There Is No Gas Shortage

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There Is No Gas Shortage

Post by KaptainSteve on Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:02 am



But Washington, Wall Street, and ethanol and oil and gas companies want you to think there is, says automotive expert Ed Wallace

"They see speculation in the market, I see decline in global inventories. I don't think this is a big surprise, that we've had a jump in price when there has been a decrease in crude inventories."— Energy Secretary Sam Bodman, Bloomberg News, Mar. 5, 2008

"It should be obvious to you all that the [gasoline] demand is outstripping supply, which causes prices to go up." — President George W. Bush, Associated Press, Mar. 5, 2008

One wonders if verifiable facts ever get in the way of this administration's statements on issues that are critical to the average American's wellbeing. After all, last time I checked, when politicians are elected to public office, or appointed, as is Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman, they must take an oath to the American people before assuming their new positions. How can they forget a sacred oath so quickly? Were they daydreaming when they took it, so it never meant anything to begin with? Maybe it's just another promise you have to make to get into office: When you're securely incumbent you can ignore even solemn oaths you took.

Obviously, the two quotes that led this article came from discussions concerning the current high price for oil on the futures market. Bodman appears to be protecting the speculators in oil, as opposed to looking after the interests of all Americans. President Bush, apparently, has never talked to the Energy Dept.'s Energy Information Agency to see whether gasoline demand is actually up. More troubling, the writer of that particular Associated Press article obviously didn't look up the EIA's numbers to verify the President's assertions. They weren't accurate.

1. There Is No Shortage

Gasoline reserves on hand are at the highest levels since the early 1990s, which is remarkable considering the nation's refineries have been cutting back on the production of gasoline because their margins have declined. In fact, average gasoline reserves on hand have risen since this past October, while oil reserves in this country have gone up virtually every week this year—and only fog in the Houston Ship Channel that kept oil tankers from unloading their crude one week kept it from being every week.

In the same Bloomberg article that quotes from Bodman's CNBC appearance on Mar. 4, he also said that it was thanks to ethanol that the gasoline problem isn't even worse. He then added that the fact that making ethanol is forcing up prices of other farm commodities, including hog and chicken feed, is "nowhere near as important as trying to relieve pressure on [gasoline] supplies."

Of course, there is no pressure on gasoline supplies in this country as of today, but Bodman's statement must have made eyes roll among the executives at Pilgrim's Pride PPC; the Pittsburg, (Tex.) poultry producer announced 1,100 layoffs on Mar. 13, closing one processing plant and 6 of their 13 distribution centers because their company's outlay for chicken feed went up $600 million last fiscal year and was on track to increase by another $700 million this year.

Here's the scorecard, in case you missed it. There's no shortage of gasoline or oil in the U.S. today, and we have near-record reserves on hand. Meanwhile the Congressional mandate for ethanol has jacked up the price of chicken feed for Pilgrim's Pride, which is the U.S.'s largest processor of chickens and turkeys—by $1.3 billion. And that's for just one company processing chicken. This is what passes for acceptable to our Energy Secretary?

2. Demand Is DOWN, Yet Prices Are UP

Just so we can all get on the same page, here are the verifiable facts on oil supplies, production, and gasoline demand.

In January of this year, the U.S. used 4% less petroleum than we did a year ago. (Oil demand was down 3.2% in February.) Furthermore, demand has been falling slowly since July of last year. Ronald Bailey of Reason Online has pointed out that worldwide production of oil has risen 2.5% in the first quarter, while worldwide demand has grown by only 2%.
Source Here

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