House conservatives, engaging in a third day of political stunts on the floor of the House, are now claiming that gas prices across the nation have dropped in response to their theatrics calling for a vote on offshore oil drilling. “I think the market is responding to the fact that we are here talking,” said Rep. John Shadegg (R-AZ) in a GOP press conference today.
Shadegg claimed that “gas prices have gone down” because of the “pressure” coming from pro-drilling conservatives:
“Gas prices have gone down, and they’ve gone down in part because the market is realizing that this kind of pressure from the Congress may actually cause a change in American policy,” said Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz.), one of the ringleaders of the protest demanding that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) bring Congress back to vote on oil exploration measures.
But actual experts don’t believe the political stunts have anything to do with the drop in prices. In fact, oil and gas prices are down because of simple economics as the high energy prices and the weak economy are “curbing consumer demand” for gas:
Oil prices kept falling Tuesday, sinking as low as $118 a barrel on growing concerns that a U.S. economic slowdown and high energy costs are curbing consumer demand for gasoline and other petroleum products
One analyst told the Los Angeles Times that demand has “finally hit a wall” while another put it more bluntly to the AP: “$4-a-gallon gasoline has clearly killed demand.” As evidence of this decreased demand, the Transportation Department recently reported that Americans drove nearly 10 billion fewer miles in May 2008 than May 2007.
Conservatives have previously tried to give credit for lower prices to President Bush’s call for offshore drilling, but even the White House rejected that logic. Though they’re crediting their theatrics for the drop in prices, The Hill reports that the conservatives refused to “answer questions about whether they would take the blame if gas prices go up again.”