In this season of hyperpartisan horse racing, we’re not too enamored by polls, the insta-snapshot of where the election stands RIGHT NOW. After all, we’re just a mere eight months away from actual voting, so the constant statistical changes don’t really tell us too much. Plus, we, as environmenalists, are inherently long term thinkers. Consider climate change, or species loss, or energy innovation. None turn on a dime, and neither do we.
But that’s why a recent poll really caught our eye. Specifically, about Preisdent Obama and gas prices. A new WashPost/ABC News poll shows the president’s approval dropping almost as quickly as gas prices have risen. The oracles tell us they’re correlated. Even causally linked, if you will. The American people have spoken, and with gas hovering around $3.80 gallon, they’re not pleased with their leader.
The funny thing is how nonsensical this premise is. Pinning gas prices onto Obama is like blaming the governor of Georgia in the 1930s for World War 2. Yes Obama’s an actor in the play (let’s call it Unleaded 380, a Ray Bradbury sequel), but far from the only one, and certainly not the instigator, as some GOP candidates have suggested.
Global oil prices are set by speculators based on about 30 global factors: production around the world on a given day, supply centers, shipping costs, weather patterns, political stability, etc. Add in a few side factors like the European embargo of most Iranian oil and rising stakes in Syria, Israel and Afghanistan and you’ve got a recipe for demand to outpace supply, and that translates to an uptick in price.
That, of course, is the world’s simplest explanation of how it actually happens. If you’re in for more dense, reading, check here.
Odds are we’ll be writing about oil and energy prices lots more this spring and summer, as demand usually increases before the summer travel season. Stay tuned. And as always, feel free to chip in some spinach of your own in the comments section below.