The economy has improved of late, government analysts tell us. And in almost perfect synchronicity with that, news oil prices rose, with the likelihood that the cost of almost everything else will rise, even though those same government wizards tell us core inflation is negligible, discounting food and energy.

After all, who spends money on food and energy?

In yet another touch of irony, the U.S., for so long dependent on imported energy, had as its No. 1 export in 2012 gasoline, diesel and fuel oil. While U.S.-produced petroleum products sail away to China, the EU, and elsewhere, often at the same time U.S. inventories are falling, imports increasing, and pump prices rising.

Ahh, the magical mysteries of capitalism at work.

A lot has happened in the almost 40 years since the Arab oil embargo gave the world its first traumatic experience with the term “energy crisis,” and started the price escalation that has continued off and on since then.

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