What the President Can Do About Gas Prices

Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were asked the question last night, but both dodged. CNN says that’s because the answer is: not much…

The truth is that politicians and the government, for the most part, have very little real control over gasoline prices.

The price Americans pay at the pump is tied to the crude oil market — a global system largely beyond the reach of Washington.

There’s no gas price lever in the White House or Congress. If there were, it would be a safe bet to say everybody would leave it permanently on low to look good. It is true gas prices have risen under Obama, and CNN explains why.

“During recessions, demand for gasoline plummets as trucks pull off the road, companies cut back on travel and laid off workers drive fewer miles,” CNN says. In mid-2008 right before the recession hit – while President Bush was in office – gas prices reached an average of $4.12 a gallon. (The photo at right is from May 2008 in California.) Then they fell off a cliff along with the rest of the economy later in the year. That’s when Obama came into office.

But “since early 2009, the economy has haltingly improved, and demand for crude has risen. It has also spiked in the developing world — especially in China, India and South America,” CNN says. So prices went back up along with demand.

The U.S. does have an oil stockpile of about 727 million barrels – an amount the world would burn through in about a week. Increased drilling would only drop prices up to about three cents a gallon, according to a study CNN cites.

Sign up for our free newsletter

Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you a regular digest of our newest stories, full of money saving tips and advice, free! We'll also email you a PDF of Stacy Johnson's "205 Ways to Save Money" as soon as you've subscribed. It's full of great tips that'll help you save a ton of extra cash. It doesn't cost a dime, so why wait? Click here to sign up now.

Check out our hottest deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,192 more deals!

Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.