Archived Story

Gas prices shouldn’t be about politics

Published 12:00am Sunday, March 18, 2012

Paying more at the pump is certainly causing more pain in our wallets.

Gasoline prices continue to rise, hovering a bit below the $4 per gallon mark here in the Tri-State, but topping that in more than a half dozen states.

This has been a pretty continuous cycle over the past three or four years.

Instability in the Middle East and a variety of other factors cause gasoline prices to reach these levels. Then, things calm down and the prices dip a bit.

Anyone who thinks that high gas prices are good for the economy is completely out of his or her mind.

Of course, being that we are in an election year, this has become a hot button political issue, with both Democrats and Republicans trying to spin it to their advantage.

But it should not be viewed as a partisan issue but instead one that directly impacts the quality of life for Americans.

It also directly stymies economic growth. It doesn’t take a Harvard economics degree to tell you that.

If the average American is spending $10 or $15 more on every tank fill up, that is money that is not being spent elsewhere, greatly reducing cash flow injected into our local businesses.

And, although gas prices look to be starting a slow descent to below $3.50 per gallon, how long until the next spike? How long until prices exceed the $4 per gallon barrier and stay there for awhile?

Perhaps the biggest question is: When will our nation develop a clear energy plan?

The Democrats and the Republicans have to be willing to come down off of their ideological high horses to find a middle ground — a move that probably means the most for the middle class.

Petroleum-powered vehicles are not going away anytime soon. Turmoil in the Middle East has been going on for centuries and likely will for centuries to come.

We cannot continue to just talk about solutions or hope for changes that may never happen.

Our country needs a comprehensive strategy developed by Republicans and Democrats alike. We need to secure the oil supplies to run our country, as well as develop a plan to utilize alternative energy solutions for motor vehicles and beyond.

Now is a great time for changes. Our politicians need to look at the big picture. They can start making people’s lives better. That’s what we elected them to do.

 

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCaldwell_IT.

  • rambo

    Hey if anyone here is foolish enough to actually believe what the EPA writes then I have some swamp land in florida I will sell you. Oh that right people from Florida are in the know. Well excuse me while I check what part of Florida I am going to sell.

    (Report comment)

  • rambo

    I understand that the current EPA has issued mandated upgrades to eliminate more carbon from the electric company that will not only eliminate that but many needed jobs. Wait till this president is re-elected then like his priviate talks caught on tape to the out-going leader of Russia to wait till he is re-elected to cave in to the Russian and any other arab country he seems to love so much gurantee the price of oil will stay high.

    (Report comment)

  • Noesis

    Speaking of the EPA, they got a pretty good spanking from a liberal judge the other day:

    Arch Coal received clearance from the Army Corps of Engineers in 2007 to begin construction of the largest coal mine in West Virginia.

    The Obama administration came in and revoked the permit — the first time the EPA in its 40-year history ever revoked such a permit for a coal mine after it was issued.

    Arch sued the EPA and the case went before a liberal judge appointed by President Obama — Judge Amy Berman Jackson — not only did she uphold the law, not only did she rebuke the agency, but she lampooned its complete assumption of a power not granted it by the duly elected Congress that is authorized in the Constitution.

    The section in dispute is Section 404.

    “The Court concludes that the statute does not give EPA the power to render a permit invalid once is has been issued by the Corps,” Judge Jackson wrote.

    But she also dressed down an arrogant agency that was lampooned in the movie “Ghostbusters” and “The Simpsons” as an arrogant and ignorant abuser of power.

    Here in real life, Judge Jackson said this was “a stunning power for an agency to arrogate to itself” by the EPA under President Obama’s appointee Lisa Jackson (no relation).

    Judge Jackson wrote: “Based upon all of the facts and circumstances set forth above, the Court cannot find that EPA’s interpretation of section 404(c), extending its veto authority indefinitely after a permit has been issued, is reasonable.”

    She called the Obama administration’s interpretation of the law “magical thinking.” She even wrote “Poof!”

