March 22, 2012

OBAMATEURISM: “We have subsidized oil companies for a century. We want to encourage production of oil and gas, and make sure that wherever we’ve got American resources, we are tapping into them. But they don’t need an additional incentive when gas is $3.75 a gallon, when oil is $1.20 a barrel, $1.25 a barrel. They don’t need additional incentives. They are doing fine.”

Ed Morrissey responds: “First, oil is not $1.20 or $1.25 a barrel. Today it was trading at $107 per barrel, or around 86 times what the President quoted here. Besides, this is about as big a non-sequitur as one can possibly create on the cost of gasoline. To the extent that this is coherent at all, it sounds as if Obama is claiming that the difference between the price of a gallon of gasoline and the price of a barrel of oil equals profit. That’s about as ignorant a claim on energy costs as I’ve ever heard.” Good thing that dumb cowboy Bush isn’t President, or the media would be making a big deal about this.

UPDATE: Reader Ryan Murphy emails:

Perhaps he meant “Per gallon”? Although since a standard US barrel of oil is 42 gallons, he comes out pricing oil that was at almost exactly HALF of what it really would be and excludes the cost of refinement and transport, as well as the gas company’s overhead,.

At 42 gallons per barrell and 107 dollars per barrel you come out with about $2.55 per gallon of oil.

Yeah, I couldn’t figure out any way that the numbers work on this one.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Jack Moody writes:

Note in the President’s comments on the evils of oil profits he doesn’t mention how a good part of that $3.75 a gallon is due to taxes. I guess profiting on a commodity is only bad if it’s done by the private sector.

Also I get the sense that Obama has absolutely no idea how oil is turned into gasoline. Does he really think that the oil is just divided up from barrels into gallons or that distillation, processing, shipping and storage all come with costs? Is he really that ignorant on how things work?

Given that he can’t even get within two, TWO!, orders of magnitude on how much a barrel of oil costs… maybe he is.

I think he got within two. But I agree that he doesn’t seem to know much about the industry or how it works. Or care.

MORE: A reader emails:

I think the blame for “$1.20 a barrel, $1.25 a barrel” should be placed on the White House transcription, not the President. The White House YouTube video of the event ( , link goes to 12:05 in the video) shows that the President said “one twenty a
barrel, one twenty five a barrel,” not “a dollar twenty, a dollar twenty five a barrel.” If the President meant “$120, $125 a barrel,” then he’s off by $13 or $18, not by two orders of magnitude.

Now, this doesn’t mean we can’t blame the President for the fact that oil actually *is* $107 a barrel.

Or for the fact that he doesn’t mind.

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