According to NDD at the Bonddad Blog, Year-over-Year gasoline usage in the U.S. remains significantly negative: 8167 M gallons this year vs. 8810 M gallons last year this week. That’s -7.3%.
Yet oil prices increased this week by over $4 to $103.24 per barrel and gas prices at the pump rose $0.04 to $3.52 (national average).
Let ‘s state this clearly: it’s not American demand driving those prices up. We can attribute part of the increase to other growing economies. But as more people are figuring out all the time, a not inconsequential part of it is commodity speculators. Then there’s tension over Iran that the Republican Teabaggers are trying to inflame – they just love them all the war and conflict they can gin up (as long as their family members aren’t required to actually serve, dont’cha know). Finally, don’t discount the role of the giant fossil fuel industry here – do you think they’re taking the Keystone pipeline decision in peace?
As the folks at Bonddad Blog state, oil and gas prices this high helped act like a choke collar on the U.S. economy last year. Given the relative growing health of the economy since, and the similarly growing prospects for Obama’s reelection largely as a result, that collar might be forcefully reapplied (or no action taken by some to remove it) in order to dim his electoral chances.