Obama and gas price mythology

By , March 8, 2012 11:05 pm

I can’t say I’m completely ecstatic about Obama’s presidency but if we are going to talk issues, let’s not just make sh** up. The GOP is searching for stuff that will work against Obama’s re-election this November. Understandable. In recent months Fox News and the GOP are spinning a yarn that high gas prices are being caused by Obama. The theory goes that the delay of the Keystone pipeline and failure to aggressively pursue domestic drilling have caused speculators to drive up prices. Another theory has the Obama administration pushing up gas prices to speed adoption of alternative energy.

This graph of gas prices under Obama looks very like the last 3 years of Bush – except Obama hasn’t yet hit the peaks of the Bush years.

In 2008, a Republican Congressman wrote this FAQ about why prices had gone up so much:

It included these bullet points:

  • Decisions by the OPEC cartel to raise production quotas slowly and reluctantly after having reduced them in 2002.
  • An increase in worldwide demand for oil, including unexpected demand growth in China, India, and other quickly developing nations. These nations have experienced a tremendous growth in the number of citizens who have access to automobiles, and their billion-person populations have a strong impact on the amount of crude oil needed in those parts of the world.
  • Disruptions in oil production in countries that are major exporters, including Venezuela, Iraq and Nigeria.
  • A decline in the value of the U.S. dollar—the currency in which oil is traded in the world market—compared to other major currencies, particularly the Euro.

Keep in mind that many of these things haven’t changed much in the last 4 years. In addition to those factors – this page pretty much explains recent high prices. Reasons include speculation due to the Arab Spring, concerns about Iran, and last year’s flooding in the Mississippi and its effect on refineries.

If you want more, factcheck.org has an analysis that finds lots of non-Obama reasons for high gas prices.

I would have to say that the argument that Obama’s renewable energy policy is causing high gas prices has no merit – and is simply a Fox News/Republican party talking point. So if we’re going to criticize Obama – can we do so without making stuff up?

I would be more inclined to criticize Obama for his lack of a cohesive clean energy policy and failure to make any significant strides in this area.

One Response to “Obama and gas price mythology”

  1. Tony Lawrence says:

    I know. I had a recent hallway conversation here at Oak Point with someone who insisted that they are “independent” and yet was hard line conservative on every single issue we talked about.

    Gas prices being caused by our refusal to build that pipeline were part of it. I countered that we certainly don’t need more spills, which was acknowledged, but he insisted that we “need” to do this and that we “can’t afford” alternative technologies.

    I really can’t talk to these people. I just get crazy..

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