- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Don’t look now, but gas prices are beginning to bite hard again. That’s bad news for President Obama, who, until now, might have thought he had gotten lucky when prices dropped earlier in this critical election year. As the energy issue makes the campaign trail bumpier, Mr. Obama has no one to blame but himself.

The average price of a gallon of gas at the pump has jumped to $3.70, more than 30 cents higher than just six weeks ago. This means the cost has climbed more than halfway back to its high for the year, which was $3.94 in April. Market analysts point the finger at a host of factors for the rapid escalation, including fears of conflict with Iran, summer-driving-season increases, a better-than-expected July jobs report that boosted oil futures and, most recently, a California refinery fire that could reduce West Coast gas supplies by nearly 10 percent. Some gas stations in the Los Angeles area already are selling fuel at $4.50 a gallon.

Underlying the immediate reasons for repeated price spikes over the course of Mr. Obama’s 31/2 years in office are his persistent moves to choke off fossil-fuel production while claiming to do the opposite. The president’s purported “all of the above” energy policy doesn’t apply to bountiful resources below ground. The disparity between White House word and deed shouldn’t go unnoticed.

North America is capable of energy self-sufficiency, a welcome proposition presented by U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) head Adam Sieminski in Aug. 2 testimony before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. EIA statistics show U.S. oil production has achieved its highest level since 1998, a fact Team Obama is proud to cite. However, most of the increase is not due to production on federal lands, but on state and private property, which is outside the president’s jurisdiction.

North Dakota’s oil boom is a prime example of American enterprise blossoming where Uncle Sam is not in charge. Tapping into the region’s Bakken formation has allowed the Rough Rider State to jump from the No. 8 to the No. 2 oil-producing state, according to Lynn Helms, North Dakota’s mineral resources director. Much of the new oil is being pumped from private ranches and farms.

Meanwhile, Mr. Obama continues to promote his “We Can’t Wait Initiative” for “green” development while ignoring the solid economic opportunities fossil fuels present. On Aug. 7, the White House announced it would expedite seven new solar and wind projects in four western states. In contrast, permits for drilling on federal land remain hard to come by since Mr. Obama curtailed drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and across the nation following the 2010 BP spill.

It’s not bad luck that has caused gas prices to soar from $1.95 when Mr. Obama took office but the result of deliberate efforts by his left-wing administration to drive up pump costs to make greenie energy sources appear affordable by comparison. Americans are feeling the drag on their bottom line as the Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell last week to a two-month low. “We can’t wait” is what many voters think about a change of national leadership on Election Day.

The Washington Times

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