By Steve Eggleston

Oil prices are at levels not seen since the beginning of the Obama Presidency, but in parts of the country, gasoline prices have radically risen. Here in Milwaukee as well as Chicago, the price of gasoline went up 80 cents per gallon since Monday as part of a spike affecting much of the Great Lakes region. In California, the spread between gas prices there and gas prices reached a record level in July.

The root causes of both spikes are the same – a lack of new refineries and boutique reformulated gasoline. In suburban Chicago, the largest refinery in the region, and one of only two that produce the RFG that is specific to the Chicago and Milwaukee metropolitan areas, is effectively shut down for at least a month by BP because of a leak in the the main crude unit. In California, a combination of a refinery fire, a strike at a second refinery, and California’s very-special environmental rules kept the price of gasoline extraordinarily high.

Yes, refineries have expanded capacity since the last new refinery was built in the late 1970s. However, this is another object lesson in what happens when One Big Factory (or in this case, Refinery) shuts down. Sadly, other than timing, it is nothing new to the residents of Milwaukee and Chicago – this spike happens every spring when the more-widely-usable winter blend of gasoline has to be swapped out for our very-unique formulation of summertime RFG.

The Marketwatch story that I linked to first noted that the shutdown of the BP refinery had another effect. As it is one of the few American refineries that can handle Canadian crude, the glut caused by that shutdown caused the price of Canadian crude to, at one point in the week, be half that of West Texas Intermediate, the American benchmark. There’s a certain proposed pipeline that could have helped prevent that collapse, one that has been blocked by both Obama and the putative Democrat front-runner for their nomination, Hillary Clinton.

One year ago drivers in the United States in general got an unexpected gift from the laws of supply and demand.  The US fracking boom which has caused the US to become the #1 energy producer in the world forced a reaction by the Saudi’s that dropped the price of fuel in the US in general putting money in everyone’s pocket that they didn’t expect, not just for drivers but for everybody who buys a product delivered by a truck.

As I noted in a piece earlier this year on Watchdog rather than celebrate this drop the Obama administration and others have tried to reverse this trend

These new rules, along with taxes proposed in various states, have the potential to do what the Saudis have to this point been unable to do: curtail the energy boom that has been the engine of the recovery thus far.  As Investors Business Daily  wrote “This war-on-shale action mirrors the administration’s war on coal, with EPA rules impossible to meet economically and sometimes requiring technology that doesn’t even exist.”

And to be sure Gas prices have slowly started to increase again.  The station where I fill up dropped to $1.99 a gal at their low and was charging $2.53 as of my last fill-up.

ma-gas-price-chart 10 year
With a national election on the horizon and terror threats in the news many in the state might have forgotten the fight that prevented annual automatic gas tax hikes for going into effect.This price increase hasn’t caused an angry reaction most likely because those now paying an average of $2.71 were paying nearly a dollar gallon more a year ago. ma-gas-price-table But if you’re a Massachusetts consumer grateful about that .90 a gallon you’re not paying this year, make sure you remember a debt of gratitude you owe to a few other people.

In 2013 The Mass legislature passed a .03 increase in the State Gas tax and included with the flat increase indexing the tax to inflation meaning we would get a tax increase every single year without a vote by the legislature.  As I put it at the time:

We get one chance to stop the indexing of gas tax increases forever, just one because if this budget is passed with the indexed tax it will not only never be repealed but it will be used as a political tool for years to come

I could see a bunch of 81-79 votes for repeal with every pol in electoral trouble voting with that 79 &beating their breast over the failure to repeal the tax.

Luckily for the state some people didn’t take it sitting down Mass GOP chair Kristen Hughes stood out with Tea Party members in 2013 publicizing that gas tax indexing.

and former GOP Congressional Candidate Marty Lamb who derided the attempt to increase gas taxes “to infinity and beyond”.

They had an uphill fight.   They were opposed by the Boston Globe and the Governor Patrick who were very well-funded.  In fact the No on one committee raised 2.9 Million dollars and spent 2.6 Million to save the indexed gas tax while The Committee to Tank the Automatic Gas Tax managed to raise only $98K spending 3.7% of their opponents.

Instead of big names they relied on a group of hard working grass roots activists and it paid off.  Despite being outspent nearly 30-1, the opposition of the largest paper in the state and then Governor Deval Patrick the group managed an improbable 53-47 victory leading to Holly Robichaud and Tank the Gas Tax being awarded the “Ballot Measure Campaign of the Year” by the American Association of Political Consultants

But the real winners are the Massachusetts drivers and consumers who are not dealing with an extra tax increase on Gasoline every single year.  Each one of them owes Ms. Robichaud, Mr. Lamb, Ms. Hughes and all those activists who gave freely of their time to keep the government out of their pockets a debt of gratitude

After the repeal passed I gave a warning:

The folks at the statehouse will learn from that result and be smarter next time. They’ll make small gradual changes, and reach into your wallet more subtlety, not stealing over their weight or attracting attention.

Let’s hope that if they do there are people ready to take up the fight once more.  Big Government is never stopped by accident, it comes from hard work.

