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Gas Prices: Who’s To Blame, And Who Gets Blamed, And Why

First, who’s to blame:

Contrary to what it would now have you believe, choking off production under federal leases was quite clearly a priority of this administration from the start. When gas prices reached $4 per gallon in the summer of 2008, the Bush administration reached a bipartisan agreement to open virtually all of the OCS to oil production, ending a thirty-year moratorium. In its first weeks, the Obama administration shelved the plan. Last year, Obama announced a new five-year plan effectively closing all of America’s OCS until 2017, leaving only northern Alaska and the central and western Gulf of Mexico open to drilling.

Now the Obama administration claims that it has actually opened more of the OCS to exploration than before. But that is true only in the sense that he first closed off all of what he could close, then opened up a small fraction of that. But the net effect has been to close nearly all of the OCS that was open when he assumed office.

And there’s even some good news on the other front:

The biggest swing is between the President and Iran, with some slight variations in the percentage who blame oil companies.  But with Obama in the lead among Independents, it’s also likely that they’re at least partially blaming him for encouraging Iran’s recklessness  through weakness.  We have seen that show before, after all.  The good news is that we’re not very inclined to blame ourselves for this one.  That’s going to make foolish light rail spending and high-density social engineering harder sells than they might have been.

And why:

Some 2008 reports including the March 6, 2008, “Early Show” exaggerated the already rising prices by emphasizing extremely high prices. That morning CBS showed viewers a California gas pump that was charging $5.19-a-gallon for regular unleaded before mentioning the national average for that day, which was $2.02 lower. Some 2011 reports have reversed that trend by downplaying the impact of currently high gas prices on consumers by using words like “inching” to describe rising prices, or calling U.S. prices “a bargain compared to Europe.”

Not a single one of 2011 stories about rising gas prices BMI examined brought up any of Obama’s anti-oil policies despite the impact they could have on supply and prices.


Posted in Business, Economics, Politics.

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