Obama Energy Policies Have Cost Economy $358 Billion

Facts are sometimes nasty, persistent things that get in the way of the best political spin. 

President Obama likes to say that oil production is up and that the rise in gasoline prices is not his fault, but the facts challenge his words. Energy production is up, but only due to policies and practices set in motion ten years ago by the George W. Bush administration, and production is up only on private fields. Exploration and production on public lands has declined under Obama, and the facts are simply getting in the way of his rhetoric.

Unfortunately for the American people, the facts relative to gasoline prices can actually be measured in terms of a loss of wealth and prosperity. The national average price of gasoline across all grades and formulations when Obama took office on January 20, 2009, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (the “EIA”), was $1.89 per gallon. According to EIA data, over the three years and three months that Obama has been in office, the national average price of gasoline across all grades and formulations is $2.99 per gallon. The current price is $3.93 per gallon.

Economists estimate that for every $0.01 increase in a gallon of gasoline sustained for one full year, the economy loses $1 billion for that year. During the time of Obama’s term in office, this data shows that the average sustained rise in the price of a gallon of gasoline has been $1.1028 per gallon. The cost to the economy over Obama’s three years and three months in office, therefore, is $358.4 billion. With the current price $0.96 higher than the average, expect a loss of over $285 billion in 2012 alone if the current price is sustained over the benchmark $1.89 through the end of the year.

To be fair to President Obama and do what he and his supporters have done consistently on the economy, a comparison of the data on this issue to data on the same issue from former President George W. Bush is appropriate. The comparison, to be consistent, will be the actual data during Bush’s first three years and three months in office and to the actual data during the exact same period of Obama’s time in office. 

According to the EIA, the national average price of gasoline across all grades and all formulations over Bush’s first three years and three months in office was $1.50 per gallon. When compared to the same $1.89 per gallon benchmark, the economy benefitted by $127 billion under Bush versus the loss of $358.4 billion under Obama for the same time in office. Inflation over both periods averaged less than 2% per year and therefore had little impact on the magnitude of these results.

Clearly, there are many issues that affect the price of a gallon of gasoline. However, those issues tend to factor out over a long enough period of study. Three years and three months is certainly enough time to make most of those issues moot relative to the results.

The point is simply that the American people need to pay more attention to the facts and less to the rhetoric. President Obama boasts about how he is helping most American families; however, his poor energy policies have cost the 120 million households in our country an average of $3,000 per household due to gasoline prices alone.


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