Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Drill here, drill now

Like so many failed ideas championed by the Right, it's coming back. And it's probably not just because Republicans are really, really bad at coming up with new ideas and instead just continue to recycle (who says they aren't environmentalists?) ideas that have already either failed or been debunked or rejected.

An already debunked idea like this can gain popular traction only when gasoline prices are high. And if Republicans are planning on bringing back this tired meme this summer, guess what else is coming back just in time for summer driving season?

If you said “high gas prices,” give yourself a point.

Take a look at the following chart from the Energy Information Administration.

Compare the two big price dips on the chart – from August to November '06 and the one that began in October '08 (both right before national elections, by the way, which I'm sure is a coincidence). In the first case, the price continued to fall until February 2007, when it began to climb.

Sound like anything you've observed lately?

By May 2007, gas prices were higher than they were in August '06, the start of the drop.

In July 2008, gas cost $4.10 per gallon and began falling. By the time of the November election, the price had dropped 41 percent, to $2.40.

If history is any guide, we are looking at gas prices above $4.10 per gallon by Memorial Day weekend. And the fact that Republicans already are planning to revive “drill here, drill now” tells me that they know this is coming.

And if they know this is coming, that means the price of oil isn't subject only to magical market forces beyond anyone's control. It means that the price is being manipulated, and that Republicans are coordinating their actions with those doing the manipulating.

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