Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) and Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

While it seems like a ridiculous proposition to predict what Donald Trump, who is notoriously short on policy details, would do while in office, “analysts” are making good money to figure these things out, so they might just be making stuff up as they go along.

Case in point: Financial news site MarketWatch surmised Tuesday that when it comes to the two presumptive presidential nominees, the “Difference between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as president: One million barrels of oil a day.

But with all the variables at play on an issue as complex as energy policy, what does a headline like that even mean? A reader gets no closer to having that question answered by the end of the report. In fact, he or she likely ends up with many more questions.

The piece relies upon quotes by Brian Scheid, an official from energy analysis behemoth Platts, who guesstimates that “with a Republican win, US oil production could jump by as much as 500,000 barrels a day. If the Democrats win, there could be a decline of 500,000 barrels a day.”

Never mind that there’s a few too many “could’s” in that sentence, there’s no insight offered into how Mr. Scheid arrived at such a number. Notice how perfectly symmetrical the number moves in opposite directions. Agenda, much?

So, yeah, according to an influential energy firm’s spokesman regarding the prospects for the markets’ most important sector, it’s apparently still Republican=good, Democrat=bad. Of course, MarketWatch concedes that Trump has yet to unveil any kind of energy policy to the public.

“Overall, the biggest concern for the US oil industry is how Clinton will deal with fracking,” Scheid said to MarketWatch, which alleges she threatens to ban production.

Except, Clinton supports fracking. It’s just that she prefers actual regulation on the controversial technology.

Meanwhile, Scheid – and MarketWatch – apparently assumes “business whiz” Donald Trump can just magically defy the laws of geological physics, change the dynamics of economics and reverse the trend of domestic production decline that’s already unfolding.

Perhaps he’ll “negotiate a better deal” with the source rock? Perhaps he’ll just double down and “print the money” needed to keep US frackers solvent?

Doesn’t really work that way.

To be clear, the U.S. currently produces 8.8 million barrels of oil (and falling), but is still a net importer when you consider 19.4 million barrels of total consumption, according to the EIA.

Until both candidates actually provide an energy policy for public consumption, it is impossible and arrogant to even begin to make any kind of informed guess as to what kind of influence either will have on US oil quotas…if any at all.

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