I know exactly the answer. Ok, I don't really, but I have an idea. The answer could be they aren't. They, like many, are making short-run irrational responses to the gas issue. Today on "Meet the Press," when asked why he (LG) himself has flip-flopped on the issue (he used to be against drilling off his State's shores, now he's for it). His response was that now he's for it because "gas is $4 a gallon." That just doesn't make sense to me. If he was against drilling a year ago when gas was $3.20 or whatever it was, does anyone honestly believe that now he's for it just because gas is a dollar or so give or take higher today? I seriously hope not ... Especially since drilling would not really increase supply for another 10 years out, and who knows what gas prices are going to be then. I think he, like perhaps some people and maybe some companies (GM? Ford?) are being a bit short-sighted and irrationally risk averse (more risk averse than they otherwise would/should be in the current economic climate) due to the negative psychological 'shock' that oil price spike, the recession, the wars, etc cause.
Obviously I have no hard evidence, but it seems to me the way things are going now, we could be creating something akin to the opposite of a bubble. With a bubble, irrational exuberance creates a boom, and then it bursts. What I think we are seeing now, is potential stagflation combined with all the other "bad" stuff going on globally causing an irrational malaise (beyond what you'd expect in a typical downturn) - a black hole that will only serve to further our economic downturn. Hopefully, and this is my belief - just like bubbles can burst, the malaise can and will be naturally "shocked" back into a sense of drive and relative risk seeking once people realize they are putting too much emphasis on gas prices etc.