Letter: The price of political gas


Now that the Republican primary dust has settled and Mitt Romney is considered to be the GOP candidate of choice; we can expect tons of superPAC money to be unleashed for the purpose of defeating the President.

One of their strategies will be to personally blame Mr. Obama for high gasoline prices. They want uneducated voters to believe that not only is Mr. Obama causing high gasoline prices; but that simple, obvious presidential actions or decrees could suddenly and dramatically reduce gasoline prices. What they carefully neglect to tell us is: it's the free market that is determining the price of gasoline; not this President or any president in the past 50 years.

The price we pay for gasoline is determined by four factors:

1. The cost of production (including the cost of mining and transporting the oil as well as the cost of refining the oil into gasoline).

2. The cost of transporting, and storing the gasoline around the country.

3. Taxes on gasoline which provide revenue for the maintenance and construction of America's roads and bridges (Congress controls this).

4. Global demand for oil (which is increasing at a dramatic rate and is constantly driving the price of oil higher, even as U.S. demand for oil is decreasing).

Some claim that the proposed Keystone pipeline would lower gasoline prices. The Keystone is proposed to carry gooey, chemically laced tar sand oil from Canada, through our heartland to refineries on the gulf of Mexico. This strategy might affect gasoline prices some day; that is debatable. In any case, a 12 year old can see it would not have any affect on gasoline prices soon.

It turns out that the United States is already energy independent. America is suddenly awash in natural gas! It turns out that the free market is working to provide alternatives to high priced oil and gasoline. Due to advances in hydraulic fracturing, natural gas prices have plummeted in the past three years. (Mr. Obama had nothing to do with this either.) We are producing so much excess natural gas, we are running out of places to store the stuff.

The Canadians and their allies (the oil companies), have realized that if the tar sands oil pipeline isn't built soon (at taxpayer expense), we ingenious Americans will wisely invest in converting our automobile and truck engines to run on liquified natural gas. This will make their dirty tar oil less valuable in the marketplace.

The good news is that we don't need the nasty Canadian goo. Luckily, we have an abundance of less expensive, much cleaner natural gas! If we choose to invest in a pipeline, let's make it a natural gas pipeline that distributes American natural gas to Americans for use in fuel-efficient American cars, trucks, homes, businesses and power plants.

When you hear someone say that President Obama is the cause of higher prices at the pump well, that just isn't true. Those who make such a claim are either "in bed" with the oil companies, or they are conveniently ignoring the facts of the free market for political gain.

Peter Nelson



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