Sunday, June 22, 2008

Four dollar gas still not high enough for Democrats to act

In his Saturday radio address, President Bush pushed for Congress to help lower gas prices the only way possible: increase supply.

The fundamental problem behind high gas prices is that the supply of oil has not kept up with the rising demand across the world. One obvious solution is for America to increase our domestic oil production. So my Administration has repeatedly called on Congress to open access to new oil exploration here in the United States. Unfortunately, Democrats on Capitol Hill have rejected virtually every proposal. Now Americans are paying the price at the pump for this obstruction. So this week, I asked Democratic congressional leaders to take the side of working families and small businesses and farmers and ranchers and move forward with four steps to expand American oil and gasoline production.

...There's also an executive prohibition on exploration in the [Outer Continental Shelf], which I will lift when Congress lifts the legislative ban.

...Second, we should expand American oil production by tapping into the extraordinary potential of oil shale. ... One major deposit in the Rocky Mountain West alone would equal current annual oil imports for more than a hundred years. Unfortunately, Democrats in Congress are standing in the way of further development. In last year's omnibus spending bill, Democratic leaders inserted a provision blocking oil shale leasing on Federal lands. That provision can be taken out as easily as it was slipped in -- and Congress should do so immediately.

...It has been 30 years since a new refinery was built in our Nation, and lawsuits and red tape have made it extremely costly to expand or modify existing refineries. The result is that America now imports millions of barrels of fully refined gasoline from abroad. This imposes needless costs on American families and drivers. It deprives American workers of good jobs.

...I know Democratic leaders have opposed some of these policies in the past. Now that their opposition has helped drive gas prices to record levels, I ask them to reconsider their positions. If congressional leaders leave for the Fourth of July recess without taking action, they will need to explain why $4-a-gallon gasoline is not enough incentive for them to act.

Update: Randall Hoven at the American Thinker:

Barack Obama is against lifting the ban on drilling for oil offshore because it would not reduce gas prices "this year, next year, five years from now."

...I also did not know that all the alternative energy sources Senator Obama advocates could be brought on line "this summer". Wow, those windmill guys are good.

...I guess that means we can count on a President Obama to ignore the impending bankruptcies of Social Security and Medicare, for example.

Of course, Obama's logic is based on the premise that gasoline prices would not fall until new oil is actually put in barrels. But as Larry Kudlow points out , oil investors will start bidding down the price as soon as the knowledge of the availability of new oil becomes more certain. That could mean that, if the ban on offshore drilling is lifted this summer, gas prices could fall this summer or the next few years.

Hat tip: John at Powerline

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