Hooray! Gasoline Prices Are Going Down

| Mon Apr. 30, 2012 10:47 AM EDT

Last night, while trying to keep my dinner down during 60 Minutes' softball interview with CIA torturer Jose Rodriguez, I happened to notice during the commercial break that gasoline prices were down last week. I haven't been paying a lot of attention to this lately, but it turns out that gas prices have been declining for the entire past month. Jared Bernstein has a question:

When gas prices were rising in March, I couldn’t turn around without being asked to explain why we shouldn’t blame the President for higher gas prices....But this month, with prices falling, I’ve yet to get one request to explain why the president should get credit for falling gas prices (answer: he shouldn’t).

This just goes to show the agenda-setting power of Fox News and the rest of the conservative megaphone. They don't get all the credit, of course — it really is news when gasoline prices have gone up 20% since the beginning of the year — but they sure get a big chunk of it. When they're screaming, the rest of the media follows along. When they stop, everyone else stops too. Remarkable.

POSTSCRIPT: And why are gasoline prices down? Because crude oil prices are down. Remember the rule of thumb that a $1 change in crude oil prices translates to a 2½-cent change in gasoline prices? Well, Brent crude is down about $4 this month, which translates into an 8-cent drop in the price of gasoline. And that's roughly what we've seen.