According to the Energy Information Agency, the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded in the United States was $1.838 on Jan. 19, 2009 — the day before Barack Obama took office. Since then, gasoline is up 96 percent.
AAA officials attribute the spike to regional refinery issues, a move toward summer-blend gasoline and “more expensive crude.”
But recently discovered domestic shale oil and gas reserves are enough to last a century. Why aren’t oil prices tumbling?
Nor do American consumers pay higher gasoline prices just when they fill up at the pump. Higher fuel prices drive up transportation costs that have to be added to everything we buy — especially food.
Add the increase in electric bills from utilities now required to buy a certain percentage of their power from vastly more expensive sources such as solar farms and windmills — subsidized with our tax dollars as political favors to big campaign contributors (think Tulsa billionaire George Kaiser of Solyndra, or Sen. Harry Reid’s cozy relationship with ENN Mojave Energy) — and energy costs help explain why most people are experiencing a decline in their standard of living.
But at least folks in Washington are doing everything they can to help, right?
Sorry, bad joke.
In the same January 2008 interview with the editorial board of the San Francisco Chronicle in which Sen. Barack Obama promised to bankrupt anyone foolish enough to build a coal-burning power plant, he also told the editors: “Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. … You can already see what the arguments will be during the general election. People will say, ‘Ah, Obama and Al Gore, these folks, they’re going to destroy the economy, this is going to cost us eight trillion dollars,’ or whatever their number is.”
In one of the presidential debates last October, Mr. Obama bragged he was expanding U.S. oil production. But oil production has grown only on private lands Mr. Obama does not control.
Mr. Obama still wants new taxes on domestic oil production and a cap-and-trade system designed specifically to increase the cost of using fossil fuels so alternative energy sources will appear more competitive.
Mr. Obama is still calling for an end to the oil depletion allowance that lets U.S. oil producers recover the cost of new exploration — in effect a new $85 billion tax, notes commodities analyst Dave Juday in The Weekly Standard.
And the president has cut back on leasing of federal lands, as Mitt Romney pointed out in their October presidential debate.
President Obama’s own Department of Energy issued a report a year ago that shows fossil fuel production on federal and Indian lands is the lowest it’s been in nine years.
Mr. Obama has blocked the Keystone XL Pipeline, cut the number of offshore oil leases and blocked drilling off both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, as well as most of Alaska.
Gasoline prices don’t have to be this high. Washington is doing it on purpose.
A version of this editorial appeared Feb. 25 in the Las Vegas Review-Journal.