peak. Per capita we’re coming down slightly, but overall we’re growing slowly again – but if Obama’s/California’s proposed fuel standards can be reached, we’ll drop overall.

    And the only real driver of oil consumption in the US is your car. In the discussion of oil use the only focus that matters is fuel mileage and alternatives for cars/trucks. Hybrids/electrics help in all cases because the grid uses virtually no oil. It’s mostly coal, so it may make emissions worse, but it’ll always make oil use better. The whole solar/wind debate is an offset to coal only. The whole electric/hybrid debate is an offset to oil only. Economically, they really should be viewed and discussed separately. Environmentally, they both help similarly.

  67. 67
    Martin says:

    @Brachiator:

    The funny thing is that the president does have some room to open up more areas for drilling and still keep firm with respect to his overall policy. But the GOP will still keep hammering on this, whether or not it actually works for them.

    He doesn’t need to, though. And he and the WH have been pointing this out. There are thousands of permits issued and unused and thousands of leases available. The last oil lease auction got almost no takers.

    Unless the GOP believes the President should have the authority to force oil companies to drill, he really has done all he can be expected to do to encourage drilling.

  68. 68
    Brachiator says:

    @Martin:

    Near term, he could lift the sanctions on Iran, which would be stupid, but it’d help. If we get into a shooting war in Iran (or Israel does) then it’s game over. Short of invading and occupying the country, the oil supply will get cut off and prices will spike. The arab nations can’t make up that volume for long, nor will they. So at the same time that the GOP is criticizing Obama for not doing more, they’re actively promising to make the problem even worse – and at the same time promising to lower the price of oil approximately 40%. It’s such astronomical bullshit that it’s hard to figure out where to start attacking it.

    The GOP fantasy is that we can have “drill baby” drill and a war against Iran because there is a secret huge reserve of oil just waiting for us off the Gulf of Mexico if only Obama would let the beneficient oil companies do their thing.

    People also think that the Keystone pipeline belongs to the US of A.

    None of this has anything to do with the economics of the oil markets. It’s all about the feverish dreams of conservatives.

    As an aside, the idea that the US would ever be able to occupy Iran subsequent to an attack or invasion is also a serious delusion.

    Unless the GOP believes the President should have the authority to force oil companies to drill, he really has done all he can be expected to do to encourage drilling.

    Again, none of this has anything to do with reality, and everything to do with GOP posturing. And, of course, there are voters who don’t want to hear anything other than that Obama is a failure and the GOP can magically free up billons of gallons of oil.

  69. 69
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Martin:

    Martin, good take except for one thing. The cost of transportation of the crude doesn’t account for the difference between Bent and WTI. Crude oil isn’t all te same, they’re not perfect substitutes. A refinery expects, optimized for, a certain type of crude oil. They do change the mix a bit to produce different product mixes. Refineries in the gulf are optimized for WTI or WTS; east cost refineries are optimized for Bent. It takes a great deal of capital to change what a refinery is optimized for, as well as downtime.

  70. 70
    Seanly says:

    Besides rampant speculation, aren’t there several refineries all currently undergoing downtime? Big Oil seems to be playing in politics & trying to hurt Obama by stealing a page from the Enron playbook.

  71. 71
    racing says:

    How much can I get for Steve McQueen’s jockstrap?

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