A Los Angeles Times headline today White House fears gas prices could tank Obama. But they can’t be that worried. Here is a bit from an AP report on yesterday’s energy event in Fairless Hills, PA:
Obama needled one questioner who asked about gas prices, now averaging close to $3.70 a gallon nationwide, and suggested that the gentleman consider getting rid of his gas-guzzling vehicle.
“If you're complaining about the price of gas and you're only getting 8 miles a gallon, you know,” Obama said laughingly. “You might want to think about a trade-in.”
Instapundit has since noted that the AP has scrubbed this exchange from their website, but earlier versions with this account still exist (including The Huffington Post at this time).
Obama insisted yesterday that “There is no magic formula to driving gas prices down.” That is true. But there are also things the government can do that will drive the price of gas up. And the Obama administration has done many of them including:
- Immediately after taking office in 2009, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, canceled 77 leases for oil and gas drilling in Utah.
- The EPA announced new rules mandating the use of 36 billion gallons worth of renewable fuels (like ethanol) by 2020.
- Last summer President Obama needlessly instituted, not one, but two outright drilling bans in the Gulf of Mexico.
- After rescinding his outright offshore drilling ban, President Obama has refused to issue any new drilling permits in the Gulf, a policy that the Energy Information Administration estimates will cut domestic offshore oil production by 13% this year
- Interior Secretary Salazar announced that the eastern Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic coast, and the Pacific coast will not be developed, effectively banning drilling in those areas for the next seven years;
- The Environmental Protection Agency has announced new global warming regulations for oil refineries;
- Interior Secretary Salazar announced new rules making it more difficult to develop energy resources on federal land.
- The EPA is slowing a pipeline that would expand U.S. access to Canadian oil sands.
All of these policies raise gas prices at the pump by either: 1) decreasing the availability of domestic energy supplies, or 2) increasing regulatory costs on gasoline production.
No wonder Obama is urging “patience” at the pump.