We are in the midst of energy turmoil every bit as severe as what we experienced in the 1970s, and it is as far-reaching, though it’s been muted in its effects because of Bush’s pro-energy policies, the fracking revolution, and shale oil. This new energy crisis affects all three energy markets: natural gas, electricity, and liquid fuel (there’s no clean division between the first two, since natural gas is also used to produce electricity across wide swaths of the country).
The one that we are reminded of constantly is gasoline, since we think about it every time we refill the tanks on our cars—but prices are rising for all three. (Food, of course, rises in concert with high liquid fuel costs, which means they gang up on household budgets very quickly.) And in fact all three energy markets have been hit dramatically by the President’s war on production—which has been less successful than it might have been, but is on the cusp of real victories, should Obama gain a second term.
In terms of oil prices, the API has a brief summary at Energy Tomorrow on what factors contribute to “pain at the pump.” The bottom line is that the U.S. could be producing enough to have an effect on the world markets, which would help. And the high taxes we pay every time we gas up our cars are something else to be aware of.
Sean Hackbarth at Free Enterprise explains the Administration’s intellectual shell game:
Today, the White House has been engaged in a full-court media blitz: interviews with local television station; the President’s energy team at today’s White House press conference; and the release of a progress report to the President’s energy blueprint released last year. . . .
In the progress report, the administration continues to pat itself on the back over an increase in domestic oil and gas production it can’t take credit for. This pattern has gone on for nearly a year even after National Journal reported the administration reaped the rewards of previous administrations . . .
[O]il production was significantly higher in 2009 than in the years prior. Obama may have been in office for most of that year, but the oil production numbers are due to action taken before he became president. In 2010, most if not all of the production increase recorded is likely due to action that predates Obama, since Obama didn’t take any major action expanding offshore drilling his first year in office.
Also as part of their media push, the White House produced an infographic explaining gas prices, but they’re too clever by half. A section is titled, “Increased Production Doesn’t Lower Gas Prices” and has some graphs making their argument.
Let me get this straight: The administration prides itself for increased domestic oil and gas production, but implies that more oil doesn’t have anything to do with gas prices, because the biggest factor is the world oil price. They’re both trying to take credit and deflect blame.
The President and his people have repeatedly let the cat out of the bag: because they are environmental extremists at heart, they see conservation as the “silver bullet” of energy policy, and therefore want high prices across the board, to discourage consumption: this has been made explicit in the case of electricity and gasoline. (Remember Obama’s campaign promise to let electricity costs “skyrocket”? Many were too dazzled then to take him at his word, but are regretting it deeply now—and his Energy Secretary has actually endorsed the U.S. having high gasoline prices that would mirror Europe’s—never mind that Europe has public transportation systems that wouldn’t work in the States.)
Meanwhile, Human Events takes us on a trip down Energy Memory Lane, hitting the highlights of the Administration’s “energy blunders”—though blunders isn’t quite the word, as all the President’s greenies are pretty much doing this on purpose: the rejection of Keystone XL, the moratorium and “permitorium” in the Gulf of Mexico, placing ANWR and much of the the coasts off-limits, the failure to pursue shale oil and fracking on Federal land—it’s all there. (And we’ve discussed a few of them here in the past.)
Mario Loyola of National Review points out the effects of the War on Energy as it relates to gasoline:
Two millions barrels per day of oil production would affect not just the price of gasoline in North America, but also the economics of world oil production: The president is preventing the U.S. from increasing oil production by an amount nearly equivalent to Iran’s total oil exports. He insists that gasoline prices are rising because of “fears” about a disruption in Iranian supply, but he wants you to believe that gasoline prices would be unaffected by a 30 percent increase in domestic U.S. oil production in the next two years.
Kevin Williamson is also in the pages of National Review, and he’s got a nice feature-length article up that you’ll want to read after dinner tonight—about the prosperity that fracking for natural gas has brought to Pennsylvania; it brings to life the human dimensions of what energy development can mean to working families, and the story echoes, in some ways, what’s happening in North Dakota via the parallel economic miracle of shale oil drilling.
The bottom line is that we would be more secure, more prosperous, and less financially stressed if the Administration weren’t stifling energy development in myriad ways.
And we cannot stop talking about it, because if the President were to win a second term, it would get worse. A lot worse.
UPDATE: Great minds think alike; Dan Blatt of Gay Patriot: “Oil Prices Up, President Obama Down.”