STUMP » Articles » Quick take: Gas prices and petroleum production » 2 December 2021, 21:02

Where Stu & MP spout off about everything.

Quick take: Gas prices and petroleum production  


2 December 2021, 21:02

Phew, that was quite the month that just finished up. I had a lot on mortality, and I will be getting back to mortality soon enough. So let us just touch on some lighter topics.

As in, light crude.

Gas prices change slightly

Take your very minor wins while you have them:


Let’s see. According to that graph, in one week, the gas price is dropping from 3.395 per gallon to 3.380 per gallon, on average.

That’s almost a 0.4% reduction! Feel the savings!


This is a desperate look. I don’t have any advice other than to stop losing, not that anybody on the Biden team knows how to stop losing. But that’s my advice.

A longer period view of gas prices: MPC’s own record

In lieu of anything politically helpful, which I have no interest in providing anyway, I will note that I started keeping spreadsheets in 2011 when I started working in Hartford. I went from almost driving not at all to driving about 30,000 miles per year. I had to gas up three times per week.

Look, when you drive that much, you definitely keep records. Especially to keep an eye on how your mileage is doing.

Here’s a graph of the gas prices I observed:

Note how I start my vertical scale at 0.

I tried to make Excel do the vertical lines annually, but we all know that the year isn’t a nice number of days. Oh well.

So yes, the increase in 2021 is definitely real. No doubt about it.

But there was a large drop at the end of 2014 — what was that about?

Prices reflect information

A May 2015 report: The 2014 plunge in import petroleum prices: What happened?

Prior to 2012, petroleum prices rose sharply, increasing 180.1 percent between February 2009 and April 2011.

By the way, nothing that bad has happened with Biden…. yet. Give it time.

The fundamental reason for the decline in world petroleum prices in 2014 was an oversupply of petroleum compared to demand. World supply has risen over the past couple of years, largely spurred on by a growth in production from the United States.

Oh, growth in production in the U.S. in 2014.

[side note: “oversupply” is bullshit. Did that petroleum get used up? Yes? Then it wasn’t an oversupply, was it….. ]

It’s not 2014 anymore. Why might U.S. production not be growing anymore?

U.S. oil production has sputtered

U.S. oil production information

Here’s a graph:

Yes, there was a drop-off in U.S. oil production with the first hit of the pandemic. I know I went from driving about 30,000 miles per year to about 10,000 miles… if that.

(It looks like I’ll be getting back to the office next year, but who knows if people keep freaking out over every new greek letter they learn?)

It looks like oil production kept sputtering — with increasing prices, obviously there’s a spur for producers to jump in to take advantage of that rising price. However, there can be externalities, such as difficulties in getting sufficient staff to produce.

Battle royale or swirlies in the ball pit?

So one wonders.

It’s not just the matter of Biden(‘s people) making noises about wanting to shut down fossil fuel and do stuff like shut down pipelines… and then making noises about things being totally surprising that fossil fuel prices went up.

There’s the various people noticing that bankers make noises about not financing fossil fuels and continuing to do so and then politicians from fossil fuel states saying don’t you dare think about this crap. Various people are pretending they’re against fossil fuels but are definitely enjoying the results of said fossil fuels (including the electricity being generated to charge up their EVs).

It gets a bit annoying.

I’m in the frozen north, where our only hope in a fossil fuel-less future is global warming.

Okay, it was kind of nice today. It doesn’t actually get that cold here. But burning wood doesn’t work as well as burning oil for keeping warm.