Politicians Shouldn’t Promise To Fix Gas Prices

Gas prices are perhaps one of the most visible costs in the economy. After all, on just about every street in America, there’s a gas station with a big sign out front telling us what the latest prices are. Those prices also tend to be rather volatile, which makes gas prices one of the most controversial costs in America too.

For years politicians have campaigned on lowering the price of gas. The RNC is hitting President Obama for his promises to lower gas prices in a new ad:

Republican candidates, too, are vowing to lower gas prices with Newt Gingrich mentioning a specific price of $2.50 per gallon.

It’s always amazed me how political rhetoric is expended on gas prices given how minute, really, the price swings are in terms of cost to an individual.

Currently the national average for the cost of a gallon of gasoline is $3.64. If Newt Gingrich were successful in reducing gas prices to $2.50/gallon, that’d be a savings of $1.14 per gallon, or $22.80 on a 20-gallon fill-up. Assuming an average of two fill-ups per month, we’re talking about a difference of just over $45 or $547.20 per year.

Now, I’m not saying an extra $45 or $50 per month wouldn’t be important to a lot of families, but in proportion to the amount of time spent debating gas prices, it’s a small difference.

Besides, prices will be what they will be. Oil prices reflect an enormous number of variables, from weather conditions in the oil fields to foreign political strife. The most we should want from a politician is a promise not to tax, regulate or otherwise impede the production of energy needlessly.

The best solution for energy prices is a free energy market.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • Jamermorrow

    No way gas prices will go down as long as the Fed has to monetize the governments debt. Oil prices are going up because of monetary problems. Anybody that owns Gold and Silver knows oil prices are going down relative to those two currencies. If you own U.S. dollars you are going to see much higher prices. No way oil companies can increase supply faster than the fed can print money. Those of you that think it is a supply problem keep bitching to the politicians. Those of you that understand it is a monetary problem keep buying Gold.

    • headward

      Just wait for QE4 to hit.  The only gas prices will fall is to have the fed raise interest rates 10x their current rates.

      • sbark

        We are already into QE4……..the Fed is shoving trillions into the markets by buying worthless Euro Country bonds to bail them out…….

        they have just stopped using QE as its become a 4 letter word………now the Left has come up with their cute names like “operation twist”…….

        • headward

          Ah, just like global warming to climate change.

          • sbark

            Your on to them………throw in the “fairness doctrine” to cut off talk radio,   throw in the change from Liberal to “progressive”….

            Everything with the left is a shell game….deception

            Nothing is as it seems with the Left

          • $8194357

            (Everything with the left is a shell game….deception)

            Eat this apple and become just like god..Alinsky knew when he dedicated his” Rules for Radicles” that the left has been inbred with..

            Look 180 degrees left of what they call it to see what it “actually” acomplishes for them…

            The “intended” “unitended” consequences “in the name of the PC thing or group”…

            It is what it is…not what they call it….

        • $8194357

          Planned marxist economic deconstruction that Soros INC. has used for decades around the globe…

    • borborygmi

      Saving with gold hinges on the price you bought it at and when.  I bought silver a $7 but that was 20 years ago.  It hovered around 5.50 for the longest time, It spiked at around 42, but since I needed nothing I never cashed in.  If you bought gold at 1600 big whoop. 

      • Jamermorrow

         Like anything else you buy. I started buying when the war started because I know that governments pay for war through inflation. Always have and always will.

      • sbark

        I dont think you are seeing the endlesss posibilities to which govt will print money to avoid blame for their economic problems….

        Think Zimbaubwae……….

        • $8194357

          (Think Zimbaubwae……….)
          Think Hitler where Soros learned all his moves and the Muhlahs who as well influanced him, Hitler…

  • DopeyDem

    Why hasn’t anyone questioned Nanny Pelosi on her claim to fix prices when they went over $1.80 a gallon? She’s obviously fixed them just like any lefty would. Europe here we come.

  • Neiman

    Unfortunately, Rob just sits down and accepts the false premise nothing can be done and apparently being affluent himself, discounts the genuine pain at the pump for average Americans and the financial pain at the market and elsewhere that high gas prices create.. There are many things a President may do to drastically cut gas prices in the short term and even more in the long term. It takes leadership and the political will to do something and Rob just surrenders on that issue.

