Are gasoline prices too high?
They may be heading toward $4 a gallon by this summer, having already topped $3.50.
But perhaps they aren’t high enough – if you follow the logic of President Obama’s energy policy.
The administration said Sunday that it is weighing the option of helping lower gas prices by releasing supplies from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). That oil kitty was set up after the 1973 Oil Shock in case of a national emergency.
But paying $4 at the pump is not really an emergency – based on Mr. Obama’s moves to wean Americans off oil.
His budget proposal last month, for instance, would repeal $46.2 billion in subsidies for the fossil fuel industry over the next decade – a move designed to raise oil prices in order to boost investment in renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.
Obama is also reluctant to expand offshore oil drilling. And he’s also trying to boost the sales of electric cars – something that won’t be easy if gasoline prices go down – as part of a broad government effort to reduce carbon emissions and boost energy security.
Obama’s energy secretary, Stephen Chu, advises politicians in Congress not to panic and demand that the president lower prices by selling oil from the SPR.
The last time Americans saw $4 pump prices, in 2008, they did start to change their energy habits.
Taking the long view means the US must recognize that it has to kick the oil habit sooner rather than later.