President Barack Obama continues to struggle with Americans’ growing ire over soaring gas prices–the highest ever at this time of year.
Part of Mr. Obama’s challenge is that he continues to make misleading statements that only conflate his growing problems on gas policy. Here are at least four of them Mr. Obama made in the last week alone:
1. On March 7, 2012, Mr. Obama said this in a speech in Mount Holly, North Carolina:
PRESIDENT OBAMA: “Now, because of these new standards for cars and trucks, they’re going to — all going to be able to go further and use less fuel every year. And that means pretty soon you’ll be able to fill up your car every two weeks instead of every week — and, over time, that saves you, a typical family, about $8,000 a year.”
AUDIENCE MEMBER: “We like that.”
OBAMA: “You like that, don’t you?”
OBAMA: “Eight thousand dollars — that’s no joke. … It looks like somebody might have fainted up here.”
REALITY: According to the Washington Post Fact-Checker, Mr. Obama’s claim that Americans will save $8,000 a year isn’t true. In actuality, they will save $8,000 over the life of a car–and that’s only if government estimates hold accurate until 2025. One of those estimates assumes that the future price of fuel will be $3.42 a gallon–a full 33 cents lower than it is right now in the year 2012.
2. On March 10, 2012, Mr. Obama said this during his weekly address:
You and I both know that with only 2% of the world’s oil reserves, we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices – not when consume 20 percent of the world’s oil.
REALITY: Tell that to the state of Colorado who is currently paying .50 cents less per gallon of gas than the rest of America. Why? Simple, says Professor of Economics Mark Perry: they get their oil from Rocky Mountain states. As theDenver Post explains:
Some of the cheapest gas prices in the country routinely are in the Rocky Mountain states. The reason is cheaper crude prices and refinery costs, according to the agency.
Refineries get most of their oil from within the Rocky Mountain states or nearby parts of the Midwest or from Canada….
“In general, gasoline prices in the Rocky Mountain area have been lower than the national average for much of the past year due to relatively low crude-oil input costs to refineries in a region that is fairly self-sufficient in meeting its demand for gasoline and other petroleum products; refineries within the Rockies supply most of the regional demand,” the Energy Information Administration stated in its Feb. 14 report.
3. On March 10, 2012, Mr. Obama said this during his weekly address:
Under my Administration, oil production in America is at an eight-year high. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs, and opened up millions of acres for drilling.
REALITY: As Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) notes, “”Offshore drilling permits are being issued at less than half the rate of the previous administration. The average number of leases issued on public lands is less than half than during President Clinton’s term.”
4. Last week, at a presidential press conference, Mr. Obama said the following to FOX News reporter Ed Henry:
“Ed, just from a political perspective, do you think the President of the United States going into re-election wants gas prices to go up higher? Is there anybody here who thinks that makes a lot of sense? Look, here’s the bottom line with respect to gas prices: I want gas prices lower because they hurt families.”
REALITY: Mr. Obama appointed as his Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, a man who in 2008 admitted to the Wall Street Journal that the goal must be to raise gas prices: “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” Mr. Chu said. And, indeed, in 2008, Mr. Obama himself also said he wanted higher gas prices to ween Americans off oil, but preferred a “gradual adjustment.”
Again, all of these statements by Mr. Obama were made within just the last week.
One in five Americans now blame Mr. Obama for America’s skyrocketing gas prices. If he doesn’t speak squarely about why he personally lobbied Senate Democrats to oppose the Keystone Pipeline and why he appointed an Energy Secretary whose stated goal was to send gas prices soaring, many more voters will hold him responsible come November.