The power of social media revealed itself yesterday in the form of fluctuation in fuel prices based on a false tweet.

According to The Wall Street Journal, a Twitter account claiming to be Russian Interior Minister Vladamir Kolokoltsv tweeted that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad had been injured or killed. That tweet which occurred at 9:59 AM EST, was followed by two more tweets alleging the confirmation of al-Assad's death.

In the hour following that tweet, light, sweet crude prices rose from $90.82 to $91.99, and the jump took place in between 10:15 and 10:45. According to the Reuters report, the Russian ministry denies firing off the tweets and denies any connection to the account.

Price Futures Group analyst Phil Flynn pointed out "a well-placed story can move the market, and that looks like what happened." Though Syria itself is not a major oil producer, it is feared that Iran would react to the news because of their connection to and support of Assad

In the wake of sanctions imposed due to their continued participation in a nuclear weapons program, Iran has threatened to close off the Straight of Hormuz, a major throughway for ships carrying crude oil to the rest of the world.

Because of the hypersensitivity of the international tensions in the Middle East, and those trading in oils who follow the area closely, the rumor of Assad's demised spread like wildfire. The combination of Mideast unrest, and the spread of information through texts and tweets means it's unlikely this is the last time something like this will happen.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      hodad66
      • 6 Months Ago
      I honestly never notice anymore since leasing my Volt.......... ;-) The actual connection between production cost, supply & demand was lost long ago!
        krona2k
        • 6 Months Ago
        @hodad66
        There's still ultimately a connection between supply and demand over the long term, just now we have loads of annoying volatility thrown into the mix, price stability would be nice even if it was on a gradual trend upwards.
        Dave Schrock
        • 6 Months Ago
        @hodad66
        Good for you! I made the pledge that my next new car will be electric. It'll either be a Volt of if I can get enough $$ a lower end Model S. Can't wait to stop being a slave to the oil industry.
          Turbo Froggy
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Dave Schrock
          How much are you paying for gas a month? If it is more than $300 you can go and lease a brand new Volt or Leaf today for the same amount of money your paying for gas today.
          Marcopolo
          • 6 Months Ago
          @Dave Schrock
          @ Turbo Froggy nad Dave Schrock Well said ! (Peter Scott, are you listening ? :)
      christianii
      • 6 Months Ago
      show's just how much the oil prices have nothing to do with oil
      mapoftazifosho
      • 6 Months Ago
      This was a crap story on regular AB and you still brought it here...BRAVO!
      Smoking_dude
      • 6 Months Ago
      Crisis in Syria - uncertain future - the oil price rises. Peace in Syria - war might be comming - the oil price rises. Oil field depleted - there is no hope - the oil price rises. New oil fields discovered - new investments have to be made - the oil price rises. New technologies reduce fleet consumption - refineries are not build for it - the oil price rises. A big fart of the CEO - the oil price rises.
      Turbo Froggy
      • 6 Months Ago
      With a Leaf, Ranger EV and solar, I don't care how much gas costs. If gas went to $10 a gallon tomorrow my cost to drive to work, store, home depot, bowling, golfing, bingo parlor, hair salon etc are all the same, ZERO. I haven't paid an electric bill since 2009 and haven't bought a gallon of gas for any of my personal vehicles since 2001.
        Marcopolo
        • 6 Months Ago
        @Turbo Froggy
        @ Turbo Froggy Good for you ! Well done ! Obviously the price of an EV didn't deter you from putting your money behind your convictions. I hope your neighbors take notice of your good example and follow according !