Lately it's been the latter. During his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, Mitt Romney faulted President Barack Obama because "gasoline prices have doubled" on his watch, while lamenting the plight of a hard-pressed American "watching the gas pump hit $50." Message: You won't...
In theory, the price of gasoline - like any other commodity - is determined by what traders think it will be worth in the future. The difference, in the case of gasoline, is that the traders have learned how to manipulate the price. Many of us can remember when the price at the pump would remain essentially the same for months on end, even years. Now the fast money boys, working a bank of computers in a New York loft, run the price way up, take their profits, let it fall, then run it back up again -- hundreds of times each day. Prices always rise quickly and fall slowly irrespective of supply or demand, or a so-called glut.
If there is any issue you can be sure will come up during a presidential election campaign, it's gasoline prices. They are simple, important and plainly visible to anyone who drives. They're the classic pocketbook issue: When prices are low or at least falling, voters somehow feel better than when prices are high or rising.
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