The price of gasoline is at a record low — and President Obama wants to take credit. At a recent speech the president told the crowd “you’re welcome” for the fact that “a lot of families are saving a lot of money at the gas pump.”
That’s a slick move. President Obama is like a mayor who ignored years of pleas to repair giant potholes, and then shows up at the auto repair shop to say “you’re welcome” after you pay for the new suspension and rims because of those potholes.
America has undergone an unprecedented energy revolution. But that’s despite, not because of, President Obama. Indeed, his administration has gone to great lengths to hamstring domestic energy production. Most recently, the president proposed a $10.25 per barrel tax on every barrel of oil. President Obama should stop taking credit for what he hasn’t done.
The centerpiece of today’s energy revolution is hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” This technique has given energy developers access to previously trapped shale energy reserves buried deep underground — and the President has opposed it at every juncture.
Because of the rapid adoption of fracking, domestic oil production has expanded. Last year, American crude oil production peaked at 9.6 million barrels a day. That’s about a 2 million barrel increase over 2014.
That surge is boosting energy security. In recent years, America has dramatically reduced its dependence on oil from OPEC, the Middle East oil cartel that crippled the American economy in the 1970s with an oil embargo. The United States now imports only one-quarter of the oil it consumes — its lowest level in three decades.
Our reduced dependence on foreign oil is starving rogue regimes of revenue. That’s especially important endeavor now that Iran — a state sponsor of terror — has rejoined the international oil market under Obama’s Iran deal. By 2017, that regime’s oil exports could generate $10 billion in revenue.
But if the United States can provide its own fuel sources, it can help keep that outlaw regime in check.
But President Obama shouldn’t be patting himself on the back for these benefits. The president has repeatedly tried to paralyze the growth of the energy industry.
In November, President Obama rejected Keystone XL, a proposed underground pipeline connecting Canadian shale reserves to U.S. refineries. This would have created thousands of jobs — and strengthened North American energy for decades.
In March, the White House announced it won’t offer offshore drilling leases off the Atlantic coast, forfeiting billions of dollars in revenue.
And recently, the White House has gone after consumers. The president’s recent $10-per-barrel oil tax will raise gas prices by 25 cents for every gallon.
While the energy industry has grown despite these obstacles, such progress is threatened by the Obama administration. Sustained basement-level gas prices have forced producers to scale back production. The number of active oil and gas rigs in America dropped by nearly two-thirds between 2014 and 2015.
If President Obama wants credit for lower gas prices, perhaps he should have encouraged innovation and refused to block improvements to America’s infrastructure.
Of course, the American energy industry will persevere, evolve, and grow. But there’s one thing that’s for certain: that won’t be thanks to this White House.