Getting Hosed at the Pump

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Gas prices are going up. A lot. Already the cost of a gallon of gas has increased by 51.4 cents over the past year. By this summer don’t be surprised to see $5.00 a gallon prices at the pumps. That will mean anywhere from $85.00 to $100.00 or more to fill up your tank. But before you start cursing out the big evil oil companies again, let me tell you that it’s a lot more complicated than that. Several factors are at work here.

Even though we’ve had a warmer than normal winter across the country resulting in less demand for heating fuel (which usually means larger supplies of oil in reserve, and should translate to lower prices for us) our gas and oil prices have skyrocketed. As Fox’s Lou Dobbs has pointed out, this is because oil companies have not stockpiled the oil that we didn’t use; they have sold it overseas to developing nations like China and India and jacked up prices to us here at home. But this is only half of the story.

President Obama is complicit in this rip off. He is simply fulfilling one of his campaign promises to turn the U.S. into a more “green energy” friendly country. Investor’s Business Daily has pointed out that during his presidential campaign, Obama admitted he didn’t have a problem with sky-high gasoline prices, he just “would have preferred a gradual adjustment.”

The idea is to make traditional energy sources such as gasoline and oil so expensive that it will force the public into using alternative fuels. His energy secretary, Steven Chu, told the Walt Street Journal before joining the administration that “somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”

In a follow-up article, ABC News interviewed a scientist who had worked with Chu, Lee Schipper, who estimated that European gas prices were at about $7 to $9 per gallon back in 2008. And last year, Chu claimed “the price of gasoline over the long haul should be expected to go up.”

Obama has said that he wants to “reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil,” but what he really wants is to reduce the country’s dependence on all oil, both foreign and domestic and put us all into electric cars. You might not think that is such a bad idea, and you might be right except for one little thing … the electric cars use more energy and are worse for the environment than the internal combustion engine.

A new British study suggests that electric vehicles might not be as green as environmentalists think. Because of pollution from the factories that make batteries, an electric car has a bigger carbon footprint than a gas-burning vehicle until it’s traveled 80,000 miles, according to the research, which was financed by the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air says, “Electric cars aren’t so good for the planet after all. Not only do electric vehicles produce just as much carbon in their overall cycle as internal-combustion engines, the need to replace the batteries actually makes them less green than current technology.” If we want a cleaner way to get around, “the answer is natural gas, not electric vehicles.”

Not only that, but findings from researchers at University of Tennessee, Knoxville, show that electric cars that have been studied in China have an overall impact on pollution that could be more harmful to health than gasoline vehicles.

Chris Cherry, assistant professor in civil and environmental engineering, and graduate student Shuguang Ji, analyzed the emissions and environmental health impacts of five vehicle technologies in 34 major Chinese cities, focusing on dangerous fine particles. What Cherry and his team found defies conventional logic: electric cars cause much more overall harmful particulate matter pollution than gasoline cars.

“An implicit assumption has been that air quality and health impacts are lower for electric vehicles than for conventional vehicles,” Cherry said. “Our findings challenge that by comparing what is emitted by vehicle use to what people are actually exposed to. Prior studies have only examined environmental impacts by comparing emission factors or greenhouse gas emissions.”

But none of this matters. Ideology trumps facts in the Obama administration every time. Whenever Obama has had the chance to encourage oil production, he’s done the opposite. Consider the following:

  • He needlessly halted Gulf drilling permits after the BP oil spill, and continues to slow-walk them. Permit approvals are less than half their pre-Obama average, and approval times have nearly doubled.
  • Obama scuttled the 700,000-barrels-a-day Keystone XL pipeline, despite approval by the State Department after an exhaustive three-year review. In addition to oil, this project would have also resulted in over 25,000 new American jobs.
  • And he endlessly demonizes oil companies while pushing to sharply raise their taxes.

Interesting isn’t it how a socialistic-leaning president and a capitalistic oil industry can come together to make strange bedfellows. Both are getting what they want, while us poor saps just get hosed again at the pumps.

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