For several years as oil and gas prices have exploded, a frequent media commentary has been to blame the problem on President Bush.
Either he didn’t do enough to stop a hurricane from hitting New Orleans, or it’s due to the war in Iraq, or he should talk to Iran, or it’s due to Cheney’s having run Halliburton – whatever the specious connection, the White House has been routinely at fault.
Yet, along comes Reuters on Wednesday cautioning drivers about upcoming record-high gas prices with a cause that, mysteriously and quite remarkably, had nothing to do with President Bush.
Better brace yourself (emphasis added throughout):
U.S. retail gasoline prices could hit an all-time high by the end of this month due to ongoing problems at the nation's oil refineries, automobile and travel group AAA said on Wednesday.
Problems at refineries? Surely, this has to have something to do with the President’s friends in the oil industry, or at the very least, Halliburton:
Gasoline stockpiles in the United States have dropped by 15 percent since early February amid an unusually high number of refinery outages, alongside robust demand and low imports.
AAA said it was "alarming" that gasoline prices were rising so high without the backdrop of a major geopolitical or natural event to disrupt supply, like a hurricane or a new military flare-up in the Middle East.
"Because oil prices today are at least $10 less expensive per barrel than when gasoline prices previously exceeded $3 per gallon, almost all of the price pressure on gasoline can now be attributed to America's continuing -- and increasing -- inability to supply enough refined gasoline to the marketplace," AAA said.
Hmmm. So, is it possible that in 2005 and 2006 when higher energy prices were being blamed on the Bush administration, refinery problems were also the culprit, and the White House actually had nothing to do with it?
Sadly, the article didn’t address this issue. However, you should be pleased to note that nobody in the Administration was mentioned in this piece, nor was the name “Halliburton.”
Nice for a change, wouldn’t you agree?
Of course, if this was an election year, do you think Reuters would have addressed the refinery problems, or done a better job of pointing fingers at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?
Sadly, Reuters also chose to ignore how much ethanol is involved in the current high gas prices.
Much of last year's spring run-up was due to the new mandates for ethanol blends across the country. With corn prices currently 50 percent higher than last year at this time, it seems a certainty that this is a component of the almost $1 per gallon increase in wholesale unleaded gasoline prices since the beginning of the year.
For some reason, ethanol has become the new third rail in politics. I wonder why.