Friday, March 30, 2012

Gas price rise fuels political debate and finger pointing

The political party in power gets the brunt of the blame when vehicle owners feel the pocket pinch at the gas pump. Misinformation flows like Niagara Falls from politicians to a citizenry that really doesn’t understand the complexities of the global oil market – supply and demand, tension in the middle east and oil speculators bidding up the price on the open market.

The one message that is not getting out is that U.S. oil goes to the highest bidder in the open market. That’s where market speculators help add to the cost per barrel. In other words U.S. oil does not automatically go into the U.S. market, refinery or into a U.S. automobile.

That said, it doesn’t keep the political party out of power from pointing the finger at the party in power. Explaining economics 101 is too hard and quite frankly few would take the time to really understand global demand and the affect from emerging markets. Media pundits find it easier to have political talking heads bash each other than to have knowledgeable economic professors or those who understand how the oil market works explain a complicated issue.

Democrats attempted to defray the blame Thursday. DNC Chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Tim Kaine and locally State Senator John Edwards defended the Obama administration. That was followed by Republican response.

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (in part):

The Republicans’ rhetoric on energy is dishonest and misleading. The truth is that under President Obama, domestic oil and natural gas production have gone up every year. Last year, oil production reached an 8-year high, and natural gas production reached an all-time high. Our dependence on foreign oil is at a 16-year low, and President Obama’s historic new fuel economy standards will save consumers about $8,000 at the pump during the life of their vehicle.

Richmond, VA – Virginia elected and community leaders from across the Commonwealth spoke out this week on the need to end those subsidies and develop clean energy. They also condemned presidential candidate Mitt Romney and former Senator George Allen for continuing to support those handouts and opposing the development of clean energy and the jobs that come with it.

Roanoke Virginia Senator John Edwards said, “Under President Obama’s leadership domestic oil production is at an 8 year high, natural gas production is the highest it’s ever been and we are making record investments in clean energy and more fuel efficient cars.”

Democratic candidate for Virginia U.S. Senate:

“It is becoming clear that George Allen’s top concern is giving the big oil companies that bankroll his campaigns whatever they want, even if that means jumping in without all of the facts,” said DPVA Executive Director David Mills. “Solving our energy crisis will require an all of the above approach, but Virginians deserve more than a Senator who would rather drill first and ask questions later when processes are in place to make sure we move forward in a smart, safe and effective way.”

Republican candidate for Virginia U.S. Senate:

“If President Obama and Tim Kaine wanted to help create jobs and reduce energy prices in the long-term, they would allow Virginians to access our oil and natural gas off our coast today – not six years from now.

It’s disappointing that Washington seems to be more focused on political gimmicks that keep our resources off-limits, than coming together to take meaningful action to ease the burden on families, small business owners and farmers paying astronomical gasoline and diesel prices. Allowing Virginia to explore and produce these resources would mean thousands of new jobs, more affordable energy and royalties that we could use for roads and transportation. Yet Tim Kaine and President Obama have slowed, blocked and delayed access to those proven resources, pursuing counterproductive policies that do nothing to reduce prices at the pump.”

Tim Kaine response:

Allen had previously condemned the [Obama] administration for deciding to complete an impact study of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline before giving the project a green light and until the affected states had fully reviewed the project.

In a statement Allen denounced the Department of Interior’s decision to move toward seismic surveys calling it a “political gimmick.”

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: National, Politics

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