The US: The Saudi Arabia of Oil

By: Wednesday October 24, 2012 7:01 am

I recall hearing quite a bit from various governors that the US is the “Saudi Arabia of coal” or the “Saudi Arabia of wind,” or whatever natural resource they had in abundance. Now, according to AP energy writer Jonathan Fahey, the US verges on becoming the Saudi Arabia… of oil. U.S. oil output is surging [...]

California’s Competing Tax Measures Could Sink Both

By: Wednesday October 10, 2012 7:45 am

There are actually three tax measures on the statewide ballot. Prop 39 concerns a corporate tax loophole, and would dedicate the revenue from closing it to energy projects. That exists separately from Brown’s measure, and so both Prop 30 and Prop 39 could pass under the law. But Prop 38, promoted by millionaire lawyer Molly Munger, is a different animal. Munger’s proposition would increase overall state income tax rates to pay for schools and early childhood education. It conflicts with Brown’s increase on just the top tax rates (along with a small 1/4 cent increase in the state sales tax). So both measures cannot pass; if they both cross the 50% threshold, whichever proposition gets the most votes will get implemented.

Why California’s Gas Prices Have Skyrocketed

By: Monday October 8, 2012 12:07 pm

Brad Plumer has a decent enough explanation of why gas prices have soared in California over the past week or so. Being a California resident, perhaps I can provide a bit more insight into how this has played out on the ground. Professor James Hamilton explains that a series of refinery and pipeline shutdowns, and [...]

Obama-Appointed Judge Strikes Down CFTC Commodity Speculation Limits

By: Friday September 28, 2012 3:59 pm

Everybody get on the commodity speculation train. A federal judge today threw out the Dodd-Frank provision that empowered the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to set position limits on commodity trading. Judge Robert Wilkins said in his ruling that the CFTC did not prove the necessity of position limits to curb runaway speculation, and that the [...]

Administration May Tap Strategic Petroleum Reserves After Run-Up in Gas Prices

By: Friday August 17, 2012 7:35 am

Gas prices have shot up 30 cents over the last month, and stand at $3.71 a barrel gallon nationwide, the highest level since mid-May. Rising oil prices and a refinery fire in northern California have caused most of the price increase, but some of this is also due to the possibility of an Israeli strike [...]

Gas Prices Could Be Peaking

By: Thursday April 12, 2012 10:55 am

We’ll see if gas prices have truly peaked, because we’re not even up to a summer driving season that usually leads to an increase in demand. But the peak is often late spring, within the next several weeks (usually the low month for gas prices is November, in a boon to incumbent politicians), and other [...]

Democrats Continue to Push Speculation Angle on Gas Prices

By: Thursday April 5, 2012 10:34 am

House Democrats have continued their efforts to keep the notion of oil speculation driving the run-up in gas prices at the head of the national conversation. Yesterday, the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee held a hearing on over-speculation and its impact on the market, attended by, among others, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. In remarks [...]

Speculation Responsible for Portion of Oil Price Run-Up, But Administration Looks Elsewhere for Solutions

By: Wednesday March 21, 2012 7:42 am

Economists at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis estimate that Wall Street speculation is now the second-largest contributor to oil prices, accounting for 15% of the increase in oil prices over the last decade – correlating strongly with the expansion of commodity trading and speculation in oil futures. This makes speculation perhaps the most [...]

Yes, Gas Prices Do Have An Impact on Electoral Politics

By: Monday March 12, 2012 7:34 am

I’ve seen a lot of Democratic campaign operatives and even economic analysts talk themselves out of the idea that elevated gas prices represent a constraint on both the economy and the expected performance of the President in his re-election campaign. But new polling numbers make it tougher to spin this away. Despite trends that the [...]

Oil Speculation Can Be Right and Also a Problem

By: Thursday March 8, 2012 9:06 am

Matthew Yglesias has a piece making the fairly obvious point that geopolitical tensions cause the price of oil to rise. He adds that speculators are right to bid up the price of oil because of that: In the grand scheme of things, if the Iranian nuclear program really is a dire threat to American security, [...]

Romney Admits Presidents Cannot Determine Gas Prices

By: Wednesday March 7, 2012 7:35 am

The President correctly clowned Ed Henry for that absurd question yesterday about whether he secretly wanted gas prices to rise to bring about a renewable energy revolution. “Ed, just from a political perspective, do you think the President of the United States, going into reelection, wants gas prices to go up even higher,” Obama asked. [...]

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