President's policies push gas prices even higher than before release of reserves

The Obama administration’s energy policies continue to be ill-advised, as the rise in gas prices post-Obama’s-release-of-strategic-reserves proves. Gas prices are now even higher than they were before the administration made the decision to release 30 million barrels of oil over 30 days to compensate for supply disruptions in the Middle East. Ed predicted this several weeks ago, but recent reports confirm it:

More than a month after the Obama administration said it would tap the country’s emergency oil reserve to try to combat supply disruptions in the Middle East, gas prices at the pump actually have risen 10 cents.

President Obama had hoped the move, coming at the onset of the summer driving season, would temper the loss of supplies due to the ongoing civil war in Libya. Working with international allies, the U.S. said on June 23 that it would release 30 million barrels of oil over 30 days, while other countries with strategic reserves agreed to release another 30 million, in staggered sales during July.

And prices at the pump did dip, at first, from a nationwide average of $3.61 down to $3.55, according to AAA. But by last week, they had rebounded and the price per gallon stood a dime higher than when the administration first made its decision.

The Heritage Foundation’s Rob Bluey explains that, while the president’s decision to release the reserves was the most glaring of the Obama administration’s energy missteps, it has been by no means the only one:

The most glaring example of Obama’s mismanagement is the decision to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve on June 23. Heritage experts James Jay Carafano and Nick Loris outlined the limited circumstances under which the White House could release oil. None of these conditions were met in June, and the Administration itself backpedaled when questioned about the timing. …

Six weeks later, it’s increasingly apparent that Obama took the action to bolster his dismal poll numbers, hurt by the sluggish economy and rising gas prices. …

If the President was serious about bringing down the cost of gas, he would instruct his Administration to reduce the bureaucratic red tape on energy projects in the Gulf of Mexico. A new report from Greater New Orleans Inc.revealed that the issuance of drilling permits is down 71 percent compared to the monthly average over the past three years. …

Worse still is the news that the Department of the Interior might let hundreds of Gulf of Mexico drilling leases expire, costing jobs and further decreasing production.

In other words, the president made choice after choice that hampered the ability of domestic oil producers to do what they do best — produce oil. Then, when Libya-related supply disruptions threatened the president’s political palatability, he tried to compensate in the worst way possible — by tapping reserves designed for far more important times of need than a season of presidential unpopularity.

What’s crazy is that, now, the president might receive some help on gas prices — from the failing economy:

Last week’s stock market drop and fears of the lingering sour economy have already begun to put downward pressure on oil, which analysts said will translate to lower pump prices.

But, in this case, decreased demand is far less desirable than increased supply. A sour economy is anything but a long-term solution to ensure the affordable energy needs of the nation are met or to reduce the nation’s dependency on foreign oil. On the other hand, increased domestic oil production and incentives to produce and purchase natural gas (the alternative energy source alternative energy advocates always seem to forget!) would eventually yield the outcomes everyone says they want: cheaper fuel prices and more jobs.