Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Stimulus at the Pump

A fall in the fuel price enhances
The state of the nation's finances,
And the drag it removes
Most likely improves
The incumbent's electoral chances.

Most Americans have likely noticed a fall in the price of gasoline over the last month. The US Energy Information Administration reports that the price at the pump now averages $3.79 a gallon, down 3.8% from the 2012 peak of $3.94 on April 2. Some of the causes of this happy development include: softer demand due to the weaker economy, a drop-off in perceived tensions with Iran, additional refinery capacity and improvement in crude oil distribution logistics. As the incumbent's political fortunes seem to rise and fall inversely with the price of oil, one may now expect joy and consternation respectively in the Obama and Romney camps. Though, aside from the conduct of Iranian relations, the White House has little impact on short-term petroleum price movements, they may nevertheless reap some political benefit as the price of gasoline backs away from the feared $4-a-gallon threshold.

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