Comments about ‘Politics aside, a president can do little to lower gasoline prices’

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Published: Wednesday, Sept. 12 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Hellooo
Salt Lake City, UT

The future's market is based on expectations about supply and demand for commodities. The lack of an aggressive energy policy to meet America's current and future demand for oil is directly related to the price of gasoline. The Obama administration has abandon oil and failed to promote reasonable alternatives, which is a reason current and future prices are up.

ThatsSoUtah
Fredericksburg, VA

@Hellooo
"The Obama administration has abandon oil..."

That is simply not true. US oil production is up.

The data shows that domestic oil production is in fact at its highest level in eight years. In January 2012, the U.S. produced 188.9 million barrels of oil, the largest monthly output since August 1998.

Oil prices tend to have more to do with civil unrest in the middle east. The endless talk of wars and civil uprising along with actual conflicts causes a fear of reduced supply.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

I love the cherry picking required in order to fault a president concerning gas prices.

We hear how "When Obama took office gas was under $2 and now it is approaching $4"

However, when one looks at July 2008, before Obama was even elected, and after having Bush in office for 7 1/2 years, the price of gas was well over $4.

Was THAT caused by a "lack of an aggressive energy policy" also.

Or, in that instance, were there other factors at play?

Presidents dont control or affect short term energy prices. That goes for both R and D presidents.

Esquire
Springville, UT

@ Hellooo, you give us political rhetoric, not facts. Our friend "ThatsSoUtah" got it right. The embargo against Iran, increasing consumption in China and other developing nations, other international issues, the shut down of a major California refinery, and similar issues have a cumulative effect, all of which no President can control. Politics may be fun, and you may not like our current President, but this is not about who is in the White House. Remember the gas shortage under Nixon? Was that his fault? I never blamed him, nor any other subsequent Administration. And on it goes.

Rifleman
Salt Lake City, Utah

Obama was personally for killing the Canadian Oil Pipeline Project that union workers wanted. Canada has since said they will sell that oil to China.

Why does the liberals insist that the United States remain dependent on foreign oil when we have vast untapped reserves on our own soil?

Tekakaromatagi
Dammam, Saudi Arabia

President's can control gas prices. Just not this year or now. Clinton affected the gas prices during Bush's years by permitting Detroit to make SUVs (to help the labor unions) and forcing smaller refineries to close so that "Big Oil" could make be more profitable while still having the money to produce cleaner fuels. Obama will lower oil prices because he has increased the fuel economy requirements of cars. We can thank him in 2025.

Sensible Scientist
Rexburg, ID

A couple of misleading things in the article.

First, long-term policies advocated by a president certainly can (and do) affect gasoline prices. That includes the monetary policy that devalued the dollar, responsible for much of the high oil prices (in dollars) today. Opening up the really big oil reserves in Alaska and offshore would demonstrate to the markets a resolve to develop domestic reserves, which in turn would lower oil prices a bit on the world market.

Second, lumping all "energy" in one bucket is a common but misleading tactic of politicians and reporters. Electricity and what fuels it has little relation to transportation fuels. Just because we export coal does not mean we are becoming independent regarding oil.

Third, the boom in natural gas development (which is lumped as "domestic energy") is being done in spite of the Obama administration's obstacles and discouragement, not because of anything positive they have done. The administration openly opposes petroleum drilling and has shut down or slowed the most important exploration in America.

Roger Terry
Happy Valley, UT

Excellent explanation of both commodity pricing and long-range government policy. And Rifleman, the Keystone Pipeline is a huge environmental disaster in waiting. There's a reason Canada refused to run it across their own land to the West Coast.

Noodlekaboodle
Salt Lake City, UT

@Rifleman
Last year the US produced 9.2 million barrels of oil per day. We consumed 8.6 million barrels of oil per day. Yet we export and import much more than that. So why would that be? Well, it's because we have private enterprise running our oil industry, so they sell to the highest bidder, the oil is not exclusively held in this country. The only way we could keep all of that oil is a socialist oil company. Also, how does the Canadian oil pipeline affect oil production in the US? Oil imported from Canada is still an import.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

Roger Terry - The northern gateway pipeline (Hardisty to Prince Rupert) has not been 'refused' in canada. Hearings are still ongoing; first nations groups are the ones most opposed to it. At the government level, the most fuss right now is between BC and Alberta governments over revenue sharing. While pipelines go through the approval process a great deal more oil is being transported west in canada via rail.
In any case, the president really doesn't have much control over gasoline and oil prices. We just don't have the production capacity to modify world price, and no one is seriously interested in dealing with the demand side of the equation. What something like the XL pipeline will do is add to the political stability of the US supply by giving us greater access to the largest remaining deposit on earth. Trust me, buying from the oil sands will be a far greater benefit to the US than buying from the middle east.