    When even a tree-hugging liberal cannot stand this president’s unprecedented expansion of presidential power over industry in the name of protecting the environment, you know we are bordering on a swing back against over-regulation that strangles everyone’s freedom.

    (Report comment)

    • http://www.tytandan.com 79Tiger

      Doubt she will be nominated to the Supreme Court by Obama given another chance.

      (Report comment)

  • http://www.tytandan.com 79Tiger

    The EPA once served a useful purpose, no more. When valuable farmlands are lost in California because of possible harm that could be done to a minnow almost invisible to the naked eye, it no longer becomes a question of a clean environment, it becomes a question of over-reaching federal power. The EPA is much like the unions. They served their purpose once, now they are just looking for ways to remain relevant.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    To be properly informed, please do a search on; United States Environmental Protection Agency. You could start out by selecting; epa.gov/

    (Report comment)

    • mikehaney

      You are joking aren’t you Mick?

      (Report comment)

      • Noesis

        Of course not, Mick probably believes that the government should control how much dusts a farmer is allowed to make tilling his fields, that if you spill milk that you should treat it as an oil spill, that we should outlaw burning leaves and even charcoal grills and all lawnmowers should be electric.

        (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    Experts estimate shipping by rail instead of pipeline adds anywhere from $5 to $10 to the price of a barrel, not to mention the high-capacity, 24-7 flow a pipeline affords. Rep. Fred Upton, (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, says the explosive growth of oil delivery by rail underscores the missed opportunity of the Keystone XL Pipeline, a Canada-to-Texas oil pipeline that became bogged down by environmental concerns and was ultimately tabled by the Obama administration and the Democrat-controlled Senate.
    ————————————–
    Who is the idiot that postponed decision on the pipeline till after 2012 elections? Taxpayer paying again as usual.

    (Report comment)

  • Noesis

    Lets just get rid of the EPA, the states already have their own laws on the books. We don’t need duplication.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    We should all be very thankful for the EPA and their efforts on our behalf. If it were not for the EPA, the money-grabbing, short-sighted individuals and their interests in this country would be in control of our destiny. The work the EPA has accomplished thru the years and continues, protecting the health and well-being of humanity and the environment is immeasurable. My utmost respect and compliments to the Environmental Protection Agency.

    (Report comment)

  • http://www.tytandan.com 79Tiger

    The EPA needs to go period. If a State feels the need for an EPA (California comes to mind) they can fund it themselves and leave everybody else alone.

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    The study – by Advanced Resources International – shows that the regulations as proposed would reduce drilling for natural gas using hydraulic fracturing by up to 52 percent, reduce natural gas production by up to 11 percent, and reduce oil production by up to 37 percent. As a result, the federal government would not collect up to $8.5 billion dollars in royalties and state governments would not collect up to $2.3 billion in severance taxes due to reduced drilling and production.
    ————————————
    New EPA/Obama proposals for the betterment of mankind.

    (Report comment)

    • Noesis

      We need to cut funding to the EPA by about 90%. They are out of control.

      (Report comment)

  • rambo

    The environment must be for best for mankind or is that what just another of President Obama’s reason to provide more money to the oil rich countries in the middle east that he so adamantly supports? At some point there has to be a trade off for yes good environmental support but not have the feds place so many regulations on our own resources that we need to continue to support a president and his little liberal supporters that we are unable to compete with the middle east. The cost of natural gas is much cheaper and in plentiful supply here. Cost of coal was cheap till the feds stepped in and made it so costly it now costs the american consumer twice what is need be.

    (Report comment)

    • Noesis

      Am I the only one who gets a headache trying to figure out what he is saying? It’s like he has a random word generator spitting out his sentences.

      (Report comment)

      • http://www.tytandan.com 79Tiger

        I read it and moved on. Didn’t try to understand it.

        (Report comment)

  • Noesis

    79Tiger, All the nuclear plants in the world won’t help if we don’t develop a battery for cars that can store the needed energy.

