Monday, March 12, 2012

"President Gas"

 When gas prices go up some things go down. This photo was taken on March 11, 2012 on Cape Cod and reflects a rise in the recent gas prices. This price I know is not the highest national gas price by any means; for example I was on Nantucket Island last Friday and saw gas prices of $4.69 per gallon. I have seen stories of $5.00 and even $6.00 per gallon gas in certain areas of the country.

What is going down is the job approval ratings for President Obama as the most recent national poll I have seen shows that if the election were held today Mitt Romney would receive 48% of the vote versus 42% for President Obama. A few weeks ago the polls reflected a closer race prior to the recent spike in gas prices. I have heard that each 1 cent rise in the gas price is equivalent to a billion dollars added cost for consumers which of course can't spend their money on other things if the money is spent at the pump filling up their gas tank.

People can argue that it is not Obama's fault that the gas prices are rising although President Obama in the past has said that he would like to see the price of gas rise in a gradual manner probably because in his mind then alternative battery powered electric cars would then seem to be a better alternative to the gas driven cars. Also, with higher gas prices maybe people would cut down on their driving habits by walking or taking public transportation. Part of the current gas price is derived from the fear and uncertainty about Iran and the possibility that Iran will try to close the Straits of Hormuz and disrupt the supply of oil from the Middle East.

Although he may try, I personally believe that Obama can't "blame Bush" for these higher prices and by refusing to grant timely permits for oil drilling, rejecting the "Keystone pipeline", and threatening to raise taxes on oil companies Obama is not setting America on a course of energy independence.  These obstructionist anti-energy policies in addition to raising the cost of fuel will also tend to raise the cost of food and other consumer items as the transportation costs will rise to get these products to the stores across America. Energy policy is a complicated matter but Obama is not helping future gas prices by  raising the supply of  domestic energy. Wind and solar energy are fine but the wind doesn't always blow at the same wind speed and solar energy doesn't produce much energy at night.

So, my point is as the price of gas rises, economic activity and job creation will fall and so far so will President Obama's poll numbers and chances for re-election. By sowing a policy of energy obstructionism Obama may reap a harvest of higher unemployment, lower economic activity, and greater opportunity to "shoot some hoops and work on his golf game" as a one term ex-president in future days.