Wednesday, March 14, 2012

'Silver Bullet' for High Gas Prices: Drilling, Exploration

One of the most pernicious memes we're hearing right now amid surge in gas prices is that "there’s little a president can do to affect the day-to-day price of fuel in a global market." That's not quite accurate, actually, and in fact to hear progressives you'd think that the administration should be completely absolved of the country's energy crisis.

In fact, Americans think that a whole lot could be done to revive U.S. energy production, and thus bring down prices at the pump. See IBD, "Poll: Public Anger Over Gasoline Prices Hurting Obama." And see also IBD's editorial, "Obama's Limits On Oil Output Cause Higher Gas Prices":
President Obama says Newt Gingrich "isn't telling the truth" when he claims he could cut the price of gas to $2.50 a gallon if elected. Well, the price of gas when Obama took office was $1.83 a gallon. Was that a lie?

'There's no silver bullet" for high gas prices, the president said Monday. This is utterly false. The "silver bullet" for anything in short supply is to make more of it, which lowers the price — something Obama steadfastly refuses to do with oil.

When Obama entered office in January 2009, a gallon of unleaded gasoline went for about $1.83. Today, that same gas goes for $3.53 — a 93% increase. Some of it, of course, is the Iran crisis. But, as the American Petroleum Institute (API) notes, that's not the main problem. Obama's policies are.

"Gasoline prices are higher today at least in part because government has neglected to pay sufficient attention to the importance of producing more of our own oil and natural gas," said API Director Erik Milito.

President Obama likes to brag that oil and gas output has risen during his term. True, but he had absolutely nothing to do with it. Output, according to a new API study, "increased in 2011 over 2009 only as a result of growing production on state and private lands — up almost 29% for oil and 22% for natural gas."

By comparison, on federal lands, which Obama's administration controls, production fell 7.9% for oil and 6.8% for natural gas over the same period.

Surprised? Don't be. President Obama's Energy Secretary Stephen Chu in 2008 said, "Somehow, we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." That's above $8 a gallon.

Also in 2008, then-candidate Obama likewise said he wanted prices to rise. So he can't feign surprise as his policies inevitably lead to less oil and higher prices.

Obama killed the Keystone XL pipeline, which alone would have brought in 800,000 barrels of oil a day. He has shut off huge swaths of our offshore to further oil development, and slowed permitting in the Gulf of Mexico. He keeps our shale-oil reserves under lock and key.

All told, the U.S. has as much as two trillion barrels of oil equivalents trapped in the ground and offshore — about eight times the reserves Saudi Arabia has. Yet, Obama doesn't want us to get it. Less supply, higher prices, by design. Call it the Obama Gasoline Tax.
Ending Obama's energy policies would be a "silver bullet" for gas prices.

And still more at IBD, "IBD/TIPP Poll: Gas Turns Americans Dimmer On Economy."