Oil and Gas Prices Being Manipulated Before Presidential Election?

Over the last two months, the price of oil has declined nearly 28%, falling from a record high of $147.22 to Friday’s closing price of $106.23.  Likewise, the price of gasoline has declined more than 11%, falling from a record high of $4.12 to today’s average price of $3.65.

These price declines have come as a relief for many Americans, as they have helped ease the pain at the pump and pushed down inflation in general.

However, as welcome as these price declines have been, some drivers believe they’re coming about due to reasons beyond supply and demand or economic weakness.

According to a recent poll on Daily Fuel Economy Tip, nearly half of us feel that the prices of oil and gasoline are being manipulated leading up to the November Presidental election.

The poll asked: Do you believe gas and oil prices are being manipulated for the upcoming Presidental election? Here’s how the responses broke down:

  • 49% believe prices ARE being manipulated
  • 44% believe prices ARE NOT being manipulated
  • 7% are UNSURE if prices are being manipulated

This is up slightly from the 2006 elections, when 42% of Americans said they believed oil and gas prices were being manipulated leading up to the elections.  I guess with the price of oil being double and the price of gas up 75% since the 2006 election, it would make sense that slightly more Americans believe there is some sort of manipulation going on.

Lower oil and gasoline prices would probably help the Republicans – i.e. John McCain – since much of the Democratic platform – i.e. Barack Obama – is built on improving the economy and pushing alternative energy.  Lower prices would help to keep the economy from getting much worse, and would push back the need for altnerative energy, at least from an economic standpoint.

With this in mind, the notion of price manipulation comes in because, over the years, the Republican party has been accused of being very pro Big Oil and, in turn, Big Oil has been very pro Republican party.

Based on contributions made to each party, it’s obvious Big Oil prefers that Republicans be in elected positions.  According to figures compiled by OpenSecrets.org – the website of the Center of Responsive Politics, a group that tracks campaign donations and funding – since 1990, for every dollar contributed by Big Oil, roughly 75 cents has gone to the Republican party.

  • Donations to Republicans – $166,126,945
  • Donations to Democrats – $54,376,295

Despite these figures, I find it very hard to believe that Big Oil is manipulating the oil and gasoline markets.  It’s one thing to contribute (a lot) more money to one party, but would it really be worth manipulating an entire market for the sake of said party?

Think about it.  Regardless of who’s in office, we’re not going to stop using oil or gasoline any time soon, and prices and profits are still going to remain high.  That’s all Big Oil really wants.

Plus, in today’s day and age of investigative reporting and 24 hour news networks, if a conspiracy like this did exist, someone would find out about it.

So, at the end of the day, it seems far more likely that the recent price declines have more to do with the natural ebb and flow of the usual price cycles and far less to do with some sort of price manipulation conspiracy.


  1. We can only wish it were so easy to move prices up and down at will.

  2. school started

  3. I’m not well versed enough to make an absolute yes or no claim, but I wouldn’t be exactly shocked if they are.

  4. I think it’s mainly coincidence that the drop is happening at the same time as the election season. Right now the summer driving season is ending so I’m sure demand is going down, etc. I agree that it’s more just the ebb and flow of the markets.

  5. We see a similar drop each year as we leave the summer (vacation) months and move into the school year. Vacation driving decreases and demand goes down.

  6. Prices started to drop, to the day, hour and minute Bush said he was rescinding the EO his father put on offshore drilling. End of story. Period. Zippity do da.

  7. Just out of curiosity, how did this get 300+ diggs and not make the home page?

  8. Look at the tax cuts and the subsidies and THEN make your conclusion.

  9. Almost 30% reduction in two months!!?? Are you crazy? I don’t know what kind of summer end gas price reductions your used to in NorCal but in the rest of nation it just hasn’t been so.

  10. not sure what you’re referencing.

  11. How dose the oil effect the outcome of the presidential election?

  12. Well let’s see. The American public’s opinion is easily swayed. Bush asks his friends at Big Oil to drop prices gradually leading up to the election. Any advantage he can give the republican party will help. As far as the oil companies are concerned, they have had a license to print money for so long, it won’t hurt them to reduce their quarterly profits from 11 billion down to 9 billion, if it will help the GOP cause.

  13. I obviously have no proof so my opinion is just that,, and opinion. I do believe their is some sort of manipulation going on though.

