Maybe it’s just Americans’ inordinate love affair with the automobile, but I can think of no better example of the triumph of emotion over reason than that generated by vicissitudes in the price of gasoline. When gas prices are rising (e.g., circa 2012), the preferred explanation is “corporate greed”; but when they are falling (e.g., circa 2015), the favored explanation is “supply and demand.” (A check of the Advocate’s institutional memory — its letters archive — will bear this out).

Using two explanations for the same phenomenon (i.e., price changes) is a clear violation of Occam’s Razor, and a recipe for muddled thinking.

Robert Hebert

economist

Baton Rouge