By Patrik Jonsson
Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
NORTH HAMPTON , N.H. -- Jack MacDonald, a retired law enforcement officer, watched with bemusement -- and some concern -- earlier this month as the Irving and Mobil gas stations on Route 1 in this town engaged in a bona fide price war.
All day, their prices fell, both ending the day at $2.09 a gallon, not far off the national low of $1.93 at Casey's gas station in Altoona, Iowa, just outside Des Moines. Cars lined up seven deep at one pump. œIt's a relief for us drivers, said MacDonald, a Democrat. œBut it's suspicious that it's happening this close to Election Day. Who's controlling it, and why?
Great questions. The factors behind the 50 percent price drop are myriad and complex, ranging from basic supply and demand to a renewed effort by oil-producing countries such as Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, perhaps in order to undercut calls by President-elect Barack Obama for U.S. energy independence within a decade.To read more, a subscription is needed: Click here to subscribe