Advancing a Free Society

So Are High Gas Prices Good or Bad?

Friday, February 24, 2012

As the global economy gets better, as we freeze federal leases, and as the Middle East heats up, will $5-a-gallon summer gas be good or bad? Suddenly the administration seems to think that high energy prices are bad and, in fact, that it has done a lot to lower them.

The Obama team’s various explanations for addressing skyrocketing gas prices so far seem threefold: It claims that by getting out of Iraq it is settling down the Mideast; it is reducing demand; and it is increasing production. All of these are either half-truths, or developments that are irrelevant to the presidency. And the fact that gas prices have doubled since January 2009 suggests that whatever the current Obama policy is, it has not worked — at least if lower gas prices were the aim.

Our departure from Iraq has had nothing to do with calming oil prices. When Obama entered office, Iraq was already quiet; the month we left, no U.S. soldiers were lost. As for Middle East oil, in 2002, the last year before the Iraq invasion, Iraq produced slightly over 2 million barrels per day; oil production exceeded that prewar figure already by 2007 after the success of the Petraeus surge. In 2011 (with thousands of troops still in Iraq), it hit a 3 million barrels average, with projections for even more this year. The Iranian mess, no doubt, has fostered speculation, but I will leave it to others to judge whether Obama’s policies toward Iran have created calm and reassurance in the Gulf region.

Continue reading Victor Davis Hanson…

(photo credit: Paulo Ordoveza)