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Why the GOP Is Trying to Pin High Gas Prices on Obama (and Gullible Americans Are Falling for It)

The Republicans are hoping to blame this rise in the price of gas on Obama's environmentally friendly policies. But here are two major problems with their story.

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The other part of this story is that US proven reserves are in the neighborhood of 20 million barrels. After that, absent major new discoveries, production will plummet. At our current rate of production, we would exhaust them in around ten years. If we could somehow increase production by a third that would bring the date of exhaustion to just seven years in the future. This would mean that we would be seeing sharply lower production levels before the end of President Drill Everywhere's second term.

That is the arithmetic of the situation, but the Republicans are betting that they can get away with their story nonetheless. The public is almost completely ignorant of the dynamics of world oil markets. It is widely believed that prices are determined domestically and that if upscale environmentalists did not get in the way, we could drill out enough oil so that gas prices would be cheap again.

Since the media consider it to be their job to report what candidates say and not access its accuracy, it is likely that the public will go the polls believing that we can again get cheap gas if we just destroyed the environment. The reality is that we have the ability to do the latter.

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and author of the new book, The End of Loser Liberalism ?

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