    (Report comment)

    • http://www.tytandan.com 79Tiger

      Nuclear power could help divert oil resources currently needed for home heating oil in the North East. Or at least that is what I was figuring.

      (Report comment)

  • http://www.tytandan.com 79Tiger

    The United States should be the world leader in nuclear energy ten times over. If we went nuclear we wouldn’t need the rest of the worlds oil because we have plenty of our own if we would just be allowed to drill the stuff. Not to mention natural gas. Took all of 5 minutes mic. No panel needed to study it which is just another cowardly way for politicians to say they don’t want the responsibility. It is their darn job. If they are not going to do it, leave!

    (Report comment)

  • Noesis

    Noesis; In particular, when it comes to Coal, Natural Gas, Nuclear and oil the environment must and should be taken into consideration for the betterment of mankind.
    —————–

    You mean Mick like how millions of birds and bats are killed each year because of wind turbines? How about all the hazardous waste created from mining for rare earth elements for “green energy”?

    FYI Mick, Europe is fleeing green energy… it’s costing way too much in terms of money and jobs.

    (Report comment)

  • http://www.tytandan.com 79Tiger

    mick,

    It is only “complex” in your view because you are a believer in big government solutions which always turn even the most simple task into a web of bureaucracy that never solves anything, more often, making things worse. There are simple answers to many problems. But the government sets about solving even the most mundane matters by forming some brown-stained underwear panel to “study it.” That is a crock and you know it.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    Noesis; In particular, when it comes to Coal, Natural Gas, Nuclear and oil the environment must and should be taken into consideration for the betterment of mankind.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    Noesis & 79Tiger; You both are attempting to oversimplify a complex problem (Energy), you are permitting your extreme right wing conservatism (fanaticism) to influence your better judgement. Narrow-mindedness and prejudice are the primary culprits in Washington today preventing the due functioning of government. In point of fact, it takes both parties and independents to come together in a spirit of compromise for the betterment of all Americans. The Democratic Party, the Republican Party and The Independents are equally responsible for the current situation in our society today. The bottom line? We the people are responsible.

    (Report comment)

  • Noesis

    But this President has shown obvious disdain for the oil industry.
    ————-

    The oil companies aren’t even the most profitable companies when you compare sales to profit ratio. Oil companies just make a lot of money because they sell a lot of product. Lets look at some other industries and their profit margin:

    1 Network, Other Communications Equip 20.4
    2 Internet Services and Retailing 19.4
    3 Pharmaceuticals 19.3
    4 Medical Products and Equipment 16.3
    5 Railroads 12.6 (Mick???!!!)
    7 Mining, Crude-Oil production 11.5
    9 Oil and Gas Equipment, Services 10.2
    12 Utilities: Gas and Electric 8.7
    14 Food Services 7.1
    22 Insurance: Life, Health (stock) 4.6 (What? I thought they were the reasons health care costs were going up!)
    36 Petroleum Refining 2.1
    ——-

    So why is it that Obambi is going after #7 on the list instead of the more profitable industries?

    (Report comment)

    • mikehaney

      We do know that Obama is friends with the gun mfr’s.
      Sales of guns going thru the roof again.

      (Report comment)

  • http://www.tytandan.com 79Tiger

    It is the administrations of the Democrat party that are making it political. A president is president of all people to include all companies in America. But this President has shown obvious disdain for the oil industry. Why? Did they hurt his feelings? Do something to his children? When Democrats go after american companies like they do, they are acting like spoiled brats. They hide behind the power of government when all they are are cowards.

    (Report comment)

  • Noesis

    Rambo…. aren’t you the one who still think that liberals are “right wingers”?

    (Report comment)

  • rambo

    Well, Mr. Caldwell you seem to have struck a nerve in those fair right and left and good for you seems most here do not either fail to understand what you are actually saying or are so captivated by their narrow minded views they do not want to understand. That does seem the case here including this writer we are so mind controlled by mass media we actually believe what they say is actually the truth. Few have the ability from what I have seen here have the capacity to actually think for themselves as you see article after actual wanting one to go there to find the so called real truth! What a farce! This is a great article and keep it up but doubt you will find many intellectuals here.

