Union Leader Defends Oil Speculators And Ignores Presidential Action As Gas Prices Fall

After blaming President Obama when gas prices were high, the New Hampshire Union Leader is now misleadingly crediting “oil companies and speculators” now that gas prices have dropped. However, analysts credit Obama's policies in part for the price decrease, a fact unmentioned by the Union Leader.

The December 8 editorial went after U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen - who has previously asked the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to “crack down speculation in commodities markets” - claiming the senator should apologize for previously blaming speculators and oil companies for rising gas prices, because speculators have recently played a role in falling prices. The editorial continued:

Bloomberg Businessweek reported that oil speculators played a role in the falling prices. “Since June, then, speculators have dumped the equivalent of 500 million barrels of oil onto the futures market,” the magazine reported. That did not cause the price crash, which was mostly the result of increased supply. But speculators added to the downward pressure.

“Mostly they've been blamed for making prices go higher,” the Bloomberg Businessweek report noted. “This time, though, the opposite is true.”

Shaheen has spent years demonizing oil companies and speculators and trying to get Congress to investigate speculators and regulate them more heavily. But she only brings them up when prices are rising. That tells Granite Staters two things: 1) Shaheen has no idea how markets work; and 2) she is not above falsely accusing others of acting in bad faith if it will help her get elected.

But a previous Bloomberg Businessweek article explained that several of the previous surges in the price of gas during Obama's presidency were in fact due to “speculators - specifically noncommercial users” which is “jargon for investors who are buying up futures contracts not because they intend to use the oil, but because they think it's a good investment ... these are money managers betting that prices will go up.”

In addition, in October 2012, when gas prices were much higher due in part to oil speculation, the Union Leader's editorial board instead blamed President Obama, claiming his “false promises” caused higher gas prices (emphasis added):

In August of 2008, Obama called McCain “in the pocket” of big oil and said he would lower gas prices by investing taxpayer money in alternative energy, raising taxes on oil companies and regulations on auto companies, producing more hybrid cars, building a natural gas pipeline connecting Alaska and Canada, and approving very limited new drilling.

How did that work out? The average price of a gallon of gas was $3.76 in September of 2008, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency. This September it was $3.91. Obama's grand solution was just hot air. He had no idea what he was talking about, and no intention of following through on it. Instead of low gas prices, we got Solyndra, the Chevy Volt, and billions squandered on high-speed rail.

Americans are hurting in so many ways because of this President's false promises. Add gas prices to that long list.

Now in 2014, analysts are actually crediting the exact policies President Obama enacted as driving the recent price drop, a factor the Union Leader ignores in their attack on Shaheen. A CNN Money article explained the reasons for the lower prices, several of which were a result of President Obama's policies (emphasis added):

Several factors are pushing down gas prices, including an increase in U.S. oil production, OPEC's recent decision not to cut production, weak demand due to an economic slowdown in Europe and Asia, more fuel efficient vehicles greater and a stronger dollar.