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Short memories on gas prices

by J.E. McReynolds Modified: June 13, 2013 at 6:05 pm •  Published: January 5, 2013

How quickly we forget. How quickly our memories could be jogged.

Gasoline prices are relatively low and were a nonissue in the presidential election. What could have been a major hurdle for Barack Obama wasn’t, another election-year stroke of luck for Obama.

Yet 2012 set a record for the highest average gasoline price — $3.60 a gallon, or 9 cents higher than the previous record set the year before. Not so long ago, motorists were complaining about soaring gas prices and grumbling about Obama’s connection to it. Truth is, presidents have little ability to do much about gas prices. Their energy policies can affect exploration and production of oil, but gas prices typically rise because of international conflicts, refinery problems and disruptions caused by weather.

Supply and demand also play a key role. The highest one-day price — $4.11 per gallon in July 2008 — was blamed on global demand. The subsequent recession deflated demand; prices began to fall. Last year, though, the price started edging up and stayed high enough to set a record for an average price for the year.

But that’s a distant memory as 2013 begins. It may not be distant for long, but whether a record will be reached this year will relate to demand, weather and refinery issues, not to the supposed greed of Big Oil.


by J.E. McReynolds
Opinion Editor
J.E. McReynolds is Opinion editor at The Oklahoman and has worked for the newspaper’s Opinion section since 1995. He joined The Oklahoman as business editor in 1985 and was previously managing editor of The Journal Record. A native Oklahoman,...
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