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Favonius Cornelius

Gasoline Price Bet

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Now, amongst my collection of bonds, I have a slug of Lucent 6.45/29 and GM 7.70/16. The former cost about 75; the latter 100 1/2. Would anyone - anybody at all, please tell me what their prices will be at any time in the future.?! I need not be told why - just the prices and when, and back them up to the hilt.


Why is this question relevant? There's been seasonal fluctuation in US gasoline prices for over a decade. Has Lucent stock seen the same predictable fluctuations? Has anyone attempted to explain these season fluctuations by means of some other factor, such as a massive conspiracy? If not--the Lucent/GM cases are irrelevant.


Nor is the claim that every price in the market can be predicted with 100% regularity. If anyone could do it, they'd be rich. But if you want to claim that prices are being kept artificially low by a temporary factor (such as a conspiracy to influence elections), then the claim has logical implications for price fluctuations.


As far as I can tell, you're simply arguing that some prices are unpredictable. Well, duh.


What are you slurping? Must be brain numbing good stuff. Does one have to put down ohighyo sludge with it?


O! Ye Great Tyrant Moderators, this has gone too far, even for Caius.

Edited by Gaius Octavius

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Updated data from EIA:


9/11 - US Avg (All Grades): $ 2.670

9/18 - US Avg (All Grades): $ 2.549

9/25 - US Avg (All Grades): $ 2.429

10/2 - US Avg (All Grades): $ 2.360

10/9 - US Avg (All Grades): $ 2.310

10/16-US Avg (All Grades): $ 2.274

10/23-US Avg (All Grades): $ 2.255

10/30-US Avg (All Grades): $ 2.264

11/6 - US Avg (All Grades): $ 2.246

11/13-US Avg (All Grades): $ 2.278



Data presently consistent with FC's hypothesis of oil company/GOP price manipulation in anticipation of early November elections. This hypothesis saw a gradual return to pre-election prices (when oil companies would feel free to 'gouge' consumers) once the election was over. The election is over, and the prices have risen a little bit, just as FC predicted.


We agreed to re-assess in December, so we'll see whether prices really do return toward their pre-election levels or whether this is more of the same bumpiness seen on 10/30. Only time will tell...

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Take a look at the 2006 data (the red series) from the EID, and judge for yourself whether falling prices last Autumn were due to political manipulation or due to seasonal fluctuation:




In Spring 2006 (late March to May), there was steep increase in prices as weather got warmer. In the summer, prices were high and remained about $3/gallon. Then, in the Fall 2006 (from Sept through late October), there was a steep drop in prices, which has since leveled off and remained steady at around $2.30/gallon. It's now mid-December, and we're nowhere close to where we were when the cry of "election manipulation" was first raised back in September, despite the abundant historical data of falling Autumn prices (even in non-election years).


I should quit when I'm ahead, but I'll make another prediction: by next May, prices will be higher than they are now. If anybody says it's because the oil companies want to punish the Democrats, hit them in a head with a fish. (imagine your own emoticon here)

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Indeed they rose a bit as predicted, but I would have expected more. Of course, there is that little thing of the Democrats holding congress right now. Where the situation as it was before November after the elections, I would predict a larger gradual rise. Precipitous rises during curious times are too obvious. Better to have a precipitous rise during a time when the national consciousness is more united than election times. Like Memorial Day for instance. MUhaha!


Looking at Cato's chart, it seems there is plenty of room for manipulation speculation. The more stark changes in price for this year as opposed to last seem suspicious, and after they changed they remained stably high. It does not take a lot of gouging to earn the oil block a whole lot of money. Every penny translates into billions. 2005-2006 was a better time for oil than 2006-2007 when outrage has been highest. It was the last chance to gouge and so you see a long standing high price from May to just before November. In the end, politics must be attended to even if a lost cause, and so the drop occurred well before election time with a few weeks to convince the voters all is well.


Sure there is a seasonal pattern, and I was wrong about the extent of the flux you might see, but I think that chart tells a tale nonetheless. There are bigger pictures as well, as in the price of oil from pre-Bush to today, that seems a much larger jump than the gradual rise from previous decades. Much more so, such that the rise of China and India does not well account for since they get most of their oil as they always have from southeast Asia.


My next prediction: prices will indeed rise in May, but nothing like 2006, more like 2005.

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I am so glad that this is back in the fire. In re the price fall from August to November, I shall adumbrate:


Spinach, lettuce and green onions were poisoned. Farmers quit harvesting the stuff. Trucks and trains didn't have to carry the stuff. People didn't go to the fast slops places as often as before, so all didn't need as much petrol.


Then the sun spots business.


Hillary Clinton made another killing shorting the market - in league with certain unnamed plutocrats.

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The saga continues. The price of oil has fallen some 30% recently. What is happening? Some conspiracy trying to put Eyeran and Venezuela out of business? Haven't had my gas guzzler out of the barn since Christmas, so I have no idea about local prices of petrol.

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