    Try immediately ending all special environmental blends as an emergency measure ($1.00/gallon). Next, force an export tax on oil companies, with those revenues being used by them directly in lowering per gallon costs to the dealers (.25-.50 cents/gallon). Suspend all federal and state gas taxes as a shorter term emergency measure ($1.15 gallon). Then open up drilling off the coasts and elsewhere with a long term commitment to extract and refine that oil for the long term. End other environmental regulations on coal. There are probably better and more suggestions along the wise that will immediately cut gas prices by $2.00 or more dollars per gallon, and when domestic production/refinement increases that will help sustain lower prices, taxes and environmental blends, if still thought necessary, could be slowly phased back in.

  • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

    Conservatives want to make it about personal irresponsibility and politics instead of reality.

    The reality is gas is lower than it was before bush handed the crashing economy over to the adults.  Now Conservatives who whine about not being able to afford the gas guzzler they purchased want government to bail them out and intervene in capitalism to artificially reduce the price of oil and Newt Gingrich and a host of other liars in the GOP primary are happy to oblige them and lead them down this road to socialism.

    What a joke!

    • sbark

      Earth to Pluto…….Earth to Pluto……….are you “out there” or what

      • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

        What ever!  The fact is conservatives are crying about gas prices and trying to hang it around Obama’s neck, even though prices are lower than the highest point (gas price) under bush.  Fox News demands Obama intervene in who the oil is sold to in an effort to artificially reduce our price and all of SAB conservatives are whining about their inability to afford gas.

        What is it exactly that you take issue with?

        • Bat One

          …and all of SAB conservatives are whining about their inability to afford gas.

          You really shouldn’t make it quite so easy for those of us with “intellectual superiority” (your words!) to take note of the fact that you’re lying!

          My complaint isn’t that gas prices are rising.  Its that Obama’s chosen policies have exasperated the situation, deliberately, when the more reasonable, market-based course of action would have been to choose policies that would have increased global supplies of crude and increased domestic production.

          Finally, please don’t feel that I’m picking on you.  I understand fully the limits of your comprehension.  But there are others who read these remarks, and its quite possible that my comments might find favor with them, and perhaps even start an intelligent, cogent, fact-based discussion of the subject at hand.

        • sbark

          Obama is just the culmination of the lefts decades long attack on US energy.    The Left has stopped exploration of oil sands in Colo/Utah,  Gulf Shore, Anwar.   Has stopped refinery capacity expansion,  Stopped Nuc Plant construction….

          ..and then  turned around a wasted billions in croniesm to worthless non competitive solar and wind energy…..that wouldnt have left the ground without govt money in the 1st place.

          I’ve seen estimates that if allowed, US energy could litterly generate the 15 trillion needed to payoff the US debt compiled by decades of Left wing Entitlement spending on non-producers to this society

          That alone would flood the world with energy and remove the money flow to the Dem’cats allies…….radical Islam, Chavez etc….

          The Left thrives in shortages……they can then bring in more Govt beuracries to “manage the shortages”,make sure their cronies get a peice of the pie, and punish political opponents….

          other than that I have no issues with the Lefts energy policies.

          • $8194357

            Ten ring…

            A crisis is a terrible thing to waste..natural or manufactured!!!

        • Todd

          Be patient little troll. Gas prices will be soaring much higher than at any time during Bush, it’s what obama wants. Kill the economy, kill the country.

          • Ratbite

            Remember Todd a prosperous people will not willingly grasp at the straw of false hope that the Marxist Socialism of Barrack Hussein Obama offers to solve oall that ails us.

          • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

            Ah, yes….the conservative hope for failure so they can reclaim what they destroyed.  Sorry, but your delusions and conspiracty theories are challenged by the facts.

            Obama is helping the country recover from the failure of the former occupant, and he’s killing bad guys too!

          • Bat One

            A word of caution here, Lil Feller.  You are just about the last person to be discussing economic policy… never mind crowing about Obama’s economic policy “successes.”  

            The US economy is growing – barely – at a bit less than 2%, not the 4% – 5% Obama told us it would be.  The unemployment rate is down, true.  But only because the administration keeps reducing the number of unemployed by removing those who are “no longer looking for work.  The drop in the rate doesn’t come close to matching the number of new private sector jobs and the number of new unemployment claims.  And though corporate profits and the stock market are up, both facts have a lot more to do with corporate expansion and profits in overseas markets, and of course the weaker dollar, thanks to Mr. Bernanke, than any sort of sustained robust growth in the US.

