When President Obama came into office in January 2009, San Diego gasoline prices averaged $2.11 a gallon. Three years later, gas prices averaged $4.37 a gallon.
Fair or not, presidents get the blame for higher gas prices. Ask Reagan and Bush 43. But it’s what presidents do to lower gas prices that determines whether they get re-elected.
Obama has defended himself by asserting that the price spike is not his fault, that he has a good energy policy and that Republicans are countering with “bumper sticker” proposals that won’t work.
A good energy policy?
The president has said, “I’m doing everything I can to help you save money on gas, both right now and in the future.” Really?
Obama’s Energy Department is led by Dr. Steven Chu who has openly advocated that “Somehow, we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels of Europe.” Looks like they found a way.
In congressional testimony last week, Secretary Chu was publicly asked whether reducing gas prices was the top priority for his department. His answer was “No.” Dr. Chu went on to say that reducing our dependence on oil was his top priority. He didn’t say “foreign oil” – all oil.
About 42 percent of a barrel of oil goes to fuel use. The rest is used in the myriad of plastics, solvents, additives, etc., which permeate our modern world. I am composing this column, for example, on a computer which could not be constructed without oil-based plastics. Dr. Chu is a nut.
What about future gas prices?
When Democrats like Sen. Chuck Schumer call on Obama to reduce gas prices by opening the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, they admit that increasing supply will lower the price.
Obama won’t open the SPR nor approve the Keystone XL pipeline, nor bring the Gulf of Mexico drilling back to pre-BP levels, nor do anything else to increase supply. That would reduce the price, and the powerful green lobby won’t allow it.
Trying to have it both ways, Obama also brags about the increase in domestic production and the lessening of dependence on foreign oil since he became president.
The increase in domestic production has occurred on privately owned land. Drilling on federal government owned land is down 11 percent since last year. Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency is trying its best to shut down private drilling in West Texas to protect the habitat of a lizard.
The private domestic oil production increase has lowered our dependence on foreign oil to about 50 percent, a trend which began under Bush in 2005 and continued because of the Great Recession. Less foreign oil dependence is one of the good things that Obama “inherited from my predecessor.”
Obama’s long-term energy policy has even more problems.
The president promised to “utterly transform America.” Part of that transformation is a transition from our petroleum based economy to a new green-energy-based economy.
I have a solar power plant on the roof of my house. I’m not trying to save the planet. I’m trying to save money.
Obama’s efforts to impose a green economy by top-down edicts and economy-distorting corporate subsidies to campaign contributors has made a mockery of the goals he stated in the 2008 campaign. The policy is a failure.
Solyndra and most of the other solar-panel makers in the U.S. are bankrupt, despite receiving billions of dollars in (borrowed) taxpayer subsidies.
Highly subsidized wind turbines generate electricity at four to six times the cost of conventional power plants and kill millions of birds every year doing it.
The Volt is a dud; the Fisker Karma broke down before testing could begin at the Consumer Reports test track last week. Even if these electric vehicles worked, where would the electricity come from?
Obama’s EPA has closed 106 coal-fired power plants in the last two years and has not allowed them to be replaced. Construction of solar power plants in the California desert is stalled as environmentalists (who lobbied for the requirement that the plants be built) complain about the destruction of desert tortoise habitat.
Maybe we ought to revisit the “bumper sticker” policy alternative. Reagan’s answer to Jimmy Carter’s long gas lines and high prices was a free market. In Reagan’s ’80s, gas lines disappeared and gas prices went down by nearly 50 percent.
Obama’s call for an “All of the above” energy policy is, in reality, a “None of the above” energy policy. And you are paying the price every time you fill up at the gas station.