Here we go again.
Nancy Pelosi is going to be the new Speaker of the House on January 3rd and she’s poised to resume her ill-conceived energy policy strategy, having not remembered a thing from her last turn as Speaker.
Back in May of this year, Pelosi issued a statement saying “the President’s reckless policies are exploding gas prices.” However, the national average retail gas price has dropped 9 percent since then.
Compare that to when Pelosi was last Speaker. Gasoline prices nearly doubled during 2009 and 2010. And stayed at record levels for the next four years.
Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, CFACT
First, some context: typically, May and June gasoline prices are the highest of the year. On average since 1995, those two months have been the yearly peak. That’s for two reasons: refiners have to reformulate gasoline blends for the summer ozone regulations and it is the kick-off of the high gasoline demand summer driving season.
This year, the May-average national gasoline price was $2.98 per gallon. That compares to a May-average during the years President Obama was in office of $3.19 per gallon (with a high of $3.96 per gallon in 2011). In four of the eight Obama years, the May-average gasoline price was above $3.00 per gallon.
To compare apples-to-apples, in May of 2010, Obama’s second year in office (as this is Trump’s second year) gasoline prices averaged $2.89 per gallon; by December of that year the average had risen to $3.05 per gallon – a 5.5 percent increase which is contrary to normal seasonal trends for retail gas prices.
Part of the reason gasoline prices have come down is the expanded production of U.S. crude oil. The U.S. is now the largest crude oil producer in the world.
And yes, this trend started at the end of the time Obama was in office, as fracking, horizontal drilling and other new extraction technologies and newly discovered reserves opened up more production.
But what was the Obama Administration’s response? In 2016, as part of his last budget proposal, he proposed a per barrel tax on crude oil. Analysts estimated that levy would increase retail gas prices by 25 cents or more.
The House of Representatives passed a resolution (H.Con.Res 112) “expressing the sense of Congress opposing the Presidents proposed $10 tax on every barrel of oil,” but Nancy Pelosi voted against it, in support of the oil tax.
But now she’s worried about “exploding” gas prices? That’s rich.