Fox Business host Stuart Varney dismissed seasonal factors for the recent rise in gasoline prices to push a debunked claim that the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing policy is causing gas prices to increase.
During a segment on Fox & Friends about the 17 cent rise in gas prices over the past week, Varney dismissed the "usual suspects" for the price increase such as "the refiners, the oil companies, the conspiracy theorists, or supply and demand" and offered his own explanation, saying: "I think it's because Ben Bernanke is printing dollars, like, up a storm, and that is lowering the value of the U.S. dollar. And that means that oil goes up."
In fact, various factors unrelated to the Federal Reserve influence seasonal oil price fluctuations.
Gas prices routinely increase in the springtime thaw as refineries slow production for routine maintenance and transition to summer-blend gasoline. Gregory Dacko, a senior economist at IHS Global Insight, explained that at this time of year, refineries "are cleaning their machines and making sure everything is functioning properly ahead of the high demand season." AAA spokesperson Avery Ash also pointed out that "Various summer-gasoline blends are required in many regions to meet local air quality standards, but the fuels cost more to produce and the changeover process can disrupt supplies in the spring."
Greater international demand has also spurred increases in the price of crude oil. Recent projections of Chinese oil demand have risen for 2013, prompting the International Energy Agency to increase its world oil-demand forecasts. The continuing economic recovery has led to increased speculative investment, which the San Francisco Chronicle partially credits for higher gasoline prices.