TEXT OF COMMENTARY
BRIAN WATT: We'll start getting numbers today from automakers on how many cars they sold in the U.S. last month. One analyst expects sales of mid-sized SUVs to jump as much as 15 percent in September and that's mainly due to falling gas prices. The average price of a gallon of unleaded has dropped almost 70 cents since August first. Let's face it, gas prices are on a lot of minds when it's time to make a big decision. And there's a lot of talk out there about gas prices tumbling just in time for midterm elections on November 7. Humorist Tim Bedore says the conspiracy theorists may have something going on.
TIM BEDORE: I saw a CNN story online the other day about how the blogosphere is buzzing with speculation that gas prices are being manipulated downward by the Bush Administration because when gas prices do down Bush's approval ratings go up and so do the chances of the republicans holding onto Congress after the midterms.
In this CNN report, oil industry experts said the President could not significantly alter the price of gas at the pump even if he wanted to, but they never explained why gas prices have gone down.
Well, shouldn't they know?
CNN speculated on possible reasons: the summer driving season is over, there haven't been any hurricanes, we're not at war with Iran . . . yes, the reporter actually used the "we were real nervous about going to war with Iran but when we didn't go to war with Iran the oil industry climbed down off the ceiling and dropped their we're-so-nervous-because-we-might-go-to-war-with-Iran-so price-of-oil" prices.
Shouldn't these industry experts CNN talked to have a firmer idea why gas prices have recently gone down?
Because whenever gas prices go up these same industry experts have all the incontrovertible, we-can't-do-anything-about-it reasons why that happened. Oh yeah, it was a pipeline rotting out in Alaska, the refineries on the Gulf Coast are still off-line after Katrina, there are continuing problems in Iraq and the potential for war with Iran has the market nervous so our prices have to go up.
Well all of those past prices-have-gone-up-reasons still exist while gas prices have gone down.
The reporter gave one totally unsupported bit of speculation about why the oil industry has dropped the price of gas that was very interesting. He said the oil industry fears if Democrats take over the Congress they will go through with their promise to tax those recent tens of billions of dollars in record oil industry profits.
And to me, that explains the situation as well as anything.
And when gas prices go creeping back up after the November election because we haven't become best friends with Iran and the Hurricane season looks like it could be bad and the Pope made another inflammatory remark about Muslims and Mercury is in retrograde, then you'll know the bloggers weren't totally out there in the psycho-sphere.
WATT: That's funny man Tim Bedore and in Los Angeles, I'm Brian Watt. Thanks for listening.