Republican politicians, having no real accomplishments to run on, have seized on wrongfully blaming President Obama for rising gas prices as a campaign issue. It’s been debunked many times already, but the GOP keeps “repeating the propaganda,” as President Bush once admitted to doing. So let’s review why you’re really paying more for gas. It’s not because we aren’t drilling enough in the U.S:
A statistical analysis of 36 years of monthly, inflation-adjusted gasoline prices and U.S. domestic oil production by The Associated Press shows no statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump.
If more domestic oil drilling worked as politicians say, you’d now be paying about $2 a gallon for gasoline. Instead, you’re paying the highest prices ever for March.
U.S. oil production is back to the same level it was in March 2003, when gas cost $2.10 per gallon when adjusted for inflation. But that’s not what prices are now.
In fact, “Over 80 percent of America’s energy needs are now being satisfied by domestic supplies.” At this point we’re even exporting energy products. So drilling more isn’t going to help. I remind you the “number of oil drilling rigs in the U.S.is at record highs. Between oil and gas drilling rigs, the U.S. now has more rigs at work than the rest of the world combined.”
And no, the Keystone pipeline isn’t going to do a thing to lower prices:
Supporters of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline say it would bring 25 million barrels of oil to the United States a month. That’s the same increase in U.S. production that occurred between February and November last year. Monthly gas prices went up a dime a gallon in that time.
And while gas prices are high now, let’s not forget when they were the highest in the last five years:
When Bush and running mate Dick Cheney campaigned in 2000, they argued that as oil executives they could get oil prices down, with Bush saying, ”I would work with our friends in OPEC to convince them to open up the spigot, to increase the supply.”
Yet it was during the last few months of Bush’s term in 2008 that gas prices hit their highest: $4.27 when adjusted for inflation.
So to recap, the actual oil supply is not the driving force behind gas prices. Any politician that promises you they can lower the price is lying. As the AP points out, “That’s because oil is a global commodity and U.S. production has only a tiny influence on supply. Factors far beyond the control of a nation or a president dictate the price of gasoline.”
The only way we’re going to become energy independent is to use less oil and develop alternatives to all fossil fuels. Thankfully, that’s exactly what President Obama’s “all of the above” approach to our energy needs is designed to do.