Don’t worry-he’s not out to get us.
Since the time when President Barack Obama took office in 2008, the average price of gas in the United States has risen from about $1.86/gal to $3.37/gal (gasbuddy.com). This very large increase has forced Americans to cut back on shopping trips and taken money out of their pockets. Republican politicians have been quick to blame the increase in price on President Obama, and many Americans, desperate for an answer, have decided to agree.
If only the price of gas were so simple. In reality, the world’s demand for oil, and its international price (over which Obama has a minute amount of control), play a role in how much Americans pay at the pump. More close to home, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has also affected the price of gas.
The extreme growth of China and other developing countries has generated a large demand for crude oil, the material from which gasoline is made; because there is not an unlimited supply of oil, the price rises (Green). Basically, Americans aren’t the only people who want gas; there are many other people all over the world who need it. Because the demand for the limited supply is high, the price rises.
The purchase of crude oil is sort of like buying an apartment in New York versus in Detroit. Not many people want to live in Detroit, so there are vacant apartments available for a low price. Many people wish to live in New York; therefore, there are not many vacant apartments, and those that are for rent are priced very high.
After the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, United States oil drilling slowed significantly in the Gulf of Mexico due to a moratorium placed upon drilling by the Obama administration (Green). When it was lifted, a significant amount of revenue was lost. Though this contributed slightly to the rise in the international price of oil, the environmental trade-off was well worth it.
Though he did briefly stop U.S. drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, President Obama doesn’t really influence the cost of gas. International supply and demand is the main reason why the cost fluctuates so much.
It should perhaps be noted that Obama isn’t the only president who has seen a rise in price of gas during his presidency. During George W. Bush’s second term, the cost rose from $1.86/gal at the beginning, and reached a high of $4.12 in the summer of 2008!