Can you guess which member of President Obama’s Cabinet said the following?
Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.
If you guessed Energy Secretary Steven Chu, then you’re absolutely right. He made this statement back in 2008, but according to his most recent Fox News Sunday interview, Secretary Chu is still singing the same tune.
Just look at the rise in gasoline prices over the past two years. When Barack Obama took office, gasoline was $1.65 per gallon. It is now hovering $3.56 per gallon. This represents the steepest rise in gasoline prices since the Carter administration.
So what’s behind the sharp spike in oil prices? Surely the unrest in the Middle East plays a role, but only a marginal one, explain Heritage Foundation experts Nick Loris and John Ligon.
Egypt is not a significant producer of oil, but 2 percent to 3 percent of the world’s crude oil and refined petroleum travels through the Suez Canal. Libya produces about 2 percent of the world’s oil (1.65 million barrels per day), with most of its oil going to Europe.
Increased global demand has also been an enormous force of upward pressure on prices, as industrialized nations climb out of recession. But both of these variables are beyond our control here in the United States.
So what are our leaders doing to ease the burden? The answer is: Not enough.
Earlier this week, the Obama Administration approved an offshore drilling permit in the Gulf of Mexico – the first since the BP oil spill last year. “[This is] a welcome and long overdue move by the Administration,” Heritage’s Rob Bluey writes. “But it’s nothing to celebrate.”
The pace for granting such permits remains historically low. Not to mention, a projected 19,000 jobs have already been lost and a daily 240,000 barrels have been cut from our domestic supply as a result of the White House’ de facto drilling moratorium.
The United States is the only country in the world that places a majority of its territorial waters off-limits to oil and gas exploration. Increasing access to oil reserves in the U.S., both onshore and offshore, would help offset rising demand, increase jobs, and stimulate the economy.
We have oil. But access is artificially and excessively constrained. Given the increasing global demand and growing unrest among oil producing nations, the U.S. should seek to increase access to oil and gas exploration at home. Otherwise, we might soon see “gasoline prices like those in Europe,” as Obama administration officials have urged.