Thursday, April 26, 2012

Gas Prices Are Falling, But Media Has Had 65 Times Greater Coverage of Rising Prices Over Last Month?

The chart above from GasBuddy.com shows that the national average retail gas price has been falling slowly, but steadily over the last three weeks, from about $3.92 per gallon in early April to $3.82 today, which is a 2.5% decline.    

Where's the news coverage of falling gas prices?  There's almost none.  A Google News search for the phrase "falling gas prices" over the last month produced only 24 results, compared to 1,550 results for the phrase "rising gas prices," for a ratio of almost 65 news stories about rising gas prices for every one story about falling gas prices.  And that's during a 30-day period when gas prices have been falling, not rising!

This seems like a pretty convincing example of how the media gives much greater coverage to bad news than good news - "if it bleeds, it leads."  At least the attacks on oil speculators seems to have decreased significantly with the falling gas prices.   

32 Comments:

At 4/26/2012 2:36 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Just like if you did a Google search for the economy, you'd think we're in the Great Depression Part 2: The Deadening, and not that we're in a slow but sustainable recovery.

*Hides from Morganovich and Vangel

 
At 4/26/2012 2:44 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

If it's so "sustainable", how about letting real interest rates come up? How "sustainable" would the recovery be if the interest rate were not throttled?

 
At 4/26/2012 2:47 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

The inflation-hysteria, the Chicken Inflation Little crowd was perhaps politically motivated. It is tied in with the gold nut cretins.

BTW, Dr. Perry might get a kick out this link. It is Reagan's Treasury Secy Don Regan threatening Fed independence, and to take control of monetary policy from the "penurious" Volcker who was being too tight. Inflation was about 5 percent then, in 1984.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1499&dat=19841213&id=HsIdAAAAIBAJ&sjid=HSoEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6649,3052061

Right-wingers today have diarrhea, verbal and evidently actual, with inflation at 2 percent.

 
At 4/26/2012 2:48 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

If it's so "sustainable", how about letting real interest rates come up?

Hey, I'm all for that. So is the Fed. They've been hinting at letting rates rise sooner than 2014.

Of course, I believe in the market's ability to set interest rates in the first place, so this whole business of the Fed controlling rates is pretty academic.

*Also hiding from Methinks, now, although she know's where I live

 
At 4/26/2012 2:54 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Jon, I don't think they're going to do it. They also periodically hint at more QE too. I think they're going to keep stomping on the rate until inflation forces them to stop.

WHY do people find me so intimidating? You've seen my picture. I'm so small!!

 
At 4/26/2012 3:00 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Jon, I don't think they're going to do it. They also periodically hint at more QE too. I think they're going to keep stomping on the rate until inflation forces them to stop.

You are right. I don't think they will either (although Congress is starting to put some pressure). I also don't think QEIII is on it's way anytime before mid 2013.

WHY do people find me so intimidating? You've seen my picture. I'm so small!!

Yeah, but you're Russian. You folks have a long history of destroying some very brutal people: The Mongols, the French, the Germans multiple times, the Chinese a few times.

But I'm not hiding from you because I think you're intimidating. I'm more hiding because I know my economic outlook is more cheery than most and it seems to make people more aggressive for some reason. So, I am more hiding to keep myself out of trouble.

 
At 4/26/2012 3:03 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Gasoline prices are still high and there's likely anticipation of higher prices over the summer driving season.

 
At 4/26/2012 3:08 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Jon Murphy says: "...this whole business of the Fed controlling rates is pretty academic."

In the Great Depression, the Fed had to tighten the money supply, because gold was flowing-out the country, which made the depression even worse.

 
At 4/26/2012 3:09 PM, Blogger David Peterson said...

While I am sure you're right--just based on my own experiences--is it possible that "falling gas prices" is not the most common phrase used in the media?

 
At 4/26/2012 3:11 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

You left ourselves off that list, JM. And, excuse me, but the Tatars ruled us (brutally, I might add) for 150 years. They just didn't want to live with us heathens. We Ruskies were beneath them.

You know, almost all the words to do with trading are not native to Russian. They entered the language from the Tatars. dengi (money), tovar (goods held for sale), chimodan (suitcase), etc.

Factoids to annoy Russians on your trip.

 
At 4/26/2012 3:17 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

You left ourselves off that list, JM. And, excuse me, but the Tatars ruled us (brutally, I might add) for 150 years. They just didn't want to live with us heathens. We Ruskies were beneath them.

Begging your pardon. I am not as fresh on my Russian history as I should be.

 
At 4/26/2012 3:19 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Well, if you want to depress yourself before your trip, JM, I recommend Richard Pipes.

 
At 4/26/2012 3:24 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Well, if you want to depress yourself before your trip, JM, I recommend Richard Pipes.

I'm going to Russia. The land of perpetual frost, of James Bond Villains, of Tchaikovsky and Dostoevsky, of sunshine! And I will not let my candy-coated dreams melt in your Tsarist mouth! :-P

 
At 4/26/2012 3:33 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Since the Great Depression, the Fed has increasingly improved in smoothing-out business cycles, including long-wave business cycles (e.g. the long-wave bust phase from 1973-82).

