Here is what Obama claimed in last week’s debate:
Oh yeah, gasoline price at the pump was lower when Obama took office because the economy was on the verge of collapse. If you buy that one he has a bridge he’d like to sell you.
Well, it wasn’t then and it isn’t now on the verge of collapse but the economy is sure not doing very well, so why are gas prices twice as high today as they were when Obama was sworn in as President in January, 2009? Could it be because Obama has implemented policies that have restricted our domestic supply of oil? He has done that. He has done that by blocking construction of the Keystone pipeline, closing the Alaska National Petroleum Reserve, instituting a moratorium on drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, reducing drilling on Federal lands by 62%, reinstating by executive order in 2009 the ban on offshore drilling that President Bush lifted in 2008, held up the approval of construction to modernize refineries, imposed massive new and unnecessary EPA rules on refineries, just to name a few of the things this president has done to discourage gasoline refining and oil exploration and production of new oil supplies. He has done this everywhere he could. That is everywhere except on private lands, such as in North Dakota, where he has less power to stifle energy development.
Here is a chart from gasbuddy of USA average gasoline prices at the pump for the period from October, 2007 to the present:
In February, 2009 this article in the Washington Times expalins why gas prices fell precipitously from a high of over $4.00 in 2008 to a low of $1.86 when Obama took office, but then began to rise again in 2009.
In the summer of 2008, President Bush lifted an executive order that had banned offshore drilling. Then, in Sept 2008, the congressional moratorium on offshore drilling that had been in place since 1982 expired. These two events were the primary reason for the huge drop in gas prices at the end of the year. In February 2009, however, President Obama reinstated the offshore drilling ban. He also reversed several other policies that had allowed for new drilling on federal lands. Although the new policies of the Bush administration in 2008 didn’t have time to produce new oil, the market clearly responded to them and the anticipation of increased domestic supplies. This is what futures markets do, they anticipate the future. Obama’s reversal of this new policy in February, 2009 squelched this optimism and began the sharp, steady rise in prices once again.
We often hear that Presidents have no control over the price of gas at the pump. Nonsense. They have enormous control by the policies they put in place. The current high price of gasoline at the pump is due primarily to the policies of Barack H. Obama. If he is replaced by Mitt Romney on November 6th, and if the futures markets believe that Romney will reverse the Obama policies, the futures price on a barrel of oil will begin to fall and gasoline prices at the pump won’t be far behind.