When Gas Hits Four Dollars a Gallon, Will It Be Slow Enough for Obama This Time?

While campaigning for the presidency in 2008, Barack Obama spoke to the $4 a gallon gasoline prices Americans were facing by making it clear he had no problem with gas prices at that level. He simply “would have preferred a gradual adjustment” toward that price. In other words, he wasn’t bothered that gasoline hit $4 a gallon, just that it did so too quickly.

Fortunately for the American consumer, shortly after fuel prices had skyrocketed to those levels they dropped enough that when Obama took office they were hovering around $1.81 a gallon. But two years into the Obama presidency, and one offshore drilling moratorium later, prices are well over $3 a gallon in much of the country and climbing fast.

This is all further exasperated by the fact that Obama’s Interior secretary, Ken Salazar (D-CO), has proven himself as staunchly opposed to new drilling onshore as he is toward drilling offshore. That’s right: In places far away from ocean waters, places like Wyoming, Montana, and Colorado, Salazar is doing all he can to curtail the issuance of any new exploratory leases for oil and gas.  He says he doesn’t want to expand drilling into places where drilling leases don’t currently exist, which is just liberal-speak for “we’re not going to increase drilling for fossil fuels.”

Hardcore liberals like Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her ilk have defended Obama and Salazar’s opposition to drilling by claiming the immediate impact of expanded drilling now would be less than a 1% increase in our oil supply over current levels and the long-term impact would not be felt significantly at the pump for ten years. Yet even if we grant these assumptive numbers for the sake of argument, the question that comes to my mind is: “Why didn’t Democrats want to expand drilling ten years ago?” (If we’d started drilling in ANWR during George W. Bush’s first year in office, we’d be reaping lower prices at the pump right now.)

This issue is frustrating because even a child can see that as demand for fuel grows, the leases we have at present will necessarily prove insufficient to meet the higher demand, therefore causing gasoline prices to soar. Therefore, to make sense of this mess we have to keep in mind that Obama doesn’t want low gas prices to begin with. Remember: In 2008 he wasn’t bothered by the fact that they hit $4 a gallon, just that they did so too quickly.