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Saturday, June 21, 2008


Capitalist boosterism in extremis

I was surprised to read in today's paper: "prices at the gas pump are finally easing in California." Really? And the evidence? Brace yourself:
Diesel in California: down nearly half a cent. Gas costs in Oakland: down a quarter of a cent. Santa Cruz, Sacramento, Yolo, Merced, Santa Barbara: slight declines. The nationwide average is down slightly and the statewide average in California has fallen, albeit one-hundredth of a cent to $4.609 a gallon from $4.610 earlier this week.
By the way, those numbers are ridiculous, because there is no way you can actually measure the "statewide average" of the price at the pump to a precision of one-hundredth of a cent, or, these days, probably with a precision of even several cents. To do that you would have to obtain the prices of every station in the state simultaneously. In the real world, by the time you've surveyed the last station, the first station you surveyed has already raised its prices another ten cents.

Not quite equally preposterous as the above were the "predictions" for the future: "A growing number of analysts think the dizzy run-up to record prices is tapering off and fears of gas zooming to $5 a gallon are not realistic - at least this summer." It's not even the end of June, gas is already averaging $4.61 a gallon (by the way, that's for regular; premium is already close to $5/gallon and probably over it at some stations), and the likelihood it will hit $5 by the end of summer is "not realistic"? I'm not saying it's likely, but one more "rehearsal" by Israel of a bombing run on Iran and for all we know it could hit $6 a gallon. "Not realistic"? I wish.

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