Bachmann’s $2 a Gallon Gas Promise Politically Astute, Doable

COMMENTARY | Republican presidential candidates and potential candidates, such as Rick Perry and Sarah Palin, have provided critiques of President Obama’s energy policy that discourage the development of oil and gas reserves in the United States. Michele Bachmann has expressed the matter in terms every American can understand. She has promised that if she were elected, she would introduce policies that would lower the price of gasoline to below $2 a gallon, according to CNNMoney.

While Bachmann was not specific in how she would accomplish this feat, other candidates have suggested the Obama administration is keeping the price of oil artificially high by locking up vast areas of the United States and offshore to oil and gas exploration. Even when mandated by a federal court, the Obama administration has been slow walking off shore drilling permits in the Gulf of Mexico.

Currently, gasoline at the pump costs about $3.50 a gallon.

Bachmann’s promise does have historical precedence. The price of gasoline, adjusted for inflation, was about $4 a gallon in 1980. When President Reagan assumed office, he instituted a number of policies, including rescinding Nixon-era price controls on oil as well as repealing the Carter era windfall profits tax in 1988 and opening up new areas of the United States to oil exploration. By 1986, the price of gas had plunged to $1.40.

Bachmann’s promise is being disparaged by media analysts who maintain that the price of oil is determined by international market forces over which an American president has no control. However, is it an economic fact that the greater a supply of a commodity there is as related to demand, the lower its price becomes. Thus Bachmann is likely thinking of ways to increase the supply of domestic crude oil as well as increase refinery capacity to create gasoline and other petroleum products.

Bachmann is being more politically astute that most of the media is giving her credit for. By relating a policy change to a concrete benefit that Americans can see, such as lower gas prices, she garners more support for that benefit. Suggestions that her promise is impossible to fulfill just buttress the idea that her opponents are unwilling rather than unable to make the policy changes that would create lower-price gas.

Sources: Bachmann: I’ll bring back $2 gas, Charles Riley, CNN Money, August 18, 2011

Gasoline Price History, Random Useless Info

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