Obama aggravating high gasoline prices

Obama aggravating high gasoline prices

March 18th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

Gasoline today costs about double what it cost when President Barack Obama took office a little over three years ago.

Yet it is not clear just how high the price of a gallon of gas will have to go before the president recognizes that his energy policies are undercutting economic recovery and making it harder for the American people to make ends meet.

The pain of high gasoline prices is not merely the sticker shock you feel when you fill your tank. That's because rising fuel prices also mean vastly higher costs for shipping goods. The milk, eggs, meat, produce and everything else you buy at the grocery store have to be hauled there. When gasoline goes up, that increases the price you pay for other items. So even if you exercise thrift by doing things such as carpooling or reducing discretionary driving, higher gas prices still find a way to lighten your wallet or pocketbook.

Yet the president's actions make it woefully clear that he is out of touch with the day-to-day economic concerns of ordinary people. In fact, those actions read like a virtual recipe for gasoline prices that have soared above where they were just a year ago -- and that are expected to exceed $4 per gallon soon.

The most notable bad decision by the president in recent months was his rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have brought Canadian oil to U.S. refineries in Texas.

In addition to boosting our oil supply from a friendly country, the pipeline project would have created potentially tens of thousands of U.S. jobs. But the president rejected it to please his environmental extremist friends -- even at the risk of alienating some of his labor union allies, who were hoping to get the work.

The president also has put off for at least five years any consideration of drilling for oil off our Atlantic Coast, and he will not compromise on his opposition to drilling off the Pacific Coast. By contrast, Republicans in Congress proposed legislation that would open up drilling off our coasts and in part of a frigid, mostly unpopulated area of Alaska.

The Heritage Foundation notes that the United States is "the only country in the world that places a majority of its territorial waters off-limits to oil and gas exploration. Removing the de facto moratorium on drilling would immediately increase supply, create jobs, and bring in royalty revenue to federal and state governments."

What makes the president's and congressional Democrats' resistance to domestic production of oil even more exasperating is that instability overseas is also currently affecting gas prices.

Troublesome Iran is making hostile moves in the oil-rich Persian Gulf region which are creating tension and driving up oil prices. While the U.S. Navy could undoubtedly respond with overwhelming force if Iran followed through with its threat to close the important Strait of Hormuz, such a confrontation would add even more instability -- and make oil prices skyrocket.

This is precisely the time when the president and Congress should be moving full speed ahead to develop our domestic energy resources, not to keep them off limits and keep us dependent on nations that are hostile or unstable.

On a visit to Miami, the president criticized the Republicans' plan as "Step one is drill, step two is drill, and step three is keep drilling. ... We've heard the same thing for 30 years."

But if years ago we had begun the responsible, environmentally safe drilling of which our country is clearly capable, we would not be facing $4-plus gasoline prices.

Why should we wait any longer before we begin to make use of the energy that we can produce right here at home?