Sunday, September 17, 2006

Quick Update - Gas Prices

Well, it has happened even faster than I predicted. It only took 5 days for gas to go from $2.65 to the first station I saw at $2.50 per gallon. This must be the result of the Middle East suddenly being in such a grand, peaceful state, with no more fears or pressures on the world oil supply, and our sudden therapy that has gotten the U.S. over its addiction to oil. China and India are also being good stewards of the environment and have cut their demands and use of oil.

I am expecting prices to balance out around this level for the next few weeks, and even go lower heading up to the election. Let's see if that is what happens. And, we'll see if prices just happen to increase after the election. I can't possibly imagine prices will increase significantly, if at all, even if a major event were to occur in the Mideast before the election. Again, time will tell...

Well, prices are down under $2.50, at least in my district where a Republican incumbent, Mark Kirk, has a competitive race with Dan Seals, a Democratic challenger. Now, I want to research something, and anyone who reads this please feel free to chime in. As a scientist, I can't help but to look for and notice patterns. In other congressional districts around the Illinois 10th, where there really aren't major challenges, gas prices are over 30 cents higher than in the 10th district.

I really want to know why this is, because it has NEVER been like that before! Prices are always within 10 cents of each other as long as I have lived here. I would be fascinated to know what the average price is in noncompetitive districts versus in competitive Republican districts around the country. And, the Kirk campaign sends out the occasional email campaign update. One was sent out this morning, and the only topic was his gushing over the fact that within the last 3 weeks gas prices are 50 cents cheaper, meaning things are fine and dandy under Republican leadership. I find this almost laughable, when literally across the street in the 9th district (a safe Democratic district) prices are still over $2.80. It is hard to conclude anything other than something's up! If this is the case, does anyone know the legalities of price fixing in specific areas? All I can say is Go Dan!!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Continuing Decline of Arctic Ice

Just an update, as two new NASA studies show clear and undeniable evidence of rapid melting of winter ice. Since December of 2004, every single month has shown new record declines in the ice cap. And to quantify it better, melting is occuring at an annual rate 10 to 15 times faster than in the past. We (i.e. the U.S.) will continue to do nothing constructive as far as combating global climate change for at least two more years with the Bush administration, but voters had better wake up some day and move environmental issues up the ladder of priorities. Do we not at least owe our kids a better world than what we inherited, or shall we leave them with a plethora of problems that will occur if the climate continues on the path that is clearly laid out before us? Let's consider this question seriously, shall we.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Let's Collect Some Data on Gas Prices, Shall We?

Here around Chicago something seemingly extraordinary is happening. Gas prices have been coming down steadily and even dramatically. I paid $2.65 today, a price I cannot even remember seeing for a long time. Maybe 2-3 weeks ago it was still over $3 per gallon.

I have to wonder about this. Yes, it is post-Labor Day, but demand has not fallen that much. Worldwide demand certainly is only increasing. The violence in the Middle East, at least in Iraq, has gotten worse, and tensions with Iran have increased, not improved. Al Qaeda just today warned of attacks in the Mid-East and against Israel. The price of a barrel of crude is still in the high $60s. These are all the reasons big oil uses time and time again to justify the rise of oil prices over the past two years. So why the significant drops in price? Is Big Oil simply so satisified with their record and mind-numbing profits that they are being nice to us?

Oh, wait, there may be another reason. Who is Big Oil's best friend, outside of the administration? A Republican in the House of Representatives. And I almost forgot, the Labor Day weekend is the unofficial start of the election season's final push, where voters begin to actually pay attention to all the rhetoric and character assassination that is modern American politics. With the GOP in legitimate trouble, with a real possibility of losing the House, I wonder if Big Oil is making the assist...I predict that oil prices will drop to about the $2.50 range on average, several weeks before the election, and remain there. Voters will notice the positive effect on their pocketbooks. The GOP desperately needs a pocketbook issue boost to offset the Iraq mess, and gain some distance from the president's dismal approval rating. So, let's just keep track of oil prices. Let's see if I am wrong. Let's see if there is a stabilizing and extended time interval for lower prices. And then let's see what happens a week or two after the election. Will prices begin a steady ascent back up to the $3 level before or after the election? Time will tell, but these will, in my mind, be interesting and important questions to note and keep track of.