With the economy in the doldrums the price of gasoline should be stable. Demand is down—and that should be reflected in the price at the pump. Instead it's creeping up, rising faster than most Americans can keep pace with, taxing family budgets that are already stretched paper thin.
Who does President Barack Obama blame for this? Not speculators. Not international tensions in the world's oil producing regions, tensions created by his administration's feckless foreign policy. He doesn't even blame the failures of his own administration's energy policy, of which there are many. No, Obama blames the Republicans and the oil companies.
The president's preferred course of action is to spread the blame around among 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."
The one thing Obama won't do is endorse stepped up energy exploration and development here in the United States. This he dismisses as merely a "strategy to get politicians through an election."
"You know there are no quick fixes to this problem," the president said in Miami Thursday, "and you know we can't just drill our way to lower gas prices."
In fact, maybe you can. According the Consumer Energy Alliance's Michael Whatley, President Obama could, by executive order, add nearly 2.5 million new barrels of oil per day to the U.S. supply.
Among the options available, the CEA said, are:
- Build the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring 700,000 barrels of North American crude per day to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.
- Re-open the Gulf of Mexico to energy exploration, increasing production to pre-Macando levels and adding 400,000 barrels per day to U.S. supplies.
- Open Alaska by permitting exploration and production in the Chukchi Sea to fill the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and add 1.4 million barrels of oil to U.S. supplies.
Republicans responded to Obama's criticisms by putting the blame for higher gas prices back squarely on the president's shoulders.
"Instead of offering a real plan to lower the cost of gasoline, President Obama offered excuses and fantasies," former House Speaker and GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said in a release. By taking the steps the Consumer Energy Alliance suggests, Obama could "completely wipe out our dependence on the Persian Gulf, dramatically increase our energy security, and significantly reduce prices at the pump."
Steven Law, president and CEO of Crossroads GPS also fired back at the president. "Since taking office, President Obama has blocked the Keystone XL pipeline, blocked offshore oil exploration, blocked new coal plants and wants to shut down old ones, is increasingly hostile to natural gas exploration, and even hired an energy secretary whose stated goal was to double gas prices," he said. "His energy policy can be distilled down to four words: 'none of the above.'"
America needs a serious energy policy. Without one, expect the price of gas to continue to rise—and expect Obama to need to look for another job come November.