Gas Prices Are Up Again
President Barack Obama can’t complain too much about people blaming him for the continuing increase in the price of a gallon of gas. When he campaigned for the presidency back in 2008, Mr. Obama castigated the administration of President George W. Bush over the same issue. Mr. Obama pounded Mr. Bush and the conservatives. Mr. Obama told the public that they were paying two and a half times the price of gas when Mr. Bush took office back in 2000. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Now, Mr. Obama’s conservative contenders blame him for energy policies that have resulted in a sudden increase in the price of gas in this presidential election year.
Current gas prices have seriously hindered Mr. Obama’s approval ratings. The majority of people believe that the President has a lot of power to control gas prices and many disapprove of how Mr. Obama is handling the issue. People believe that Mr. Obama is impeding domestic oil production and if we could just produce more of our own oil the price of gas would fall dramatically. It’s the “drill, baby, drill” mentality. And it doesn’t help that Mr. Obama rejected Canada’s Keystone pipeline that would have made it easier for Alberta’s tar sand oil to get to the global market by trekking across the Midwest.
More oil on the market would only help if the high price of gas was the result of an oil shortage. There’s plenty of oil being produced and in reserves all around the globe so putting more oil out there really isn’t going to make much of a dent in gasoline prices. In all likelihood, the primary cause of the recent rise in gas prices is a combination of increasing tension with Iran and other recent and ongoing conflicts in oil producing and Middle Eastern countries such as Sudan, Syria, and Libya. Speculators and oil traders are nervous about a possible conflict in this part of the globe. The fear is that we could have production cut off. There’s plenty of oil right now, but what’s going to happen in the near future? As long as oil remains a primary component of our national energy policy our national economy will be impacted by the price of oil.
In a recent government study produced by the Obama administration, the United States reduced imports of crude oil last year by ten percent. We now import about forty five percent of our petroleum need, compared to almost the sixty percent figure in 2008. Imports have fallen because the United States has increased domestic energy production in recent years. Domestic crude oil production is the highest it has been since 2003.
The issue of supply is only one of two factors for the oil market. There is also the issue of demand. Americans love machinery that consumes gas. We are addicted to big thirsty vehicles. For some of us being told to buy a more fuel efficient automobile is like laying down a gauntlet. Politicians will pander that you can’t put a gun rack in a fuel efficient vehicle. Even if that was the case why would you need to carry your gun rack around?
Before somebody gets their panties in a gasoline soaked wad and tries to use baseless rhetoric, if you want a monster truck with a supercharged Hemi motor, forty inch tires and an eighteen inch lift kit to carry your guns around then by all means have at it. But if the price of gasoline goes up because so many of us want to buy this type of vehicle or something similar then do we really have the right to complain that somebody else isn’t doing enough to keep the price of oil down? Like a lot of things that we enjoy in our market driven social economic structure, oil is a commodity and its price is driven by the tried and true rules of supply and demand.
Americans consume more than a quarter of the world’s production of crude oil. That’s not just the President’s fault. That’s a problem that is compounded by everyone who squanders energy. It would be one thing if the President was out there encouraging people to consume more and more than necessary. But the President tries to tell us that we need to be more energy efficient. And the moment he says we should work for a more energy efficient future some of us complain that we need bigger and less efficiency because some of us got gun racks to carry around. Whose fault is that?
Personally, I’d love to have a Ford Mustang Boss or Shelby with a bigger than most eight cylinder engine eager to suck down every drop of gasoline I can put in its tank. But if I’m ever in a position to actually get one I’d like to think that it wouldn’t be my primary set of wheels. I hope to be wise enough to mitigate my fuel expenditure with a more efficient vehicle as my daily driver. The thought of having something else in the driveway that uses something other than gas is a truly attractive proposition. Maybe the people who insist on having a less efficient vehicle to carry a gun rack around can do the same thing.
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