As I went out to do my door to door for the radio show I went to get gas at the lowest price station in town and paid $3.829 per gallon, almost 60 cents more than just a month or two ago.

I took the liberty of talking to other people there as we filled. One on a fixed income who can’t afford what he is paying, another a white-collar worker shaking his head saying we just have to take it, and a third a blue-collar employee whose boss can’t afford a pay raise or even the regular hourly rate for his job as he copes with the higher priced gas. All agree we are near or at the breaking point.

And here in Fitchburg Gas prices are lower than most of the state and much of the country. If people are saying this about gas at $3.820 what will they be saying when it reaches $4, $5?

Anything who thinks President Obama will get re-elected with gas prices in their current state is out of their mind.

Update: A reminder of a promise kept

Update 2: Chris is talking trends, let’s remind Chris what caused that trend to be bucked:

See that big peak in the middle? That was the last oil spike, in the summer of 2008. Notice how the price hit a high point, then fell off a cliff afterwards?

The day corresponding to that peak, an all-time high of $145.16/barrel, was July 14, 2008. By some strange coincidence, that was the very same day then-President George W. Bush lifted, by executive order, a federal ban on offshore oil drilling.

Bush’s order was, of course, immediately dismissed by the “experts.” Reuters waved away the action as “a largely symbolic move unlikely to have any short-term impact on high gasoline costs.” Barack Obama’s campaign lectured that if “offshore drilling would provide short-term relief at the pump or a long-term strategy for energy independence, it would be worthy of our consideration, regardless of the risks. But most experts, even within the Bush administration, concede it would do neither.”

Yet the end result was surprise surprise:

For commodities traders who’d been pricing oil based on a supposition of scarcity, the potential for millions of additional barrels on the market hit like a thunderbolt. The simple act of putting America’s resources on the table popped the oil bubble, and a stunning price drop followed in short order. By election day, November 4, the price of a barrel of crude had plummeted to $70.84 — a 51% decrease in less than five months.

And Obama:

Bush executive order was officially reversed on February 8, 2011.

The price of crude that day was $85.85. By April 19, it had risen to $107.18, with no end in sight.

Color me unsurprised.

Question: The New York Sun on the topics of Monetary policy and the Sarah Palin asks:

…how in the world did Mrs. Palin, who is supposed to be so thick, manage to figure all this out so far ahead of the New York Times and all the economists it talked to?

They are referring to Palin giving a speech back in November that the WSJ covered but the MSM ignored.

It keeps up with the theme I’ve been writing about last week, the rule:

Watching the actions of the left tend to cause people to dislike them while watching Palin in context tends to make people like her.

And it’s not a new theme. Last year when Obamacare was first advanced it was Sarah Palin who attacked it and used the word “death panels” The media called her a liar, yet the congress pulled the language, then attempted to re-insert it drafting language to explicitly protect it as Palin warned. She called them on it. quickly and they pulled it out again.

Sarah Palin comments on Climate gate in the Washington post, TV and print media hit her for it while, yet at the same time the president skips Copenhagen.

Look at Libya; back in FEBRUARY Sarah Palin says this

Now is the time to speak out. Speak out for the long-suffering Libyan people. Speak out for the victims of Gaddafi’s terror. NATO and our allies should look at establishing a no-fly zone so Libyan air forces cannot continue slaughtering the Libyan people.

…this was when the Rebels were still closing on Tripoli. In March I make the following prediction:

The person here to watch is Sarah Palin. If she makes pronouncements concerning the rights and the protection of the Libyan people and they catch on, watch the White House react so the president doesn’t appear to be less of a leader than the former governor who is supposed to be not a serious political threat.

And a month later with Benghazi about to fall the administration acts. One can debate if Libya our business but if Palin was president in February we would be now debating the New Libya instead of drones and European boots on the ground.

Do you remember when Sarah Palin said this about drilling:

For years, states rich with an abundance of oil and natural gas have been begging Washington, DC politicians for the right to develop their own natural resources on federal lands and off shore. Such development would mean good paying jobs here in the United States (with health benefits) and the resulting royalties and taxes would provide money for federal coffers that would potentially off-set the need for higher income taxes, reduce the federal debt and deficits, or even help fund a trillion dollar health care plan if one were so inclined to support such a plan.

So why is it that during these tough times, when we have great needs at home, the Obama White House is prepared to send more than two billion of your hard-earned tax dollars to Brazil so that the nation’s state-owned oil company, Petrobras, can drill off shore and create jobs developing its own resources? That’s all Americans want; but such rational energy development has been continually thwarted by rabid environmentalists, faceless bureaucrats and a seemingly endless parade of lawsuits aimed at shutting down new energy projects.

Sounds pretty topical, When did Palin say this? AUGUST OF 2009 when gas was still in the low $2 per gallon. Bloggers covered it. The MSM didn’t. Where would gas prices and the economy be today if the MSM reported this and the president listened to her 2 years ago?

