It seems that unlike say a "trained journalist" like the Incredibly Incurious Jonathan Chait, our casual readers are more than capable of asking us questions about our work!
Proof of that today comes straight from our e-mail inbox, which we can attest has still not registered any electronic contact initiated by "trained journalist" Chait, where someone with actual curiosity observed and asked:
Gas prices are about as high as they were in mid 2008 when oil was about 140 per barrel but oil today is about 110. Why the disconnect?
That's a good question - one for which we had no idea what might be the answer before we decided to take it on! Here's our augmented response, where we've expanded upon our original reply to our inquiring reader!...
And that, in a nutshell, is why gasoline prices have risen as high as they did back in 2008, even though crude oil prices haven't risen as high as they did then.
We will note however that actual journalist Matthew Philips is incorrect when he suggests that "the President doesn't have that kind of pricing power". The supply disruptions from the closure of money-losing oil refineries on the East coast and their result effect upon gasoline prices could have been minimized simply by subsidizing their operations - much as the President has been willing to subsidize "green energy" companies that were also certain to fail, like Solyndra.
By our estimate, the $500 million of taxpayer money that the President put on the line and lost on that one company would have been sufficient to keep just one of these recently closed refineries going for another 500 days - thus avoiding the supply disruption and massive run-up in U.S. gasoline prices. (And that doesn't include all the other "green energy" business failures where taxpayer money has been permanently lost that could have gone to create or save real refinery jobs!)
At least then, taxpayers might have something more to show for the money the President was so determined to waste, no matter what!