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Published on April 29th, 2008 | by Clayton

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Bush Blames Congress for High Electricity, Food, And Gas Prices

ANWR, EIA, Graph, oil production

This morning on NPR, President Bush tried to blame congress for the nation’s high gas, food, and electricity prices. Apparently, Congress has been thwarting the President’s attempts to fix the economy:

“I’ve repeatedly submitted proposals to help address these problems,” the president said. “Yet time after time, Congress chose to block them.”

The President proposed dealing with high gas prices by “environmentally safe” drilling the the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, better known as ANWR.

“It’s been more than 30 years since America built its last new refinery, yet in this area, too, Congress has repeatedly blocked efforts to expand capacity and build more refineries,” Bush said.

Drilling in ANWR makes perfect sense, since it would supply 876,000 barrels of oil per day to a country that consumes 20,687,000 barrels of oil per day. To put that in perspective, 876,000 barrels is about 1 hour worth of oil, or over the course of a year amounts to about 15 days of US oil consumption.

Of course, we wouldn’t reach 876,000 barrels of oil per day until production peaked in 2025, assuming the oil started flowing by 2013. According to an analysis by the Energy Information Administration back in 2004 (that’s where these numbers come from), peak oil production in ANWR “might reduce world oil prices by as much as 30 to 50 cents per barrel, relative to a projected 2025 world oil price of $27 per barrel.”

Even if the analysis was spot-on about the price of oil (only $100 dollars off), would 30 to 50 cents make a difference? The analysis went on to say that OPEC (being OPEC) would probably “countermand” any change in price by reducing an equivalent amount of oil exports.

So how is it going to help the average American to drill in ANWR? It probably wouldn’t. With oil at $120 a barrel and rising steadily, the only thing that’s clear is how lucrative the proposal would be for oil companies.

Bush also mentioned lifting federal gas and diesel taxes (18.4 cents and 24.4 cents per gallon, respectively) over the summer, another move that would make a huge difference in long term energy security. I think Barack Obama is right about this one: it’s a “gimmick that won’t provide any significant relief to motorists.”

At a meeting with voters in North Carolina on Monday, Mr. Obama said lifting the gas tax for three months would save the average consumer no more than $30, a figure confirmed by Congressional analysts. Mr. Obama has previously dismissed Mr. McCain’s proposal as a “scheme.”

“Half a tank of gas,” Mr. Obama told his audience. “That’s his big solution.”

How about raising petroleum taxes and investing in renewable energy infrastructure? How about setting up a tax on carbon emissions like British Columbia just did? Anything but continuing to invest so heavily in a resource that’s on its way out.

It’s time to start looking for real solutions, and gracefully acquiescing that it’s the end of an era.

To hear Bush’s speech, listen to the NPR show from this morning. Have a comment on this topic? Share it below.


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About the Author

In a past life, Clayton was a professional blogger and editor of Gas 2.0, Important Media’s blog covering the future of sustainable transportation. He was also the Managing Editor for GO Media, the predecessor to Important Media.



  • Aaron

    I agree with you about the President passing the buck to Congress and making it seem like he’s tried to do everything to help ease the pain at the pump and at the grocery store. I thought it was strange when the President said he didn’t want to get into the ’08 race when asked the question about the federal gas tax relief in July. But at the same time, stressed how he would be open and interested to hear both long term and short term solutions to the gas price problems. Well, taking away the federal tax on gas in July would in fact be a quick solution to the problem, so it makes no sense that he said he would listen to ideas, but then not want to answer any questions about it. Then again, what about this President does make sense?

  • Aaron

    I agree with you about the President passing the buck to Congress and making it seem like he’s tried to do everything to help ease the pain at the pump and at the grocery store. I thought it was strange when the President said he didn’t want to get into the ’08 race when asked the question about the federal gas tax relief in July. But at the same time, stressed how he would be open and interested to hear both long term and short term solutions to the gas price problems. Well, taking away the federal tax on gas in July would in fact be a quick solution to the problem, so it makes no sense that he said he would listen to ideas, but then not want to answer any questions about it. Then again, what about this President does make sense?

  • Tubbsie Doot

    This is just election year gibberish to try and bribe the “Common American Idiot”. Unfortunately, the CAI is a dominant force in the voting populace and is likely to respond by voting for the party which pretends it’s done the most to “lower gas prices” even though, at $4 a gallon, we are still paying artificially LOW PRICES when military spending is taken into consideration.