Monetary policy is more powerful than fiscal policy. Without the Fed's easings, this downturn would've been much worse. The Fed has been the most powerful force supporting the U.S. economy.

 
At 4/26/2012 3:36 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

Seeing as we got way off topic:

It is good to see some relief at the pump.

 
At 4/26/2012 4:02 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 4/26/2012 4:07 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"WHY do people find me so intimidating? You've seen my picture. I'm so small!!"

You mean you're not really 8 feet tall, as the authority of your comments would indicate?

 
At 4/26/2012 4:29 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Peak: "In the Great Depression, the Fed had to tighten the money supply, because gold was flowing-out the country, which made the depression even worse."

Pleas continue with the story. WHY was gold flowing out of the country?

 
At 4/26/2012 4:31 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Begging your pardon. I am not as fresh on my Russian history as I should be."

I blame that on the US public school system.

 
At 4/26/2012 4:38 PM, Blogger Ken said...

Ben,

The calculation for inflation changed sometime in the 1980's. In particular, food and energy costs aren't as heavily weighted anymore. What's important to keep in mind is that using the official 1980 inflation calculator, inflation is currently over 10%, which is far different from the 2% you're claiming.

There are many different ways to calculate inflation. The official calculation is but one. I'm willing to bet the choice of official calculation was chosen for political purposes, hiding much of the monetary shennanigans going on in DC.

 
At 4/26/2012 4:50 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Ron H.,


This is the image JM gazed upon.

My husband claims it's an uncanny likeness :)

 
At 4/26/2012 4:55 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Ken, and no matter how much proof is shown the government's inflation rate is unbiased, some people will, nonetheless, continue to believe in an inflation rate that makes absolutely no economic sense.

 
At 4/26/2012 5:10 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Ken, and your John Williams StaticStats site was created either by a charlatan or by someone who knows only enough about economics to be all wrong.

If you want to bet on something, bet there are plenty of fools.

 
At 4/26/2012 5:18 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

I've never seen this website before, Peak. Specifically what's your issue with it? What's wrong with the calcullations?

 
At 4/26/2012 5:29 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Methinks, the U.S. economy isn't static. It's actually the most dynamic economy in the world.

His static method doesn't fit with other economic variables. It contradicts them.

For example, StaticStats stated inflation has been high and real GDP growth has been negative.

However, I stated before:

In the past 30 years or so, there are more industries in the U.S. and some industries became quite large, which suggest real GDP growth (or nominal GDP growth minus the inflation rate) has been strong.

Moreover, I stated before:

U.S. workers must be the dumbest people in the world, because they demand only 3% wage increases each year when inflation is 10% per year.

Maybe, U.S. workers feel guilty, because they're the most destructive workers in the world, shrinking real GDP 7% each year.

 
At 4/26/2012 5:43 PM, Blogger Ken said...

Peak,

no matter how much proof is shown the government's inflation rate is unbiased

Nobody has "proven" it is unbiased. There are plenty who know there other ways to calculate inflation. Many are simple alternatives.

Are you not the least curious as to why the new inflation calculator calculates dramatically lower inflation?

 
At 4/26/2012 5:51 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Ken, all the other economic variables prove it's unbiased, along with other sound inflation methods.

Here's Paul Krugman on the BPP:

2011

"What you should know is that the BPP numbers don’t exactly measure the same things as the CPI — in particular, no services.

So you wouldn’t expect identical numbers. But they don’t look all that different, especially if you focus on longer stretches, not month by month.

Over the period covered by the BPP, the overall CPI has risen at an annual rate of 0.75 percent, while the BPP has risen at an annual rate of 1.22 percent.

Those who insist that the inflation numbers are all cooked, and that we’re really seeing very high inflation, must believe that the MIT guys are in on the plot.

2012

For some reason I seem to be seeing a resurgence of inflation scare stories, despite the fact that — gas prices aside — inflation remains quiescent. And along with the scare stories come assertions that the inflation numbers are faked, that the government is hiding the true rate.

So it’s time for another look at the Billion Prices Project, which uses internet price quotes to create an inflation measure completely independent of government agencies.

It’s not a perfect match for the CPI, nor should it be. But the BPP index is just as quiescent as the official number.

Of course, maybe they’re part of the conspiracy.

 
At 4/26/2012 5:56 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Inflation was overstated before appropriate adjustments were made, although they've been too slow and too small. So, inflation is less overstated.

 
At 4/26/2012 6:13 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Of course, some people pound square pegs into round holes. I guess, they believe they're round pegs.

 
At 4/26/2012 7:38 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 4/26/2012 7:55 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Thanks, Peak. Good points.

I think it's a little healthy to doubt government numbers as a general rule. We should always question statistics. This doesn't mean government stats are wrong, but unquestioning acceptance of all that flows from the government is a bit dangerous.

 
At 4/27/2012 5:18 AM, Blogger Doug said...

I've used headlines as a contrary indicator for years. When front pages talk about how great the stock market is, it's time to get out. When reporters say the economy is lousy, time to invest. Walter Cronkite finished every newscast with the biggest misstatement of his show,"That's the way it is."

 

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