Can Obama fib his way out of blame for record high gasoline prices?
posted at 12:25 pm on February 21, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
As the First Lady and daughters jet off to a 16th vacation in three years, the rest of us can look forward to another glorious two weeks at Porchview when summer rolls around.”You’re going to see a lot more staycations this year,” notes Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research. The reason for this pessimistic projection is the cost of gasoline, which is currently $3.53 a gallon, the highest it’s ever been for this time of year. Predictions place the price at the pump as high as $4.25 a gallon by late April.
So whose fault is the soaring prices? I’ll give you two guess whose fault it isn’t, according to the White House. In the face of criticism from Newt Gingrich, who on Sunday called the president “anti-energy,” Press Secretary Jay Carney on Monday released an Interior Department memo that announced new drilling in the “resource-rich” Gulf of Mexico. That’s the same resource-rich Gulf where the Obama administration suspended deepwater drilling as part of its overreaction to a massive 2010 oil spill. And this is the same president who in January boasted opening “more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources,” conveniently omitting the fact that it had previously closed these resources to exploration.
But the president’s distortions don’t stop there. He also claimed during his most recent State of the Union address:
Nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy. Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration…. Right now, American oil production is the highest that it’s been in eight years.
For dramatic emphasis, he added, “That’s right—eight years.” Unfortunately for him, that’s a claim that is easily verifiable. According to records kept by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the field production of crude oil has been fairly stable over the past eight years. Nevertheless, if you add the monthly totals for 2003, you discover that the nation produced 2,073,453,000 barrels. In 2010, the last year for which complete monthly records are available, the total production was 1,998,137,000 barrels. For 2011, data are available only through November. Still, if you sum the available figures, you derive a subtotal of 1,888,306,000, which means that in order to equal—never mind surpass—2003 totals, U.S. oil producers would need to have produced 185,147,000 barrels for December of 2011. But the last time the nation’s producers of crude oil turned out amounts approaching that many gallons was in 1999.
This exaggeration, however, is small potatoes when you consider that the lead time between oil production exploration is measurable in years and, not infrequently, decades. The production numbers the president is touting could easily be the result of drilling permits issued during the Bush or Clinton administrations. It is utterly fatuous and willfully duplicitous of the president to claim these successes as his own.
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