Inquirer Editorial: No president can dictate the market price of oil

Posted: October 20, 2012

Again and again, Americans have been given tutorials on the price of gasoline, but the lessons don't stick because self-serving politicians keep distorting the facts.

So, once again, class, repeat after me: The president of the United States does not determine the pump price of gasoline.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney suggested in Tuesday night's debate that had President Obama done more to tap the oil in this country, gas prices wouldn't be around $4 a gallon. But Canada certainly isn't dependent on any other country for its oil, and gasoline prices have gone up there, too.

People need to understand that the pump price of gas is determined by the price of oil on the world market, which no president can really influence.

In fact, U.S. crude oil production is expected to increase 12 percent this year and another 8 percent next year, but America's relatively small amount of crude is sold into the massive world oil market, where the demand for the fuel has increased oil's price by about 7 percent. Thus the nearly four bucks per gallon being paid for gas in this country.

Meanwhile, the U.S. refineries handling more oil are raking in the cash. HollyFrontier Corp., which owns refineries in Oklahoma and Kansas, saw its second-quarter net income grow 149 percent compared with a year ago, to $502 million. Suffice it to say, the oil business is very complex. And politicians shouldn't use that complexity to try to snooker voters.

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