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An absurd criticism on rising gas prices
February 27, 2012 - Mike Maneval
With the price of gasoline climbing, critics of the Obama administration are leaping at the chance to portray the White House as fecklessly obedient to the most austere of environmental preservationists. The price of gasoline is rising, pundits - including University of Maryland professor Peter Morici in commentary for realclearpolitics.com on Monday - argue, because restrictions are hindering the production of crude oil, curtailing supplies.
But the by-the-barrel price of crude oil, when adjusted for inflation, was lower in 2011, 2010, and 2009 than its average for 2008, according to inflationdata.com. The website also notes that at least twice in 2010, the price of a barrel dropped below $70 when adjusted for inflation - about where it was as an average in 2007. And reports on Monday indicated that even as gasoline prices at the pump were rising this weekend, with oil analysts telling the Salt Lake Tribune in a "worst-case scenario" the pump price could reach $4.25 a gallon in mid-April, the price of oil fell after a two-week climb.
And the proposed solution - drilling - clearly is not enough alone - since the U.S. already sees a record number of domestic oil rigs today. As President Barack Obama observed, more drilling is "not a plan - especially since we're already drilling." Morici's commentary - conveniently, for him - omits that line from the president's remarks. As I've noted on several occasions - most recently last week - the U.S. drills for more domestic oil under the Obama administration than the three previous presidencies. Coupled with President Obama's praise for a newly proposed pipeline from Oklahoma to Texas planned by TransCanada, the idea that this mythical White House hostility toward resource extraction is responsible for the increasing cost of gasoline is absurd.
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