    I do think its very interesting that Hurricane Ike severely damaged at least 10 oil platforms in the gulf yet gas prices have continued to drop. I believe that six months ago, if they shut off a valve on an oil platform for 10 minutes gas prices shot up 10 cents in the following 5 minutes across the country!

    Its probably just coincidence though…

  14. TakeBackAmerica says

    I was telling someone about this just last week. Why can people remember this exact same thing happened the last 2 major elections. It’s common knowledge that “trickle down economics” is the Republican Party’s mantra, which open’s the flood gates to Exxon Mobile’s record profits. Isnt is pretty obvious major oil will drop their profits for a month to try to make people ( voters ) feel more comfortable and forget the hardship of the past administration..
    Open your eye’s and smell the coffee people…

  15. If you had pick a president base on their concerns and issue on oil and how to solve the problem, who would you choices and why?

  16. Of Course Big Oil is lowering prices trying to pacify the American public and lull them back to sleep by trying to create a favorable election environment. The last thing that Big Oil wants is for people to be blaming the GOP (Gas and Oil Party) for outrageous gasoline prices at election time…

    We actually have very good evidence of price manipulation in 2004: straight from the mouth of Bush himself. If we can believe Bob Woodward, that is. Woodward wrote in State of Denial about a conversation between Bush and Saudi Prince Bandar, thanking Bandar for increasing production in 2004. (presumably to lower the gas prices in the weeks leading up to the Presidential elections in November)

    If you look at the chart of OPEC production at http://www.wtrg.com/prices.htm OPEC has historically peaked their production during presidential election years.

    For the 44% that doesn’t believe that Gas prices are being manipulated by the G.O.P and the 7 % that is unsure, just wait till the day after the election and watch what happens to the gas prices then, and THEN try and tell me that the gas prices in this country aren’t being manipulated.

  17. I don’t want acuse anybody, but this situation happens in 3th countrys like Mexico or centroamerican rigth when it’s time for elections they drop prices in basic produts so people feel better and they just forget about the whole deal, for me it looks like another cheap trick to pull the elections, I seen it before in my country

  18. They are manipulating the price. I don’t know about everyone else, but I drive about the same year round. Even on vacation, sure I may drive an extra three or four hundred miles or so, but I also spend a lot of time visiting while I’m there so then I’m not driving as much. And what about school being in session. More parents have to run their kids to basketball practice or wrestling practice or choir or whatever. This gas price thing is a big snow job. I predicted when gas was $4.xx a gallon that by November it would be at $1.99/gallon and as of Oct. 31 I’m only off by seven cents. Wake up and smell the gasoline

  19. Agreed, if folks would redirect their attention to the contractors they’d understand. Treasonous ass Halliburton is one of America’s top oil contractors/transporters and the main one in Iraq at this time, they’ve been charging the US gov. 1.50 to 2.00$ more than what the contract stated. A no-bid contract in Iraq and breach of contract against their own government? Coincidence? Absolutely fu*kin not. Cheney used to be the head of Halliburton and collects pension and also owns major stock. People need to wake up out of this ignorant gullible zombie mode and realize/research how treasonous our government is and has been for decades. Pathetic “Faux News” won’t cover it. Grab a beer and watch these movies on Google vid, they are a MUST SEE for every American: “Freedom to Fascism” (absolute must), “Iraq For Sale” and “911 chronicles”. WAKE THE F**K UP PEOPLE IT’S NOT ABOUT REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRAT, IT’S CORPORATE OR NOT..(even though the Rep’s are responsible for almost everything wrong with America..aye, I’m just sayin)

  20. I think things are much more complex than that!

  21. yea

  22. sorry but we americans are stupid , of course the prices have been manipulated , notice the steady rise from 2000 to the 2008 election? not saying bush himself set prices but his administration clearly are pro energy and that industry has run amok under his watch. but ask yourself this, we are suppose to have a free market in this country, but if the oil market is being manipulated even in the smallest degree, is it still a free market? No…wake up dummies , quit believing what is being fed to you.

  23. Just wait till the 2012 presidential election! Gas will drop to about the 2 to 2.50 range per gallon. It has happened the past couple of presidential elections and it will happen again. MANIPULATION, the american public is being screwed.

  24. Bryan Coyle says

    An investor who makes money on oil futures will soon come up with $75000 for the 2012 elections.

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