Nick Schulz takes on the Kerry machine’s “big oil” problem:

Economist Lynne Kiesling of Northwestern University who studies energy markets points to three factors. First, world crude prices are high, thanks in part to OPEC and tumult in Venezuela. Second, she points out that “existing environmental regulations” — such as those limiting flexibility at refineries; market-distorting state environmental regulations; mandates for ethanol additives and the like — “are making supply more inelastic.” Lastly, new clean air regulations are taking effect in 2004 leading to higher short-term prices.