Is Barack Obama to Blame for Rising Gas Prices?

As gas prices climb to record highs, some fault President Obama's energy policy.

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Gas prices are on a record rise in the United States, with GasBuddy.com reporting them to be at an average $3.59 per gallon, an all-time high for February. Analysts predict the average prices may climb above $4.00 by the summer, with prices in some places like California, New York, and Chicago already exceeding that level. With other aspects of the economy, like unemployment, slowly improving, critics are pointing to gas hikes as proof of the failure of the Obama agenda, particularly an energy policy that emphasizes government investment in green energy over other more traditional sources like oil, coal, and natural gas. According to U.S. News contributing editor Peter Roff , rather than examining his own policies, the president blames

the usual suspects while promoting his now shopworn agenda to increase the U.S. government's investment in so-called clean energy companies. Those investments, it bears repeating, have already cost the taxpayers billions with nothing to show for it except a resurgence of "crony capitalism."

Roff argues that Obama should approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, restore energy exploration in the Gulf of Mexico to pre-Macando levels, and allow oil production in Alaska's Chukchi Sea. Furthermore, House Speaker John Boehner's office released an interactive chart detailing Obama's failures in energy policy and their impact on gas prices.

[ See a collection of political cartoons on gas prices.]

However, not everyone thinks Obama is to blame for the rising price of oil. Not surprisingly, the Obama administration is defending its energy policies. Of Republicans' "drill baby drill" philosophy, the president said, "[Americans] know that's not a plan, especially since we're already drilling. That's a bumper sticker. That's not a strategy to solve our energy challenge." U.S. News On Energy blogger Patrick DeHaan points out, as energy demand in the United States falls, the rise in prices is being driven largely by the booming economies of China, India, and Brazil, where the number of motorists is increasing exponentially. He argues,  "U.S. market is becoming less relevant to traders as the powerhouse it used to be because of its falling demand against China's surging demand," and thus, increasing the fuel economy of cars is the only way for Americans to cope with the inevitable gas hikes.

Whether or not Obama is at fault for the rising price of oil, it will undoubtedly part of the debate surrounding the presidential election. What do you think? Is Obama to blame for rising gas prices? Take the poll and comment below.

This poll is now closed, but the debate continues in the comments section.

Previously: Did Rick Santorum Blow the Arizona Debate?