A group called 30 Something Dallas posed an interesting question this morning: Will Gas Prices Hurt President Obama’s Re-Election?. Hurt, no. Affect, yes! But why should it?
War talks are affecting gas prices right now. If the Strait of Hormuz (controlled by Iran) closes then 20% of all the world’s traded oil becomes virtually inaccessible and gas prices shoot through the roof. As long as the war rhetoric continues this threat is imminent and OPEC speculation of gas prices will remain high.
Enter: the 2012 election. Where the President’s opposition loses this battle is proving to the American people their actions will produce more oil than the already record production we’re seeing now.
But in a recent Pew Research poll, 18% of Americans placed blame square at the foot of the President for surging gas prices. And although this number reflects over 80% of Americans thinking otherwise, this administration is the largest collective vessel for blame. So for pundits and bumper sticker politics ~ “It’s the President’s fault”.
The only Presidential hopeful with enough audacity (and frankly a good enough plan) to debate that idea is Newt Gingrich (who won’t win the nomination but will beat the drum from sidelines anyway). Gingrich’s plan is bold and I like it but it lacks a roadmap. It’s a theory that over 3 or 4 years of voting and bills and lobbying we could be producing over 50% of the worlds oil. America would be better off putting his plan in the hands state-level interests. No President would have the political capital or time to deliver of such a plan. But local municipalities and states could pull it off sooner.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOImnCrKPZ8#t=652s] What’s partially to blame is the positive progress the economy has made since the 2009 recession’s weakest point. Newt Gingrich enjoys a very damaging anecdote for the President:
When I was speaker of the house, we paid $1.13 on average for those 4 years. When Barack Obama became president we paid $1.89 per gallon that week.
This is the part when I squint and squirm uncomfortably in my seat. Gas prices averaged less than $2 because we were in the thick of a recession.
Of course this was reflected at the pumps in 2009! At a time when it was absurd to charge almost $4 OPEC suppressed speculations.
Overall, as Americans we do control a great deal of our own destiny as it pertains to gas prices. There are options at our disposal to help ease the pains of volatility at the pump. Let’s drive less and order more online, regularly maintain our vehicles, chill on the road rage, avoid overloading the half-ton trucks, etc. Sure all this maybe amounts to 20% savings at the pump but options are what make this country great right?
Is it the President’s fault gas is as high as it is when we’re clearly producing more oil today than produced in the last few decades? Probably not. But maybe all this talk of war and alternative energy has got OPEC a little anxious and they’re trying to get as much as they can… while they can.