By Teresa Welsh |
The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States is now $3.74, a 29-cent increase over the past month. This trend shows no signs of slowing down, as AAA says that today marks the 24th straight day that prices have gone up. According to the Associated Press, gasoline has never been more expensive during this time of the year.
With the summer, and the high gas prices it invariably brings, approaching, people have started to place blame for the spike in prices, and some have centered their attacks on Barack Obama. Blaming presidents for gas prices is nothing new, and the upcoming election hasn’t helped curb the attacks. Critics argue that the president isn’t making an effort to stymie the rise in gas prices by exploiting domestic oil reserves.
“The president actually has some options that make a lot of sense to a lot of Americans,” said Sen. John Barrasso, a Republican from Wyoming, “and that option, of course, is to increase American energy production.”
Obama’s defenders say that the price of gasoline is out of the president’s control. They argue that the reasons behind spikes in oil prices are notoriously hard to diagnose, and they point to tensions with Iran, conflict in Syria, and increased demand from China as the real problems.
Regarding Iran specifically, the president’s situation is especially difficult, as economic sanctions on the country tighten global oil supplies. “It’s a bind for Obama,” Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service, told the New York Times recently. “How do you get tough on Iran without getting tough on American wallets?”
Is Obama to blame for high gas prices? Here’s the Debate Club’s take:
Daniel Simmons Director of State Affairs at the Institute for Energy Research
Douglas Holtz-Eakin President of the American Action Forum
Christopher Prandoni Federal Affairs Manager of Americans for Tax Reform
Nicolas Loris Policy Analyst in the Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation