Even with Chicago area gasoline prices approaching $4/gal, with crude oil prices topping $100/barrel why isn’t gasoline more expensive yet? In the past, the oil companies have never hesitated to raise gasoline prices for any and all reasons. Why so shy now? Do I have Dick Cheney to thank once again for this restraint? During the Bush W years, he and Cheney’s big oil pals have done very well indeed, so I’m sure they owe them big time. If gasoline prices shot up to $6 or $7 per gallon in a short period of time before an election, that would cause a great deal of political trouble. Sadly it seems that Americans are more concerned about the price of gasoline than thousands dead in an unending war in Iraq.
With that in mind, gas prices might be used as a barometer of big oil’s confidence in John McCain. If they are confident that he can win the White House in November, then gasoline prices will not rise sharply during the upcoming summer driving season. Perhaps they will stay under $5/gal. If they think there’s no way in hell McCain can win, then bar the door and hello $6/gal gasoline! They’ve shown a lot of restraint over the last three years during which time the price of crude oil has doubled, but once they decide that government control is likely to go over to the oil industry hostile Democrats, they’ll grab all the cash they can before the party’s over.