The reasons behind the increase of prices at the pump are beyond the control of the United States. However, blaming the sitting president for spikes in the price oil on the international market is an exercise regularly engaged in during campaign years, as much by Democrats as by Republicans. This year is no exception.
Analysts estimate that the current increase of the price of a barrel of crude on the global market is being driven by increased tensions with Iran, greater demand by China, and even higher demand as the U.S. recovery strengthens. Most of these factors have far more to do with the unpredictability of the Middle East whose recognized impact on oil is nothing new – than with the energy policy of the Obama administration.
The White House hasn’t been mistake-free in this area, however. One misstep was the administration’s efforts to promote Solyndra, the solar-panel marker, as a model. The company’s bankruptcy occurred after it had obtained $535 million in government loan guarantees, leaving the administration open to criticism by those who oppose clean-energy alternatives.
However, we believe Obama’s current focus on the “all-of-the-above” strategy, supporting efforts from drilling to wind energy, is correct.
It is reasonable to engage in a debate over the energy policies of the candidates and the administration warrants some criticism as well. This is an important discussion for the country’s future and it should help voters make up their minds in November. Democrats and Republicans think very differently about how to protect this country from international risks.
The average price for regular gasoline is the highest ever at this point in the year before the U.S. summer season, when consumption rises. This time, the reasons are primarily external; at other times, they have been related to monopolistic industry practices. Whatever the causes, there are reasons to worry but, despite all the political finger-pointing, there is little we can do right now.