One thing I love about the internet is that it is forever! Here’s the tweet that put me on the right path:
Which I followed to the story, in Time magazine:
Why Michele Bachmann’s $2-a-Gallon Gas Promise Is a Fantasy
By Bryan Walsh @bryanrwalsh | Aug. 18, 2011 | 2 Comments
Since virtually the entire field of Republican presidential candidates has decided to abandon science— with the exception of Jon Huntsman, whose negligible support has to be measured with an electron microscope — I could easily spend the next 15 months shooting down every false statement they make about climate change, energy policy or evolution. I’ll pass, though — Climate Progress has that thankless job pretty much covered. One of the reasons I eventually migrated into science and environment writing — after an early career profiling Filipino boxers — is that I find politics and political reporting utterly maddening. So I’ll mostly remain a spectator.
But on Wednesday Michele Bachmann said something that’s just very, very wrong. Which isn’t unusual in and of itself but is something that needs to be debunked. At a campaign stop in South Carolina, the Minnesota Representative took on the high price of gasoline:
The day that the President became President, gasoline was $1.79 a gallon. Look at what it is today. Under President Bachmann, you will see gasoline come down below $2 a gallon again. That will happen.
So Bachmann has promised to bring gasoline below $2 a gallon — a 56% decrease from the current average price of $3.58 a gallon.
Now, there are a few things wrong with this. For one, the $1.79-a-gallon figure that Bachmann cites is from December 2008, before Barack Obama actually took office. (When Obama was inaugurated, gas cost $1.81 — not a big difference, I know, but how hard would it have been to get the right figure? The data are right here.) More important, though, is the reason that gas was — comparatively speaking — so cheap a few years ago. It wasn’t because the U.S. was suddenly pumping more oil, or because the Saudis had decided to flood the market, or because the head of ExxonMobil lost his mind and started to give all Americans a 2-for-1 deal on gas. The U.S. — and the world — was in the depths of the worst recession since the 1930s, depressing demand for everything from data centers to electricity to driving. It’s Econ 101: precipitous falls in demand usually trigger precipitous falls in price, which is what happened to gas prices, dropping from a high of $4.05 a gallon in mid-July 2008 to a low of $1.69 a gallon at the end of December that year. If you see sub-$2-a-gallon gas again, I strongly suggest that you stock up on bottled water and canned tuna, because the economic end times may be at hand.
Of course, the other way to cut prices is to increase supply, and Bachmann and other politicians argue that we could do so by opening up more territory for oil exploration in the U.S. — a policy known in 2008 as “Drill, baby, drill.” She’s right — up to a very, very, very small point. For one, the U.S. under Obama is already producing more oil than it did before he took office. Thanks in part to new shale oil deposits, the U.S. produces a million and a half barrels of oil more today than it did in 2005 — yet during that same time period, gas has gone from about $2 a gallon to $3.50, with large spikes in between. And even if we opened up everything to drilling, it wouldn’t make much difference at the pump. A 2009 study by the U.S. Energy Information Administration found that opening up drilling areas off the East Coast, West Coast and the western coast of Florida would yield 500,000 extra barrels of oil a day by 2030. That might sound like a lot — except the world consumes 89 million barrels of oil a day, and by then will almost surely be using much more. Five hundred thousand barrels is a drop in your gas tank. Assuming OPEC simply reduced its own production to account for increased American drilling — which it would — prices at the pump might drop a whole 3 cents a gallon.
More at the link. But it’s great seeing a liberal proved wrong!
For some, gasoline has fallen below $2
By Chris Isidore @CNNMoney December 3, 2014: 6:59 PM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) Remember how excited you were when the price of gasoline dropped below $3 a gallon? Now, for a few lucky drivers, its price has fallen below $2.
The lowest gas in the nation could be found at the OnCue gas station on 44th and Shields in Oklahoma City. Regular gas was selling for just under $2 there on Wednesday. According to Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service and GasBuddy.com, other parts of the nation will soon see similarly cheap gas prices.
A gallon of regular unleaded gasoline drops below $2 at this OnCue in Oklahoma City. (Photo: Vince Voit)
Rural Virginia, Missouri, South Carolina, Texas and maybe New Mexico could be joining Oklahoma in having some gas prices drop below the $2 mark, he said. A smattering of gas prices below $2 could be seen in those states by the weekend.
More at the link.
Naturally, CNN Money tells us that falling gasoline prices is a bad thing, because, heaven forfend! Russia and Vladimir Putin depend on $100 a barrel oil prices for the government budget, and now they will have to cut spending . . . perhaps on things like invading Ukraine? Venezuela, another nation which depends on oil sale revenues, but in which the socialist government can’t even keep toilet paper in decent supply, will lose money. Apparently Margaret Thatcher was right, and the socialists really are running out of other people’s money!
Of course, the dramatic decline in oil prices has led to lower profits for the oil companies, which has led to a drop in the stock market. That impacts middle class Americans, who are seeing a drop in the value of their 401(k) retirement plans, but one the opposite side of that equation, the middle class, like everyone else, is spending less at the fuel pump, which makes up for some of the stock value losses. For poorer Americans, it’s a net win all around.
Of course, for the environmentalist whackos, it’s a horrible, horrible thing, and that pleases your Editor no end.
Hydraulic fracturing technology, or “fracking,” has proved the wisdom of Sarah Palin’s “drill, baby, drill” statement. The increase in supply, along with lowered demand due to higher efficiency technologies, has led to dramatically decreasing fuel prices. Had we been smart enough to have elected John McCain and Sarah Palin in 2008, and added new drilling areas, along with the Keystone XL pipeline, and hydraulic fracturing to get more out of existing oil and natural gas fields, the drop in prices might have come a couple of years earlier, and the US might have become the world’s number one oil and gas producer sooner.
Michele Bachmann was right in 2011, and Bryan Walsh was wrong.