Election week gas prices were year's low; started rising again immediately afterwards

Barring an unexpected Southward turn in the final five weeks of 2006, Americans will have enjoyed the lowest average gas prices of the year during the week of the 2006 midterm elections. Two weeks before, the prices hit what was then an annual low, and in the week after the votes were cast the cost of a gallon of gas in the U.S. rose by more than three cents (last week they rose by another penny).

If you'll recall, average gas prices dropped by fifty cents, or 17 percent, between the end of August and the end of September -- when the primaries were done and the campaign season began in earnest. At the time, the White House said that any suggestion the drop was related to the midterms was a "conspiracy theory," prompting me to ask, not for the first time, exactly how stupid they think we are.

According to Trilby Lundberg, whose Lundberg Survey of gas prices showed a five-cent hike after the election, the recent price hike -- after three months of plummeting retail costs -- is a result of the market having "soaked up" a "mini-glut" of crude oil from August, causing a "normalization" of supply and demand.

What's the source of said "mini-glut"? My new friend Ghandi at Bush Out points to this bit of gamesmanship during the summer:


… the Saudis and other pro-US players in the Middle East play[ed] a delicate balancing game by promising their OPEC friends that they would cut production, but then failing to commit to the cuts and even raising production slightly instead.
Hmmm, where have we seen that kind of thing in the past?

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