I recently heard an elected Democrat grumble over the rise in oil prices during George W. Bush’s years in the White House. The argument that gas prices increased during the Bush administration therefore Bush caused gas prices to increase distorts and conceals the truth regarding gas prices during the Bush years. When President Bush was inaugurated in January of 2001, a gallon of regular grade unleaded gasoline cost an average of 150.9 cents per gallon according to US Department of Energy statistics for January 22, 2001. The following six years included the September 11 terrorist attacks, corporate scandals, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hurricane Katrina, and nuclear saber – rattling by Iran and North Korea.
Despite the economic instability brought on by these events, regular grade unleaded gas prices rose to only 240.6 cents per gallon by January 8, 2007, an average monthly increase of 1.2 cents per gallon. It was at this point that Democrats took control of Congress. In only a year and a half, regular unleaded has risen to 423.5 cents per gallon. The Democrat controlled 110th Congress has seen and average monthly increase in gas prices of 10.16 cents per gallon. This means that gas prices have increased ten times faster during the 110th Congress than during the first six years of the Bush administration.With Presidential and Congressional elections looming, the question must be asked, “can Americans afford to have Democrats running both the executive and legislative branches?” While it is difficult to keep up with the ever-changing positions of Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democrat presidential nominee, he has opposed efforts to reduce gas prices such as a temporary suspension of the federal gasoline tax or increased domestic oil exploration in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWAR) or in coastal oil fields in the outer continental shelf. Obama’s positions are an echo of those held by the Democratic leadership in Congress. During the Bush years, Senate Democrats made an annual ritual out of using cloture rules to block any legislation that would open up domestic oil exploration. Instead of giving Americans the freedom and opportunity to decide how to meet their own personal and financial needs while being stewards of the earth, the powers in the Democrat party prefer to use high gas prices to force Americans into adopting behaviors preferred by environmentalist interest groups.
President Bush and Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, have both called for an increase in domestic oil exploration. Opening up more land for domestic oil exploration will have an immediate positive impact on the economy. Speculators who have oil contracts will see increased supply around the corner and cash in there oil contracts will prices are still in the neighborhood of $140 per barrel. This sell-off will decrease demand and bring down oil prices even before new exploration produces additional oil. Oil companies will increase employment as they map, test, analyze, and actually drill in the newly available land.
The math is simple, if gas prices continue to rise at the rate they have since Democrats took over Congress, regular unleaded gas will cost $9.72 per gallon by the end of the next president’s first term. By contrast, if gas prices rise during that same period at the rate they did when President Bush was supported a Republican Congress, a gallon of gas will be $4.88 in January 2012.While Bush, McCain, and the Republicans have a plan to increase fuel supplies for Americans, Obama and the Democrat’s just expect you to drive less.