            Fact is, while there is some modest amount of good economic news, it has nothing to do with Obama administration policies, which you would be hard pressed to detail in any event.

            We already know that fiscal and monetary policy aren’t exactly your strong suit.  There’s no need to prove the point all over again.

          • Jamermorrow

             The economy is not growing. What is growing is our debt and inflation. We underestimate inflation using the CPI.

          • Bat One

            I haven’t forgotten that I owe you a discussion about fractional banking/lending/credit.  I’m late for the gym, but I WILL get back to it.

          • Todd

               Poor Hanni,. Gas is almost 100% higher now since Obama took office.
            Obama has killed oil drilling and that doesn’t help. If $1.79 a gallon
            was a Bush failure, I’ll take it over what you claim is Obama success of
            almost $4.00 a gallon. There is no Obama recovery, it’s nothing but
            failure.As I said before, Be patient little troll, gas prices will be soaring much higher than at
            any time during Bush, it’s what obama wants. Kill the economy, kill the
            country.

          • $8194357

            It is what “all international progressives” want…

  • banjo kid

    Speaking of gold , why if gold is such a good investment why are the companies selling it hand over fist, would it not make sense to keep the biggest part and only sell what was needed to run things and pay the bills? I fear for the people who have bought much gold, as I see it falling somewhere down the road of time,. If Obama would take the gloves and the boots off the necks of the producers we would have some what lower prices at the pump . rising gas prices turn into weekly pay cuts for workers .  If you bought gold at a substantial lower cost I would if it were me sell it or most of it, but also would wait til the tax goes down on investments .

    • Jamermorrow

      Gold will go down in price if the Fed drastically raises interest rates and the government quits spending so much. I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

    • $8194357

      Can’t eat gold?

      • Jamermorrow

         You can sell it any where in the world and get food for it.

        • $8194357

          Love will get you thru times of no money better than money will get you thru times with no love, perhaps?

          Gold will be worthless with no food to eat or water to drink but would make a good weight to hide the bodies..

          In all honesty,
          Never had any Jammer so I wouldn’t know

  • Demosthenes

    Gas, Gold, Silver, or Bonds. It really doesn’t matter until some wants it.

  • mickey_moussaoui

    I prefer land with hardwoods on it. A single good oak or hickory tree is worth thousands in veneer. Plus you can always hunt on it.

  • Grizzler1

    The price of fuel affects the cost of everything you buy. It isnt just the price of the gas you put in your car. When fuel prices are up it causes the cost of products and services to rise. 
    POTUS has little to do with the short term cost of fuel. The congress has far more influence, and even then the markets will follow a natural course based on supply world wide.
    Collusion within the industry is a bigger issue, but still, the main factor is simply supply.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      That’s fair, there is certainly a multiplier effect.

      But the idea of “collusion” within the industry is a little ridiculous.

      • Grizzler1

         Collusion exists in every major commodity industry. OPEC is a coalition of oil producers colluding to keep prices where they think they need to be. Im not even saying collusion is so bad, just that it exists in the oil industry, as well as most, if not all other industries. Its human nature and its often good business, but it sometimes warps the free market.
        Market forces eventually correct this type of thing, but in the short term it affects consumer prices without a doubt.
        Not ridiculous at all if you are willing to be honest about how the system works.

  • Neiman

    Obama Energy Secretary Admits the Administration, including Comrade-Chairman Obama do NOT want to lower gas prices at all.

    ” Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu uttered the kind of Washington gaffe that consists of telling the truth when inconvenient. According to Politico, Chu admitted to a House committee that the administration is not interested in lowering gas prices.

    Chu, along with the Obama administration, regards the spike in gas prices as a feature rather than a bug. High gas prices provide an incentive for alternate energy technology, a priority for the White House, and a decrease in reliance on oil for energy.

    The Heritage Foundation points out that hammering the American consumer with high gas prices to make electric and hybrid cars more appealing is consistent with Obama administration policy and Chu’s philosophy. That explains the refusal to allow the building of the Keystone XL pipeline and to allow drilling in wide areas of the U.S. and offshore areas.

    http://news.yahoo.com/energy-secretary-chu-admits-administration-ok-high-gas-193900713.html

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