Pair-o-Graphs

Pair-o-Graphs: Crude reality, are we kicking our oil habit?

Scott Tong Jun 6, 2012

Today on Marketplace we reported on intimate relations between crude oil and gasoline prices. Obvious, right? In our inaugural post to Pair-O-Graphs, we show that, over time, the two tend to rise and fall together.

THE GRAPH:


THE PARAGRAPH:

Pros like to say a $1 change in crude yields a corresponding 2.5 cent difference in gasoline. But, like purple kool-aid inching its way through a silly straw, there is a maddening lag. Cheaper crude can take a week or two to inch through the supply chain and into your SUV. One more thing: see the chart’s $147 crude spike in 2008? Many energy nerds think that was a breaking point, when Americans started changing their energy habits long-term. For instance, oil analyst Jamie Webster at PFC Energy ditched his car for a bike-to-work commute (he explains why in this video interview). In geek-speak, consistently high prices may have destroyed demand, the way they did in the 1970s. Ford Pinto, anyone? One of our favorites is economist Peter Tertzakian in Calgary. He writes about this in The End of Energy Obesity.

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