Silly Season: Politicians Distort The Facts About Gas Prices
Gas prices are driven up by specualtion and supply, not politics
One of the political hot-buttons for voters is gas prices. When they are high, consumers are cranky and tend to want to vote out the incumbent.
So, voters and consumers should brace for many half-truths and worse about gas prices as candidates try to curry influence.
Noted website www.factcheck.org says that there have been several recent distortions about gas prices doled out by both Democrats and Republicans:
Republicans say repealing oil industry tax breaks will drive up costs at the pump. However, nonpartisan congressional analysts and industry experts say higher taxes would have little or no effect on gasoline prices.
Senate Democratic leaders asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate oil refiners for limiting supply "to keep prices artificially high." But the FTC says the "vast majority" of past investigations found "market factors," not collusion, to be the cause of price spikes.
President Barack Obama in a weekly address in May said policies already adopted by the administration "could save families as much as $3,000 at the pump." Maybe so. But that's an administration estimate of cumulative net savings over six years for somebody buying a new car in 2016.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Tenn.) claimed that oil companies earn only 7 cents on a gallon of gasoline. Not true. That figure does not include profit from producing and selling crude oil, so it grossly underestimates the amount companies earn on high gasoline prices. One oil analyst calls the figure "disingenuous."
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