In 2008, when Democrats were suggesting President Bush was causing America's then-high gas prices, Fox News went to the mat to support their Commander in Chief, repeatedly explaining why the President can't really control gas prices. Media Matters has collected some of these clips into a flashback video (which you can find below) and it's a good history lesson at a time when gas prices are again near the top of the list of political quote bombs being thrown at the current President. The issue is important enough in this election year that the White House has set up a special gas prices website, which is where the infographic above comes from.
President Obama's opponents are the ones looking to extract blood for oil this time around. Newt Gingrich has been suggesting ways to lower gas prices for years, and his proclamations have not always made sense. His anger at the way Obama has been running things is clearly evident – he said the President's "[energy] policy has been outrageously anti-American" – and so this year he's suggesting both ways to put bases on the moon and lower gas to $2.50 a gallon, sentiments that have had critics up in arms. Mitt Romney among them. Romney recently told CNBC, "I think people recognize that the president can't precisely set the price at the pump" before reverting to "drill, baby, drill" mode. Rick Santorum said recently that high gas prices in 2008 caused the recession, even though economists agree the recession started in late 2007.
So, where does the public stand in the midst of all this political smokescreening? On the question of gas prices, a recent Bloomberg study asked Americans why they thought gas prices were rising, and the majority (66 percent) blamed oil companies Middle East nations. Only 23 percent said it was President Obama's fault. Eleven percent said they didn't know. In a similar vein, the National Journal reports that a different poll found that 44 percent of respondents believe Obama will "make the right decisions to help bring down the price of gasoline." Republicans in Congress got the support of just 32 percent. Sixteen percent said neither and some said both or didn't know. The poll also found that 50 percent said the plan Democrats support – develop alternatives while emphasizing conservation – will "do more to lower fuel prices" while 42 percent supported the Republican plan to increase domestic production. But there are polls that find the opposite to be true, too. A recent ABC-Washington Post poll found that two-thirds said they disapprove what President Obama is doing about gas prices.
Of course, anyone who's driving around in a plug-in car isn't going to care much about gas prices, one way or the other. Seems like that's the most logical way out of the puzzle, no? That's the path that EV-proponent Peder Norby recommends, pointing out that his solar-panel-equipped house and BMW Active E allows him to pay incredibly low operating costs these days. His up-front costs were high, sure, but now, "In summary, it's about $3 a month in energy cost for our family to live in our home and drive an electric car 18,000 miles a year. That's the new school. The old school was $430 a month of electricity, $275 a month for gasoline." Class dismissed.