    (Report comment)

  • Noesis

    However, the biggest influence on the price continues to be supply and demand. When the gas supply gets tighter and demand increases, the result is higher prices.” This bit of info is taken from an article on-line entitled; Questions & Answers Regarding Natural Gas Prices. Hope this answers your question.
    —————

    Mick that was a rhetorical question… Everybody with a bit of common sense knows that the price of natural gas in the United States is because we have drilled more, used new techniques and increased the amount we produced. From the Columbus dispatch:

    Natural gas market shows that drilling can lower gasoline prices

    …New drilling techniques have opened up vast new shale-gas deposits in the United States, including Ohio. As a result, the price of natural gas has dropped from over $12 per trillion cubic feet in 2008 to less than $2.50 per trillion cubic feet today. It is now forecast that we have enough domestic natural gas for 100 years at the present rate of use.

    (now, here is the part that will get Keta sputtering):

    …These same new drilling techniques have allowed production of new oil reserves in the Brakken Shale in North Dakota and the Eagle Ford formation in Texas. These and other new fields, on private land, have allowed the United States to increase its annual oil production.

    Based on these results, it is now believed that if these techniques were allowed to develop known and potential reserves on federal on-shore and off-shore lands, the U.S. could meet almost all of its domestic oil supply needs within 10 years. But the Obama administration has been denying drilling leases on these lands and suppressing leases on federal lands that have been previously approved.

    The Obama restrictive drilling policy, along with the refusal to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, is suppressing the production of domestic oil, lowering future potential supply, causing oil prices to increase in the commodity market and, thus, artificially increasing gasoline prices.

    The Obama administration is doing this to make its favored green-energy projects more competitive. But this policy has wasted billions in taxpayer money, produced cars no one wants to buy (General Motors’ Chevy Volt), backed companies that have gone bankrupt (Solyndra), and supported energy sources (pond scum) that have no chance of competing. The only ones who have profited from these policies are Obama’s campaign donors, in blatant examples of crony political kickbacks.

    The Obama administration’s energy policy has hindered domestic oil production and driven up gasoline prices, and the American people are paying the price at the pump. These policies are more than foolish; they are an assault on the middle class and the American way of life.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    Michael Caldwell; As a matter of info, the price of gasoline here in St. Augustine, Fl. today 3/22 is $3.90 a gallon.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    Noesis; In answer to your question pertaining to Natural Gas prices; “Generally, the price of natural gas is determined by market influences. In today’s marketplace the pricing of natural gas is very complex. Some influences range from; The current supply of natural gas available for sale, as well as the anticipated future supply of natural gas; The current temperature outside locally and nationally; Sudden temperature changes and the duration of these temperature changes; The amount of natural gas in storage; The current and anticipated demand for natural gas; The cost to get the natural gas to your meter or transmission costs; and Yes, even the price of oil both domestically and abroad. There are many more factors that influence the price of natural gas depending upon the time of year and the nation’s economy and world’s economic climate. However, the biggest influence on the price continues to be supply and demand. When the gas supply gets tighter and demand increases, the result is higher prices.” This bit of info is taken from an article on-line entitled; Questions & Answers Regarding Natural Gas Prices. Hope this answers your question.

    (Report comment)

  • Noesis

    Obama is on record saying he wants higher gas prices
    ———————————————————

    No he isn’t. He’s on record explaining that sudden spikes in gas prices are hard on families and businesses.
    ——————————–

    Again with the strawman arguement Keta… Tiger said Obama wanted higher gas prices. You’re reply was that he didn’t want sudden spikes. That doesn’t mean that Obama doesn’t want a gradual increase in gasoline prices.

    “…Obama answered, “I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment. The fact that this is such a shock to American pocketbooks is not a good thing.”

