Tags: gas | prices | drop | swing

Gasoline Prices Drop in Key Electoral States

Thursday, 18 Oct 2012 03:23 PM

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Gasoline prices are falling across the country —in key swing states especially — as refineries switch to cheaper winter blends.

Gasoline prices have dropped 20 cents a gallon in Ohio over the period of a week, while in Wisconsin and Illinois, prices have dipped more than a dime during the same time frame, according to CNBC.

California, which has seen prices soar due, in part, to a refinery outage, is seeing some relief at the pump as well.

Editor's Note: How You Lost $85,000 During the Last Decade. See the Numbers.

Prices normally rise in the summer, when refineries buy more expensive warm-weather inputs and when more Americans drive during vacation season.

But supply snags in the United States and in other parts of the world, coupled with Middle East unrest, have kept prices high this year when they should otherwise be falling, though normalcy appears to be returning.

Some portions of the country could see prices dip to around $3 a gallon by Election Day after peaking near $4 not too long ago.

“I suspect that both candidates can guarantee $3 to $3.25 gal gasoline in Ohio after this week’s gasoline debacle,” Oil Price Information Service analyst Tom Kloza told CNBC.

“You will see some sharp retail drops in battleground states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, Wisconsin and Nevada in the next few weeks.”

Even though President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney might use high gasoline prices as campaign fodder, good old-fashioned supply and demand issues have sent prices rising and falling, with politicians holding little sway.

The fall in gasoline prices “is not the result of political maneuvering,” Kloza said, “but just the normal rebalancing of inventories and the typical autumn sell-off,” CNBC added.

High gasoline prices have often taken center stage this election year, with both candidates touting energy policies they claim will ease the pain at the pump.

In reality, analysts say, U.S. energy policy is largely powerless to combat high gasoline prices since the fuel is determined by the price of crude, which moves on global issues, ranging from Middle East unrest to supply glitches in the North Sea to rising demand in big countries like China.

“Politicians don’t like to admit they don’t have control over everything,” Daniel Weiss, an energy expert at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a non-partisan advocacy group that favors a clean-energy agenda, told USA Today.

Editor's Note: How You Lost $85,000 During the Last Decade. See the Numbers.

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