March 7, 2012


By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

To go along with a troubling national economy with its continued high unemployment rates, an ever increasing national debt, and terrible housing market, Americans now have one more thing on their list of things that is adding to their financial woes. And that is higher gasoline prices.
As of this week, the nationwide average for gasoline stood at $3.77 a gallon. So far, gas prices have steadily risen for the past 27 consecutive days and have now risen on the national average 32 cents a gallon, or 9.3 percent, since Feb. 1.
And the bad news for American consumers and the national economy is that according to oil price analysts, the average price could reach $4.25 per gallon by later this month or in April.
While rising gasoline prices are bound to have a huge impact on the American motorist, it is also now going to become a major issue in this November’s Presidential election.
United States presidents, as well as presidential “wannabees” know that high gasoline prices at election time can be either a good or bad thing. High gas prices are a good thing for the “wannabees” if they can hang the blame on high gas prices on a president and his policies. And they are bad for a sitting president because he really can’t put the blame on anyone else.
America is a county that forever has wanted, and even demanded to have a ready supply of cheap fuel to power the nation. Unfortunately, this country neither under Republican or Democratic presidents has ever been able to create a sustainable domestic energy policy.
And because of that lack of a consistent domestic policy, this country will always be held hostage by the Middle East oil cartel. We will have relatively low fuel prices so long as everything is running smoothly in the Middle East. But when something goes awry, such as what it now happening in Iran where western countries are trying to use economic and diplomatic persuasion to halt further development of nuclear weapons in that country, the world’s gasoline markets go into a state of upheaval and prices worldwide begin to climb.
So is it fair to blame the Obama administration for what is happening in Iran or for higher gasoline prices in America?
To be clear, Obama is not to blame for what is happening in Iran, the world’s third largest oil exporter, and how the uncertainty in that region of the world is impacting oil prices.
But Obama, and his administration, is responsible for the lack of a national domestic energy policy.
By his own admission, Obama has stated that his energy policy was “just a hodgepodge.” And that “hodgepodge” policy has resulted in some very serious problems.
Instead of working to develop this country’s natural resources, Obama has basically tried to make developing this country’s oil, gas and coal reserves more and more difficult. In his three years in office, he has closed federal lands to drilling and made it more difficult to drill offshore. He is trying to draft rules and regulations that will make it more and more difficult to use fracking techniques to release oil and gas reserves. And he has enacted rules that would make it harder and harder for coal companies to meet EPA standards. And lastly, he opposed the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline that would bring Canadian oil into the United States for processing.
The hard truth is that if President Obama was really committed to developing a sound domestic energy policy, he would have put one forth at one time or another in the past three years. But he has not; and for that inaction, he must bear total responsibility as gas prices continue to escalate.
If the American public blames Obama and his administration for the high fuel prices, that attitude could very well have a big impact on the upcoming presidential election.