As Gas Prices Rise, Republicans Once Again Propose Big Oil ‘Solutions’ That Don’t Solve The Problem

With gas prices rising over the Labor Day weekend, Republicans have resumed political attacks and proposed policies that do not help consumers with costs.

As expected, Republicans have renewed calls to fulfill the oil industry’s wishlist by increasing drilling on public lands, building the Keystone XL pipeline, and maintain billions of dollars in tax breaks for mature, highly-profitable companies.

National gas prices reached $3.83 on Monday, the highest ever on Labor Day. Reasons for the short-term 9.4 percent jump in prices this August include refinery closures from Hurricane Isaac and a major fire at a Chevron California refinery earlier in the month. Of course, Republicans are now pointing fingers at Obama for rising gas prices — and the National Republican Congressional Committee jumped on the bandwagon this weekend with a press release touting the Keystone XL pipeline and blaming the president for the jump.

This came after Romney unveiled an energy plan focused exclusively on oil, with a false promise to end gas price shocks.

Despite GOP wishes, oil prices cannot be pinned on the president. Instead, Republicans use gas price pain to push canned “solutions” that benefit big oil and not consumers. Consider these proposals:

The Keystone XL pipeline could cause gas prices to rise: The Keystone XL pipeline would move dirty Canadian tar sands oil across America for export. It will not improve U.S. oil production. Since it will ship oil past Midwestern refineries toward the Gulf, Bloomberg estimates that it would cause gas prices to increase for some Americans.

Boosting domestic oil production doesn’t prevent gas price shocks: According to a Congressional Budget Office analysis this spring, increased oil production wouldn’t insulate consumers from jumps in prices. Domestic production is already at an eight-year high, and CBO reports that even if prices did drop, it would make consumers “more vulnerable to increases in oil prices. Even if the United States increased production and became a net exporter of oil, U.S. consumers would still be exposed to gasoline prices that rose and fell in response to disruptions around the world.” The only way to protect consumers, argues CBO, is to use less oil.

Fuel efficiency standards help both the auto industry and consumers: Higher gas prices usually mean fewer auto sales, but auto sales have been strong this summer largely because of production of fuel efficient cars. The Obama administration recently finalized higher fuel standards that raise the efficiency of the nation’s auto fleet to 54.5 mpg by 2025. Mitt Romney opposes these standards, and wants to undo existing ones. The 54.5 mpg target will cut U.S. oil dependency by 3 million barrels a day, save consumers $1.7 trillion over the next decade, and reduce the impact of rising prices.

ThinkProgress has documented how critics didn’t thank Obama when gas prices unexpectedly dropped this summer. Now, taking advantage of the higher prices, Republicans are again blaming the President — all while advocating policies that do little to actually solve the problem.


6 Responses to As Gas Prices Rise, Republicans Once Again Propose Big Oil ‘Solutions’ That Don’t Solve The Problem

  1. Greatgrandma Kat says:

    The same old tired reframe from the Repugs, you would think people would see through it by now. They will keep prices high through the election, it worked once and they are nothing if not underhanded enough to try it again. It’s like getting people to understand and except the fact of a warming world, there is no longer a way for us to be energy independent outside of renewable sources. Gas prices these days no longer have anything to do with supply and demand, just speculation and political expediency-.

  2. BillD says:

    The Republicans want to be a little cautious, since the last time they tried to make an issue of the gas price, the price immediately fell. The only way that greatly expanded drilling and refining in the US could potentially reduces prices at the pump would be if the oil companies would be willing to forego the profit of exporting oil and gas to other countries where prices are higher. Since shipping gasoline to other countries both increases profits from the sale and keeps US prices high, that seems unlikely. We are already an exporter of gasoline. More likely we will continue to have an international market price on oil, with frequent fluctuations due to the futures market. I don’t blame the futures traders too much, since in our dangerous world, promising to deliver oil at a particular price in three months has it’s risks and it’s good that some are willing to take the risk.

  3. SteveEV says:

    I suspect the oil industry has realized the clock is ticking and soon their media campaigns will no longer mask the overwhelming evidence of fossil fuels’ destruction of our world. Now they are pulling out the stops to sell as much hydrocarbon as quickly as possible and before a shocked public discovers an unrecoverable toxic mess along with depleted bank accounts.

  4. Terri says:

    Does anyone connect rising oil prices to the fact that ConocoPhillips and Sunco closed three oil refineries in the Northeast early this year? They sited falling oil prices and increased environmental regulations as the reasons for the refineries lack of profitability, amid record company profits made by “restructuring,” which is code for laying people off work. If we can’t rely on individuals to do the right thing, then we have to make more laws and socially and economically engineer our society. How many billions does it take before the oil companies are profitable enough? When do the people who work for them and the consumers who have readily created an infrastructure around them count for anything?

  5. Charlie Peters says:

    California Obama /Mitt November contest would likely give the California winner prize to Obama but how would a 3 way Obama, Mitt & Ron write in vote count end up?

    RP votes in 2008 were counted.
    The Goldman Sacs-Fed reserve twins might create a fun contest with the Dr.

    60 days in a political contest is a long time.

    Is this game about D R or other? maybe it is about saving a republic. Maybe Obama and Mitt are the underdogs.

  6. Charlie Peters says:

    What would a judge do with AB 118 Nunez/Arnold?

    AAA said it would not pass a court test.

    GMO corn food will be considered for a label in November.

    GMO Corn in my food and gas stinks.

    Arnold ask the fed for a waiver and the Clinton EPA agreed

    Arnold-W EPA said NO and agrees with MITT.

    UN, World Bank, many Governors, Several Congressmen, Bill Clinton & Al Gore say GMO ethanol in the gas is bad policy.