    So… Obama wants higher gas prices (like 79Tiger said) just not such a rapid increase.

    And Keta, our demand for oil shrank because Obambi’s economy sucked so bad.

    And Keta, why did the price of natural gas go down? Why can’t I get a single liberal to answer that question?

    Keep on drinking that kool-aid Keta…

    (Report comment)

  • keta

    Obama is on record saying he wants higher gas prices
    ———————————————————

    No he isn’t. He’s on record explaining that sudden spikes in gas prices are hard on families and businesses. We can’t do a thing at the moment about the worldwide demand for oil that sends prices skyward, or speculators who intend to keep betting on rising oil prices, or unrest in the middle east, but there are things that can be done to fashion “gradual adjustments” instead of prices rocketing out of sight in a matter of days. Of course “OBAMA KEEPING ADJUSTMENTS GRADUAL” isn’t nearly as sexy as “OBAMA WANTS HIGH GAS PRICES (which mean higher food prices, higher unemployment, etc.) Sure, that’s exactly what he wants. :) Actually, our demand for oil is shrinking at a pretty respectable rate, due to new fuel efficiency standards and newly opened areas of exploration, Alaska in particular. Every day, we import 25% less oil than we did when Obama became president. It’s not energy independence, but it’s a big step in the right direction, the direction we’ve been taking every year for the last three years. “If Obambi allowed us to drill more, prices should go down” is a laughable position, unless you’re Sarah Palin or Rick Santorum or some other wing nut who’ll say anything to rouse the rabble who love to hear that kind of stuff.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    Maybe, a little caution is in order. A search on;
    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/a0001451.html (Oil Spills and Disasters) 1967 thru 2010, will give food for thought.

    (Report comment)

  • Noesis

    Here’s Obambi’s real plan:

    Last year, President Obama released a new draft offshore drilling five-year lease plan which “CLOSES the majority of the OCS to new energy production through 2017.”

    The most striking of the observations from the National Resources Committee is the declining revenue anticipated in President Obama’s budget. “According to the President’s own FY 13 budget proposal, in 2011, the federal government collected $1 billion in OCS rents and bonuses from lease sales. In 2012—the last year of the current five year plan, the budget anticipates collecting over $2 billion in rents and bonuses. In the first year of President Obama’s five year plan, rents and bonuses fall by 58 percent to only $852 million. By the last year of President Obama’s five year plan, the government is only collecting $569 million—a 72 percent drop from 2012 anticipated returns.”

    The National Resource Committee press release also reveals that the “Obama Administration has BLOCKED energy production on federal lands. The total onshore acreage leased under the Obama Administration in 2009 and 2010 is the lowest in over two decades, stretching back to at least 1984. Under the Obama Administration, 2010 had the LOWEST number of onshore leases issued since 1984.”

    (Report comment)

  • rambo

    It does seem a lot have places that either want you to go to see the “real” picture of oil crisis or an opinion that may be quoted from either the right or left depending on your beliefs. Seems we may be missing the point of the article and that is to get both sides working together to help solve the gas, diesel or natural gas issue.

    (Report comment)

  • http://www.tytandan.com 79Tiger

    Obama will never do anything to combat high gas prices. The national media will never hold him accountable to it like they would a republican. Besides, Obama is on record saying he wants higher gas prices so he doesn’t care anyway.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    To become a little more informed about Oil prices, please do a search on:
    useconomy.about.com/od/commoditiesmarketfaq/f/oil_prices.htm

    (Report comment)

    • Noesis

      So if Obambi allowed us to drill more, prices should go down.

      (Report comment)

  • tiger534

    Opps meant GM is going to start making cars that will run on natural gas much like many mass transit systems will in the near future.

