Lower I Say! Lower! (Updated 2x)

Gasoline prices have been in free-fall for weeks. This has become the usual pattern before an election. It’s even more pronounced this year. I recall a peak price in my neighborhood earlier this year of $4.13 per gallon. Yesterday, as I was out and about, the going price was $2.69. Today, who knows — maybe even lower.

I’ve long suspected Republicans, in particular the oil-soaked Bush administration, have significant influence on gas prices. Although I’m not offering supporting evidence, I contend falling gas prices before elections have worked to Republicans’ advantage in recent elections.

Conspiracy theories aside, the price decrease scenarios in the run-ups to those elections were different than what is happening now. As Andrew Leonard explained on Salon.com:

A worldwide economic slowdown is depressing demand and popping all kinds of commodity price bubbles. No conspiracy theory necessary. Recessionary winds are blowing out inflationary fires.

Still, though, since October 14, the date of Leonard’s piece, gas prices have fallen what — another 30 or 40 cents. It makes me wonder — enough at least to share this metaphor …

Picture a contraption of some sort controlling gas prices. The contraption’s operator, let’s call him Big Oil, is sitting at the controls, sweating. Dick Cheney is standing nearby, his face reddening, as he shifts his gaze between a video screen showing the presidential election polls and the contraption. With each update of the polls, Cheney turns to Big Oil and yells “Lower, I say! Lower!”.

Well guess what, Dick. It’s not going to work this time. So step away from that contraption. Remember your history of heart problems.

Photo credit: Flickr user Tony the Misfit, used here in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons license

UPDATE #1 10/30/08, 8:38 am (h/t Mrs. QC): A pretty smart guy — fellow by the name of Bill Clinton — agrees political factors are contributing to the rapid decline in gas prices — and I’m happy to report he’s not reluctant to talk about it. Appearing late last night in Kissimmee, FL, with Obama, President Clinton said something to the effect that the only reason gas prices are going down is oil companies do not want us to pursue alternative energy. If I can find a transcript or video of Clinton’s comment, I’ll post another update with the link.

Meanwhile, when I filled my tank this morning, the price was $2.55 per gallon, down a full 14 cents in the last four days. Thank you, Dick Cheney! You just keep it up, guy.

UPDATE #2 10/30/08, 12:55 pm (h/t Tennessee Guerilla Woman):

Bill Clinton’s exact words:

And finally let me say [Obama’s] energy plan is better. And don’t you be fooled by these oil prices going down because as soon as they can sucker us in to forgetting about being energy independent they’ll go right back up again. And he’s got the best plan to liberate Americans and create millions and millions and millions of jobs. So he’s got the best policy.

The New York Times’ Caucus blog has more on the Kissimmee rally and video.

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