patriot
Cedar Hills, UT

not true - absolutely not true. Bush threatened to open up more offshore drilling and that alone drove prices lower. The threat alone and speculation that went with it did the trick. By the way - how in the world would Obama and his bunch know ANYTHING about what does or doesn't work about lowering gas prices since all the man has done is lock out drilling on public lands. No new exploration and no new wells. It is fine to stand up there and belch out a bunch of bull about how drilling won't help IF you actually TRY IT!!!

sherlock holmes
Eastern, UT

The national market, and even the international markets, understand supply and demand. When there is more of the commondity on the market, it drives the price down. Bush encouraged domestic drilling and production. Obama has not encouraged it.

Domestic production has increased, but not because of anything Obama has done. He is tightly controlled by the greenish members on his team and party. If he would encourage more leasing and drilling, and we got an extra 250,000 barrels production per day in the US, the probability of lower prices increaes considerably.

He is not for this. Activity on public lands and offshore has dropped. REgulation and uncertainty in the permitting process has risen.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

"Bush threatened to open up more offshore drilling and that alone drove prices lower. "

The gas prices went sub $2 under Bush for one reason. There was a worldwide economic slowdown and the demand for gas dropped.

Based on your logic Patriot, please tell me why gas was more than $4 in July 08 and less than $2 later in the year?

4601
Salt Lake City, UT

"It's not my fault, blame Bush.' That only goes so far. This president takes credit for bin Laden, an effort which started during the previous administration, yet he takes blame for nothing. The liberals including Nancy Pelosi blamed Bush for gas prices during his presidency. How have things changed, Madam Speaker?

patriot
Cedar Hills, UT

re:JoeBlow

Prove it !!! All I know is after Bush threatened to open up drilling the price began to drop and every single economist I have heard agrees. There is no way some global slowdown would push gas prices down that fast and that far. That is ridiculous. Liberals are always straining at ways to stop drilling ... that is in case we are talking about a foreign country in South America and then liberals are all for encouraging and even paying for the drilling down there. Makes you wonder why liberals are so much against American oil independence??

silo
Sandy, UT

patriot

You made the claim that Bush's threats directly led to the reduction in gas prices. It falls upon you to prove you statement, not upon others to prove it didn't happen.

The fact that you became belligerent and defensive when called on your claim pretty much shows that you posted your opinion as fact, but have nothing to support it.

For example, you claim that 'every single economist' you've heard supports your statement. Fine, name one of them.

UtahBlueDevil
Durham, NC

Patriot.... you crack me up. The prices fell... yeah, they fell all the way up to $150 a barrel just one year before the election I would really double check your sources. Unless your source is the IEA, I would really question the source.

Right now, the threat of disruption in the middle east is the number one factor in prices being what they are. Prices were low before war was injected into the region. The prices fall when there is the threat of stability there. Every time some hot shot politician talks about escalating the wars in the region, or opening up new conflicts like with Iran, the price jumps, only to fall when everyone stands down from the rhetoric.

I would really love to see this list of economist that think that think the US can drill baby drill its way to lower prices in any near time frame.... please list these for us all to share in this instight.

rmk
South Jordan, UT

We used to regulate gas prices and we should do it again. We could tax the exports of any gas product to make it to high to export. We could open more refineries but the EPA will not allow it. We could make only 3 blends of gas so that they gas could be moved around state to state instead of 29 blends. There is no free enterprise only greed the economy is about dead again and the main reason is gas prices. A barrel is under $100 and we are paying $4 a gallon. In 2008 a barrel was $148 and we were paying $4 a gallon. Every company out there is trying to keep cost low and compete with other companies but not big oil. Any talk about regulating gas price along with drilling would bring down the price. We have democrats in bed with environmentalist who want gas $6.50 a gallon and republicans in bed with oil companies that just wan't big cash donations and us voters who in 50 days could fire all of the house and the president by not voting for anyone in office.

loneamerican
SOUTH SALT LAKE, UT

From 6/23/08 till Obama took office in 1/20/09 gas prices were driven down by speculators from 4.58/gal to 2.06/gal in California, because of worldwide recession concerns. No one complains when speculators push prices down only when they drive them up. These moves are always due to actual economic concerns or threats to production like unrest in the middle east, not some group of speculators trying to corner the market.

loneamerican
SOUTH SALT LAKE, UT

Mr Chilton praises President Obama'a request for "an end to tax breaks for oil companies who have made record profits." These tax breaks are used by many non oil companies throughout the country, but I guess they are not making enough 'record profits', so only oil companies deserve to have the tax break eliminated.

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