Palin Leads! Nov 30th 2010:

Palin however along with Rush Limbaugh choose to stand and fight, and through 2009 fought nearly alone. Without that willingness throughout 2009 there is no huge republican majority in the House this year. She held the line while you (Joe Scarborough) counseled retreat, that’s what a leader does

Dan Riehl Last week:

As I said to a friend and colleague tonight, wherever the current battle is, that’s very often where you can find Palin. One of the first requirements for leadership is to show up out front. No one will ever accuse Palin of not doing that. Doing so also has an interesting side benefit for any would be leader. When you lead, people tend to follow and support you, even if not at first.

James Pethokoukis last week:

Sarah Palin rides to the sound of the guns. It was a chilly, wet and blustery afternoon in Madison, Wisconsin — one more appropriate for a late-season Packers game than a springtime political rally. The stirring NFL Films theme, “The Classic Battle,” would’ve been a more apt musical choice than Van Halen’s “Right Now” to accompany Palin as she entered the stage outside the state capital building to address thousands of Tea Party members, along with a good number of extremely hostile, expletive-hurling government union rowdies.

So MSM, keep obsessing over the shiny new Trump toy if you must. But better keep an eye on a certain sharpshooting, grizzly mama. She’s back.

James writes for Reuters so 10 out of 10 for noticing but that last line is wrong, she isn’t back, she was never gone, you just didn’t deign to notice her.

This is why on an Easter Sunday people on the left were spending their time trying to co-opt a hash tag, this is why when Sarah Palin gives a key speech in Wisconsin on budget matters the media reports she is trying to get attention, but will play her mispronouncing “skirmish” in a loop. This is why from Day one the MSM has done their best to try to destroy her.

They don’t dare show Palin as she is, if they do their attempt to paint our current president as unbeatable will prove as hollow as the support for a totalitarian regime. Let’s quote a Glenn Reynolds post on authoritarian propaganda:

Places like Iraq, Syria, or Saudi Arabia spend a lot of time telling their citizens that everyone feels a particular way, and punishing those who dare to differ, which has the effect of encouraging people to falsify their preferences. But who knows? Given the right trigger, those brittle authoritarian regimes might collapse overnight

How often does the MSM dismiss those who disagree with their template? There is a reason why Rush Limbaugh refers to the MSM as the State run media

the Sun again:

It will be something to watch for in his first big press conference Wednesday. No doubt it will be one of the most crowded press conferences in recent memory, and there will be lots to ask about. But one of the questions will be how in tarnation Mrs. Palin figured it out so far ahead of everyone else.

It’s only a question to those who haven’t paid attention online, but as technology continues to advance, maybe that will be a moot point soon.

Let’s bottom line it: Sarah Palin is a leader, the current occupant of the White House is not. Trump talk and current Polls not withstanding I’m going to make the following prediction conventional wisdom not withstanding:

Sarah Palin is going to run for president in 2012. And she is going to win!

Update: Hotair sees The Sun but not the light beyond it…yet

Update 2: Brian Preston at the PJ Tattler sees the evidence but not the conclusion…yet

Update 3: fixed a sentence with a misplaced word

Update: fixed bad link

can be:

In the Atlanta area, where I am, gas prices are up $0.77 from where they were a year ago. It is worth noting that Democrats have been politicizing and blocking expanded oil drilling for quite some time. Consider this:

“Critics (of Arctic drilling), including Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., say the drilling plan would violate the nation’s last remaining pristine wilderness. Moreover, they charge, the oil would consist of a 6-month supply for the nation, and would not be ready for use by consumers for up to 10 years.”

That newspaper article was written April 2, 2001. For those of you in Rio Linda, that would be ten years ago.

To those of you who are paying between $3.50 and $5 a gallon this morning for gas do ya think that oil those fields would have produced not to mention the well-paying US jobs that come with it would be kinda handy right now?

Three to four days a week minimum for me are on the road selling ads, or going to the studio. Can someone explain to me with production down and new supplies all over the place why gas is up to $3.02 a gallon around here?

I talked to one of my advertisers this week. The rising fuel costs over the last few weeks have consumed over a third of his profit that he works like a dog to achieve.

Has the actual cost of pumping a barrel of oil actually increased to justify the cost? Where is this extra cost actually coming from?

During the Obama years oil prices have risen steady. The effect on the price of everything has skyrocketed because of this since everything we buy is hauled by truck.

Yet we see very little of this in the news. After all The One™ was going to solve all of our problems, pay our rents, give people “Obama Money” etc etc etc.

Well now that we have Republicans in charge of at least one house I’m sure the media will start to report on some of these problems, after all there is someone to blame. For example as reported by wyblog it looks like free checking might be over:

New federal banking regulations, the cost of complying with those rules and a reduction in fees banks can charge customers will change the financial products they offer, bankers say.

Who is most likely to need free checking with low (or no) minimum balance? Poor people. Oops. I guess Elizabeth Warren hates poor people. Sorry, no bank accounts for you! We’ve got to protect morons who can’t balance their checkbooks from being charged for their laziness!

But wait, there’s more…

She apparently hates women too; her credit card regulations require that a non-working spouse can no longer use her husband’s income to qualify for credit.

Oops sorry, that is the Obama appointment, but have no fear republicans will be blamed as Don Surber notes the NYT is already on the job.