Higher gas prices: The folly of blaming Obama for higher gas prices - The real problem is not that gas gets expensive sometimes, but that the United States, with its extremely high levels of per capita oil consumption, is much more vulnerable to supply disruptions than are rich countries in Asia and Europe. A larger share of Americans drive on a daily basis, and they drive heavier cars longer distances. Not coincidentally, gasoline is cheaper here thanks to lower taxes. But while American politicians like to pay lip service to the idea of tax reform that encourages work and investment, they refuse for political reasons to levy higher fees on environmentally and economically destructive gasoline in exchange for lower taxes on socially beneficial labor and savings. Until that happens we’re doomed to endless repetition of the pointless gas-price blame game every time global conditions push prices up.
Think Progress reports, “Experts predict average gas prices may fall below $3 this fall after dropping 14 cents in two weeks. When prices hit a record high, Republicans attributed sole responsibility to President Obama, even though there is no evidence that factors like drilling impact what consumers pay. Just two months ago, Republicans said Obama shouldered the blame for rising gas costs, and that only he had the “key” to lower gas prices…
“Are Republicans now reversing their rhetoric and giving Obama credit for falling gas prices? Of course not. […] Obama’s policies haven’t changed since April: the Keystone XL pipeline has not been built, drilling hasn’t drastically changed, and the same regulations are in place. Yet gas prices have fallen. Economics says he isn’t responsible, either way.”
Of course, if prices do go back up it won’t be because of Obama’s policies either — though we can be sure that Republicans will sell it that way even if Mother Nature is to blame:
As of Sunday, 23 percent of oil and gas production in the region had been suspended, according to a government hurricane response team. Employees have been evacuated from 13 drilling rigs and 61 production platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. The storm was not expected to result in higher oil and gas prices. “It’s largely a non-event for oil,” said Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service.