Time will tell if expectations are met, but new reports this week suggest American consumers can expect "more relief at the pump heading into peak summer driving season."
After topping out at $3.92 in early April, gasoline now averages $3.68 a gallon. Weak demand, slumping crude oil prices and ample inventories could push prices to $3.55 by mid-June, says Brian Milne, analyst at Telvent DTN.
That's a far cry from $5-a-gallon fears in early 2012, when crude prices surged earlier and faster than ever before on fears that tensions with Iran threatened supplies. [...]
"We're getting a bit of a break here,'' says Tom Kloza of the Oil Price Information Service, who notes that domestic supplies are at their highest levels since 1990.
If this holds up, it's good news. But I'm curious about the political angle to this.
Last summer, with gas prices rising, several leading Republicans came up with a curious accusation: President Obama was causing pain at the pump deliberately, as part of some undefined environmental agenda. This odd line was pushed by Haley Barbour and the Koch brothers, among others.
In the ensuing months, prices came back down, and the talking point went away -- until March, when prominent Republicans like Newt Gingrich, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, and assorted Fox News figures said higher gas prices are the "conscious policy of this administration."
It was, even by conservative standards, a ridiculous accusation. But before their attacks slip down the memory hole, how about a little accountability: do Republicans still believe Obama is trying to get higher gas prices on purpose?
When they see gas prices fall, do they think the president, who apparently can dictate what happens at the pump by snapping his fingers, deserves credit, or does Mitch Daniels and his cohorts believe Obama is just incompetent in his quest for higher prices?