  • Tubbsie Doot

    This is just election year gibberish to try and bribe the “Common American Idiot”. Unfortunately, the CAI is a dominant force in the voting populace and is likely to respond by voting for the party which pretends it’s done the most to “lower gas prices” even though, at $4 a gallon, we are still paying artificially LOW PRICES when military spending is taken into consideration.

  • jpm100

    Having that money be respent in to the US (and some Canadian) hands will probably help the economy and the trade deficit.

    It won’t help the pump price.

  • jpm100

    Having that money be respent in to the US (and some Canadian) hands will probably help the economy and the trade deficit.

    It won’t help the pump price.

  • Pingback: Sorry Bush, Voters Think Investment in Renewable Energy is the Best Option : Gas 2.0

  • Pingback: ANWR drilling promoted…can you make a difference? : Red, Green, and Blue

  • Norman

    Drill, Drill, Drill, If a caribou gets in the way drill through it!

  • Norman

    Drill, Drill, Drill, If a caribou gets in the way drill through it!

  • Norman

    Drill, Drill, Drill, If a caribou gets in the way drill through it!

  • Norman

    Drill, Drill, Drill, If a caribou gets in the way drill through it!

  • Sewell

    I think drilling will help but not enough to have a long term effect and help lower prices… at least not without drilling the entire Alasken state. But enviromental tree huggers arnt a big help in solving the problem. I would like to see a long term fixtured but have yet to see one thats plausible among our presidential hopefuls

  • Sewell

    I think drilling will help but not enough to have a long term effect and help lower prices… at least not without drilling the entire Alasken state. But enviromental tree huggers arnt a big help in solving the problem. I would like to see a long term fixtured but have yet to see one thats plausible among our presidential hopefuls

  • Pragamatic Thinking

    Expanding some drilling capacity makes sense; provided the EPA isn’t railroaded into giving oil companies free passes to ignore environmental laws. But that’s not going to solve any problems, from hazardous emissions to rising fuel costs. Econ 101: lower overall usage and demand. Less Hummers, less trucks being driven by lone drivers with no cargo to haul, less wasteful consumption of energy, more research and development of alternatives. Since when did economists become opposed to efficiency? There are many pieces to this puzzle, among them smoking out pols who are clearly acting out of economic or activist interests and not sane policy decisions. This goes for Ted Stevens and Al Gore.

  • Pragamatic Thinking

    Expanding some drilling capacity makes sense; provided the EPA isn’t railroaded into giving oil companies free passes to ignore environmental laws. But that’s not going to solve any problems, from hazardous emissions to rising fuel costs. Econ 101: lower overall usage and demand. Less Hummers, less trucks being driven by lone drivers with no cargo to haul, less wasteful consumption of energy, more research and development of alternatives. Since when did economists become opposed to efficiency? There are many pieces to this puzzle, among them smoking out pols who are clearly acting out of economic or activist interests and not sane policy decisions. This goes for Ted Stevens and Al Gore.

  • Rebecca Furr

    Just another passing the buck ploy by the party who’s responsible for our country’s current disastrous state. They could drill every square inch of this country and you can bet that not one red cent in savings would be passed on to the consumer. Anyone that thinks these guys give a rat’s a** about the little guy is sadly mistaken. They are in it for themselves and their already bloated bank accounts and nothing more. Once the “average american idiot” finally understands this fact, we might move forward on some real solutions. Well, guess the “aai” is off to watch some more Fox news.. LOL!

  • Rebecca Furr

    Just another passing the buck ploy by the party who’s responsible for our country’s current disastrous state. They could drill every square inch of this country and you can bet that not one red cent in savings would be passed on to the consumer. Anyone that thinks these guys give a rat’s a** about the little guy is sadly mistaken. They are in it for themselves and their already bloated bank accounts and nothing more. Once the “average american idiot” finally understands this fact, we might move forward on some real solutions. Well, guess the “aai” is off to watch some more Fox news.. LOL!

  • Jane

    The one to blame for these high cost are Bush,he should look in the mirror instead of passing the buck to Congress. His embracing of ethanol which is causing high food prices, and his love of deregulation. Deregulation of electricity, no controls on oil companies,at least to tax them and help the public. Bush is against anything that would help the consumer. It amazes me how any republican will get elected to the White House or Congress.

  • Jane

    The one to blame for these high cost are Bush,he should look in the mirror instead of passing the buck to Congress. His embracing of ethanol which is causing high food prices, and his love of deregulation. Deregulation of electricity, no controls on oil companies,at least to tax them and help the public. Bush is against anything that would help the consumer. It amazes me how any republican will get elected to the White House or Congress.

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