    (Report comment)

    • mikehaney

      Natural gas vehicles have the same drawbacks as battery.
      Refueling is not as convenient. Great for fleet vehicles, but pressurized tanks have to be tested on a continuing basis for safety.
      I have used propane forklifts in past jobs and they work great and do not put out the fumes as gasoline. Just switch out the tank and your ready to go again.
      Have also used battery powered forklifts and they would run all week as long as you charged them up on weekends.
      The battery though weighed 1000 lbs and were very exspensive, but great for industry.

      (Report comment)

  • tiger534

    It would be great if both parties could find a middle ground and work together. As the parties grow apart and the right and left attack each others positions, we understand this is probably not going to occur. It does seem crazy to continue to make the middle ease richer when there are alternatives here. Obama has some good ideas as well as those that want to expand use of natural gas. See where GM is not going to make vehicles that can run on natural gas much less of a carbon footprint then oil production.

    (Report comment)

  • Noesis

    And lets not forget the article a couple weeks ago where it was saying that the coastal states were paying higher gas prices because they were buying the $110 per barrel overseas oil while the midwest gasoline prices were lower because we were buying the $60 per barrel Canadian oil.

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    Crude prices scaled a high of $107.24 a barrel intraday and a low of $105.13.

    Yesterday, crude prices ended lower although rallied to make up for most of the losses after a White House spokesman denied any moves for a joint strategic oil reserve release by the U.S. and U.K.
    ————————————————–
    The above is only part of many reasons for higher gas prices. I don’t think you could put your finger on just one cause. Of course Washington is not burning the midnight oil to help.

    (Report comment)

    • Noesis

      Release from the strategic reserve lowers oil prices but “drill baby drill” doesn’t?

      (Report comment)

  • Noesis

    Doubtful Mick… are you saying that the traders here in the U.S. are driving world oil prices? And lets not forget Mick, oil isn’t the only thing traders buy… corn, soybeans, coffee, cocoa… I’m not seeing those prices going wild.

    (Report comment)

  • mickakers

    I wonder, is it possible that Commodities Traders are the prime culprit in high gasoline prices?

    (Report comment)

  • mikehaney

    Problem is that it’s all about “politics”. Obama and his green party verses sane people.
    We need all energy sources for at least the next 50 years, till new sources of energy is developed. Coal,oil,gas,nuclear and hydro-electric is still needed now.
    As this article stated, an energy plan is definitely needed for our childrens sake.
    And forget putting families on top of roller skates zooming down the interstate at 80 miles/hr. Inner city ok but not mingling with 40 ton trucks or 5000 lb suv’s at high speed. I hate to say it but truckers and drivers in general are not as courteous nor safe drivers as they once were.
    Agreeing also with Noesis that we still have oil. We just can’t ween ourselves off in just four years.

    (Report comment)

    • Noesis

      You know Mike, maybe we should cut Obama some slack… He’s doing the best he can with the mess he inherited from Rutherford B. Hayes.

      (Report comment)

      • mikehaney

        Yea, never heard of a sitting president rewriting history.
        Glad to hear he is correcting our history books.

        (Report comment)

  • Noesis

    Mr. Caldwell but the same conditions that led to $4 a gallon of gas under Bush is causing today’s high costs. Democrats for some reason weren’t willing to accept the explanations back then. Why should republicans accept it now? Turnaround is fair play.

    And if more drilling doesn’t lower prices, how do you explain natural gas prices. The price has been as high as $15 per MBtu but is currently around $4 MBtu.

    And Keta… I’ll go ahead and demolish your and Obambi’s 2% lie right now. I’ll call it a lie because it is intended to mislead. The 2% oil that we have is the stuff that the federal government will allow us to get to. Liberals want you to believe that there’s only 20 billion barrels of oil out there. The truth is, there’s trillions out there. Liberals just don’t want us getting it. Places like:

    -The outer Continental shelf.

    -The Arctic National Wildlife Reserve in Anwar.

    -And Shale Oil where the United States has the largest deposits in the world estimated by the government to be over 2 trillion barrels.

    So, just remember when Obambi and Keta tells you that we can’t drill out way out of this mess…

    They lie!

    (Report comment)

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