NBC Follows ABC's Lead, Wall Street Speculators and Oil Companies to Blame for High Gas Prices
While ABC's World News declared "a big chunk of the pain at the pump is Wall Street's fault" on Thursday, on NBC's Nightly News, anchor Brian Williams similarly announced: "The problem is gas prices are largely set by commodities traders, also known these days as speculators."
Correspondent Miguel Almaguer reported on "backlash from both sides of the register" as a sound bite played of Los Angeles gas station owner Andre Van Der Valk ranting: "Consumers should be very, very angry and very challenging of the oil companies. That's where it all starts."
Almaguer listed reasons for the boost in cost, conveniently leaving out Obama administration policies: "The daily spike in gas is blamed mostly on unrest in the Middle East and a rash of refinery shutdowns, but oil production is up and demand at a 15-year low. Some analysts say speculators and investors are pushing up prices, too."
Oil trader Dan Dicker backed up Almaguer's assertion: "The main reason that nobody talks about, but is really true, is about all of these financial inputs into oil price."
President Obama was mentioned in the piece, but only in the context of him telling the American people "there's no quick fix." In a clip of the President that followed, Obama proclaimed: "You know, we can't just drill our way to lower gas prices. We're not going to overnight solve the problem of world oil markets. There is no silver bullet."
Here is full transcript of the February 23 report:
7:01PM ET SEGMENT:
WILLIAMS: While Americans slept, gas prices went up another three and a half cents. It's not a supply problem, right now there's plenty on hand. And it's not a demand problem, we're using much less gas than we do during the summer months. The problem is gas prices are largely set by commodities traders, also known these days as speculators. And with just the hint of military action in the Middle East between Iran and Israel and a few other factors, it drives up the price of the one liquid that can be the lynch pin of the U.S. economy. The one thing that can affect everybody and make everything more expensive, these pump prices are getting the attention of a lot of Americans. Today that included the President. It's where we begin tonight with NBC's Miguel Almaguer in L.A. Miguel, good evening.
MIGUEL ALMAGUER: Brian, good evening. We found a bargain for you tonight, $4.35 a gallon for regular at this gas station. A deal, because so many stations are charging upwards of $5 a gallon. The gas station owner here telling us he's been forced to raise his prices every day, sometimes every hour.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: $96.92.
ALMAGUER: The pinch at the pump is putting the squeeze on drivers everywhere. Today, backlash from both sides of the register. Andre Van Der Valk owns three gas stations, a Chevron, Texaco, and this Shell.
ANDRE VAN DER VALK: Consumers should be very, very angry and very challenging of the oil companies. That's where it all starts.
ALMAGUER: From California, where the average price for unleaded gas spiked 11 cents in two days.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: $110 Bucks.
ALMAGUER: To New York, where the state average is edging close to $4 a gallon.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN B: I think it is out of control.
ALMAGUER: Anger over what AAA predicts could be record highs this summer, a projected national average of $4.35 a gallon, with some states topping $5. The President today in Miami said there's no quick fix.
BARACK OBAMA: You know, we can't just drill our way to lower gas prices. We're not going to overnight solve the problem of world oil markets. There is no silver bullet.
ALMAGUER: The issue quickly becoming political.
NEWT GINGRICH: I've developed a program for American energy so no future president will ever bow to a Saudi king again and so every American can look forward to $2.50 a gallon gasoline.
ALMAGUER: The daily spike in gas is blamed mostly on unrest in the Middle East and a rash of refinery shutdowns, but oil production is up and demand at a 15-year low. Some analysts say speculators and investors are pushing up prices, too.
DAN DICKER [OIL TRADER]: The main reason that nobody talks about, but is really true, is about all of these financial inputs into oil price.
ALMAGUER: With the national average for a gallon of regular now at $3.61 a gallon, up 42 cents from a year ago today, it's driven some commuters in Chicago to down size from four wheels to two.
ADAM JUREVIS [MOTORCYCLE STORE OWNER]: I have a lot of customers that come in that own larger vehicles, SUVs, that come in and say that they need a cheaper alternative to get to work.
ALMAGUER: For some, a scooter will have to do for now, but it's a short-term fix to a long-term problem. As you can see behind me, gas prices are only on the rise. Brian.
WILLIAMS: Miguel Almaguer in Los Angeles starting us off. Thanks.