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  • $7-a-Gallon Gas?

    President Obama has a solution to the Gulf oil spill: $7-a-gallon gas.

    That’s a Harvard University study’s estimate of the per-gallon price of the president’s global-warming agenda. And Obama made clear this week that this agenda is a part of his plan for addressing the Gulf mess.

    So what does global-warming legislation have to do with the oil spill?

    Good question, because such measures wouldn’t do a thing to clean up the oil or fix the problems that led to the leak.

    The answer can be found in Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s now-famous words, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste — and what I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”

    That sure was true of global-warming policy, and especially the cap-and-trade bill. Many observers thought the measure, introduced last year in the House by Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.), was dead: The American people didn’t seem to think that the so-called global-warming crisis justified a price-hiking, job-killing, economy-crushing redesign of our energy supply amid a fragile recovery. Passing another major piece of legislation, one every bit as unpopular as ObamaCare, appeared unlikely in an election year.

    So Obama and congressional proponents of cap-and-trade spent several months rebranding it — downplaying the global-warming rationale and claiming that it was really a jobs bill (the so-called green jobs were supposed to spring from the new clean-energy economy) and an energy-independence bill (that will somehow stick it to OPEC).

    Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) even reportedly declined to introduce their new cap-and-trade proposal in the Senate on Earth Day, because they wanted to de-emphasize the global-warming message. Instead, Kerry called the American Power Act “a plan that creates jobs and sets us on a course toward energy independence and economic resurgence.”

    But the new marketing strategy wasn’t working. Few believe the green-jobs hype — with good reason. In Spain, for example, green jobs have been an expensive bust, with each position created requiring, on average, $774,000 in government subsidies. And the logic of getting us off oil imports via a unilateral measure that punishes American coal, oil and natural gas never made any sense at all.

    Now the president is repackaging cap-and-trade – again — as a long-term solution to the oil spill. But it’s the same old agenda, a huge energy tax that will raise the cost of gasoline and electricity high enough so that we’re forced to use less.

    The logic linking cap-and-trade to the spill in the Gulf should frighten anyone who owns a car or truck. Such measures force up the price at the pump — Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs thinks it “may require gas prices greater than $7 a gallon by 2020″ to meet Obama’s stated goal of reducing emissions 14 percent from the transportation sector.

    Of course, doing so would reduce gasoline use and also raise market share for hugely expensive alternative fuels and vehicles that could never compete otherwise. Less gasoline demand means less need for drilling and thus a slightly reduced chance of a repeat of the Deepwater Horizon spill — but only slightly. Oil will still be a vital part of America’s energy mix.

    Oil-spill risks should be addressed directly — such as finding out why the leak occurred and requiring new preventive measures or preparing an improved cleanup plan for the next incident. Cap-and-trade is no fix and would cause trillions of dollars in collateral economic damage along the way.

    Emanuel was wrong. The administration shouldn’t view each crisis — including the oil spill — as an opportunity to be exploited, but as a problem to be addressed. And America can’t afford $7-a-gallon gas.

    Ben Lieberman is senior anal yst of energy and environmental policy in The Heritage Founda tion’s Roe Institute.

    Cross-posted from The New York Post

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    26 Responses to $7-a-Gallon Gas?

    1. Char, Ohio says:

      Man, I hope he's paying for our gas fill-ups! That is just unrealistic! Not to meantion, it still won't stop the leak. Find a solution and take care of the freakin mess with out the taxpayers having to pay more at the pump for BP's freakin disater!

    2. Patricia, Alaska says:

      This is the government's way to force us to buy those electric cars being produced. Moreover, we will need to go the way of China when they traveled mostly by bicycle. I don't think our politicians understand the importance of oil production in our society because they may not know all of it's uses. If they think gasoline is the only thing we use it for, then limiting oil production might wake them up to how much they plan to give up for their harmful agenda—which includes tax dollars which gives them their income.

    3. Jennifer, IN says:

      I almost hope this nonsense goes through so people can stop using lower gas prices as a way that Obama is helping the economy. My Dem friends use that as the only reason they are pleased with Obama. Here's a quote: "All I know is that gas was $4 a gallon under Bush and it's under $3 with Obama." I wonder what they will do when it reaches $7 and beyond? I suppose the trucking and delivery industry will still be going strong, won't it! Oh, what's that? A few million more people out of jobs but it's ok because Obama added 300,000 temp jobs to the government payroll?

    4. Edward Kimble says:

      It is extremely important in the US to transition slowly to cheaper gas alternatives. For example, most so-called no-till farmers are spending about 25 gallons of oil per acre to produce food. This means at least four things: 1. Most bio-fuel plans suddenly become untenable and no longer a boost for the transition mix. 2. In a world with even $7 gas, the cost of simple crops becomes huge, limiting or canceling any export of grains. And this is expected to have a big effect on balance of payments. 3. Development of alternatives and US infrastructure stops, Current costs of concrete have already nearly tripled. 4. Jobs that depend on transportation or commuting, stop. With most folks predicting a US downturn in 2011 due to the Laffer curve effects of increased Obama taxes,and this "ain't" good, Lucy. Failure of the Federal Government to license new solar and nuclear facilities makes the Obama plan virtually impossible and makes their motives very highly suspect.

    5. Eugene Kupstas, Kins says:

      The President isn't focused on finding solutions. All that alternative energy we hear and read about will be little more than a payoff to environmentalists who care little about how the average American lives and well-placed businessmen (and -women) who are as adept at milking the government for our tax money as they are at finding genuine solutions that might help a little in some cases.

      Now I hear that it's about scapegoating, too. The latest development is that Hayward, the CEO with the Aussie voice, has to go. If British Petroleum/American Oil shareholders gave Tom the heave-ho, well, fine. But it looks to me as if Obama and his administration want to change British Petroleum to (American) Government Petroleum.

    6. mike d. wheaton illi says:


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    13. James Richard Tyrer, says:

      Why does the Obama administration ignore the one solution that can reduce oil imports without driving up gasoline prices. This is Synthetic Fuel — not inefficient bio-fuels but rather synthetic hydrocarbons made with the Fischer-Tropsch process. This is known to work. SASOL uses it in South Africa to make gasoline and fuel oil using Carbon from coal.. If it is used to produce hydrocarbons from organic waste, or biomass grown for that purpose,, the fuels produce with be Carbon neutral so even the Greens should be happy. The only question is the cost — at what cost per barrel for oil are synthetics competitive?

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    20. Steve Thomas, Flagst says:

      If the American populous must walk and ride bicycles because gasoline is too costly we may see a reduction in obesity!

    21. Sarah Newland Washin says:

      $7.00 will destroy the trucking industry and the economy but Congress will always have enough to pay for limos and airplanes….what a bunch of hypcrites!

    22. Kemp--YORK S.C. says:


    23. Kemp- York,SC says:

      Still think the “oil spill” was an accident?????

    24. Billie says:

      Obama said the American people wouldn't be paying for this/ What up? Especially when the inspectors failed their job of inspecting…

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    26. Kate, Utah says:

      People in England have been paying $6 or more per gallon (equivalently, in pounds per litre) for years. Quit whining, America.

      Also: if gas prices go up, demand for high-efficiency vehicles goes up. High-efficiency vehicle production increases, the technology keeps improving, MPG gets better and better, and prices for those high-efficiency vehicles drop as companies compete for business. The price of gas becomes a lesser issue, perhaps even completely irrelevant. Who cares if gas is $7 a gallon if you can drive across the country on that one gallon?

      Granted, that scenario takes time to fulfill. But isn't it a nice scenario?

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