Bloomberg News writes today, “The surge in gasoline prices now squeezes middle-income families again as President Barack Obama approaches the election. Gasoline prices are up almost 17 percent, or 54 cents, this year through March 14, according to the American Automobile Association. . . . While gasoline accounted for just 3.8 percent of consumer spending in January, fuel prices have a disproportionate impact on both the psychology and actual finances of middle- and lower- income families. . . . The national average retail price of unleaded regular gasoline climbed to $3.821 a gallon on March 14, according to a daily survey by the American Automobile Association. That’s 7.5 percent higher than a year ago, according to AAA’s survey. Recent polls show public unhappiness with the president over energy costs. Americans by 65 percent to 26 percent disapprove of how Obama is handling the price of gas, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted March 7-10. . . . Thirty-six percent of Americans say the increase in gasoline prices has been a ‘serious hardship’ and 48 percent of those earning less than $50,000 per year say so, the same poll found.”
And according to USA Today, “Nearly one-third of the nation’s drivers now fork out $4 or more for a gallon of gasoline. After a 31-cent jump in the past month, regular gasoline averages $3.82 nationwide. But price analysis of major metropolitan areas and 10 states — home to more than 65 million of the nation’s 210 million drivers — shows even more pain at the pump, especially in heavily populated California, New York and Illinois.”
Little wonder, then, that following President Obama’s combative speech on energy yesterday, National Journal wrote, “President Obama is in full crisis-control mode as gasoline prices continue to rise. On Thursday at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Md., he gave his third speech on energy in two weeks . . . . The problem is that for many voters, Obama’s more detailed, nuanced, long-term message on energy is harder to wrap their heads around than the GOP’s short, simple idea that more drilling equals lower prices. So Obama is using repetition in hopes of drilling his own message home. . . . Don’t expect the messaging to let up: The writing is on the wall that high gas prices are hurting Obama. Historically, presidential approval ratings have fallen as gas prices have climbed, and the trend is playing out now as it has in the past.”
And yet the president continues to encourage policies that are making things worse. He rejected the Keystone XL pipeline that would have allowed the U.S. to get more oil from Canada instead of Saudi Arabia (the latter of which seems to be Sen. Chuck Schumer’s [D-NY] preferred solution), created 20,000 jobs, and allowed more American oil to get to refineries.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has repeatedly laid out President Obama’s poor record on energy: “This President continues to limit offshore areas to energy production and is granting fewer leases on public land for oil drilling. At the same time, he has encouraged other countries, like Brazil, to move forward with their own offshore drilling projects. The Obama administration continues to impose burdensome regulations on the domestic energy sector that will further drive up the cost of gasoline for the consumer. He’s proposed raising taxes on the energy sector, a move that the Congressional Research Service has said would drive up costs. And, as we all know, he flatly rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline — a potentially game-changing domestic energy project that promises not only greater independence from Middle Eastern oil, but tens of thousands of private sector jobs. All these policies help drive up the cost of gasoline and increase our dependence on foreign sources of oil.”
The president can lecture others by saying, “a lot of politicians talking a lot but not doing much,” but the facts speak for themselves and this White House’s energy policies are making things worse.