Las Vegas Sun

August 1, 2014

Currently: 92° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Letter to the editor:

Obama not at fault for high gas prices

Another view?

View more of the Las Vegas Sun's opinion section:

Editorials - the Sun's viewpoint.

Columnists - local and syndicated writers.

Letters to the editor - readers' views.

Have your own opinion? Write a letter to the editor.

I hope everyone saw the news last week about oil production. The United States is producing almost as much oil as Saudi Arabia. It also says the price of gasoline will not decrease because of it. So why all of the stuff about “drill, baby, drill”?

Republicans are blaming President Barack Obama for the high prices, but as you can see, the oil companies and speculators control it all.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 30 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. If America is producing X amount of oil, natural gas and coal, but we could produce 40 % more, should we?

    My answer is yes. The President's answer is no. If we restrict (in some ways) the production of fossil fuels, we bring closer the day when non fossil fuels can compete in price with fossil fuels.

    The President, although he doesn't say so, ascribes to the idea that we 'need' to bring up the costs of fossil fuels before Americans will be willing to move away from them and toward non fossil fuels.

    Until recently, Steven Chu (Secretary of Energy) has been more honest about the desire for higher gas prices.

    I'm good with moving to non fossil, renewable energy, but I think we should move there without coercion, so I think we should develop all our own fossil fuels, while at the same time, investing in clean energy 'research' to try to find ways to make it more efficient and to be able to 'scale' it up to the size it needs to be to become a real part of our energy mix.

    Michael

  2. Don't underestimate the plans and power of oil companies in determining the price of oil refined in their refineries.

    Many advancements and transportation systems have disappeared after the inventions or systems were bought out by oil and the automotive industries.

    It also seems we are seeing more refinery shutdowns for various reasons that also increase the cost of gasoline.

    I think there is more domestic market manipulation than we realize.

    I agree with Michael in his stated approach of the simultaneous development of renewable energy. However, there seems to be a segment of society that doesn't see the need for such expense.

    If we don't pursue that with intelligence, down the road we will reach the bottom of the barrel of oil and not have an alternative in place. The issue has to become more detached from politics, and taken seriously by all.

    Empty barrels and no alternative is a fine inheritance for the "children and grandchildren", or future generations.

  3. I have one phrase for the letter writer: Keystone XL Pipeline. And one word to go with it. Jobs.

    Before you think oil prices are okie dokie, just remember we are paying, on average, $2 more per gallon than we were when President Obama took office 4 years ago. Grant you it has alot to do with the Fed's manipulation of the dollar and QE 1, 2, and 3 which caused hyper inflation. Especially for oil which is priced on the world market for sale in US dollars. But the last I heard and read, the Fed Chief Ben Bernanke works for the President.

    CarmineD

  4. "Obama's secretary of energy, Dr. Steven Chu, "has said publicly he wants us to pay European levels (for gasoline), and that would be $9 or $10 a gallon."

    Like Bernanke, Chu works for the president. Chu also uses a bike to get back and forth to work. So he doesn't have to worry about gas prices.

    CarmineD

  5. Of course it's not Osama Obama's fault. It's George W.'s. Dumbocrats! Can't take responsibility for anything unless it enhances their weirdo agenda!

  6. The global supply and demand determine the price of oil and as a derivative the price of gasoline. It is not enough to say that oil production in this country is about the same as Saudi Arabia so everything on the oil production side of the equation is fine and then blame speculators and oil companies for the increase in prices. As I view it, Obama is anti fossile fuel development, and his policies reflect this . In order for prices to decrease global supply must increase relative to demand. That means more production must be supplied into the market. To unleash this supply iAmerican production can and should increase. To do this the overall level of the infrastructure must be raised for fossile fuels on a permanent basis. The overall supply of oil from the US must be raised. For this to occur federal lands must be freed to open up more oil production,environmental regulations must become friendly to development by use of fracking technology,and the Canadian pipeline must be approved. Setting in place this framework will assure refinery makers that their investments in new and expanded refinery capacity will be rewarded..

  7. Republicans are fond of quoting gasoline prices of $1.80 per gallon the day President Obama took office. They fail to mention that gasoline was $4.30 a gallon just six months before and the reason for the price drop was we were losing 800,000 jobs a month and demand was cratering faster than oil companies could reduce supply. But, reduce supply they did and prices rose pretty rapidly after that.

    I've worked for oil companies. I know how they operate and the first thing everyone should know is they have no incentive to reduce the price of their products. If oil prices drop, the first reaction is to quit exploring for more. If prices continue to drop, they take steps to reduce supply. Oil is not subject to spoilage and companies will just turn off the pumps and quit producing, they will reduce refinery utilization, or shut down refineries, until they have the prices they want.

    So, absent taking another shot at Great Depression II, no president will ever preside over $1.80 gasoline again. Give up that pipe dream!

  8. Jim, Your factual and contextually accurate argument will fall on deaf ears such as Carmine and the usual crew of conservatives. They would have to admit their arguments on this issue are nonsense and they are incapable of doing this.

  9. Peacelily said: 'I agree with Michael in his stated approach of the simultaneous development of renewable energy. However, there seems to be a segment of society that doesn't see the need for such expense.'

    There are people on one side who don't want any more fossil fuel development and people on the other side who want no money spent on green energy development.

    What we need is more fossil fuel exploration,development and production here in the US and money spent not on setting up retail green energy companies, many of which fail, but instead spent of green energy 'research'.

    Michael

  10. Enjoyed the letter, Mr. Worth.

    Tea/Republicans just love to blame during this silly season before the election. Because they just LOVE to troll for gullible people who will believe the over-the-top rhetoric and vote for their useless politicians.

    They have nothing to run on except gimme, gimme, gimme, gimme, I'm not giving you anything, I just want to be in power, gimme, gimme, GIMME! but don't do anything to deserve it.

    If bananas all of a sudden had bones in them, they'd blame President Obama and his entire administration.

    The silly season is perfect for Romney and his ilk. They don't have to campaign on the truth, just play upon peoples' emotions to curry for votes.

    It's not gonna work though. Most people out here can differentiate the truth from lies. They darn sure can see the difference between @#%@ and shinola.

  11. By Pisces41,

    "Republicans are fond of quoting gasoline prices of a $1.80 per.gallon the day Pres. Obama took office.They fail to mention that gasoline was $4.30 per.gallon just six months before (under Bush).And the reason for the price drop was we were losing 800,000 jobs per. month and demand was cratering faster than the oil companies could reduce supply.But reduce supply they did and oil prices rose pretty rapidly after that".

    Great and very accurate breakdown how oil companies operate and control prices at the pump. This comes from a person who has worked for oil companies our own Jim Weber. It dosen't matter how much oil the U.S. produces it's pretty clear that oil companies will continue to control the prices so they can keep up with 10 billion quarterly profits.

    The only way to bring down oil prices is to flood the market with a over abundance of oil.As we just read the oil companies will never let this happen.

    So scream all you want about it being Pres.Obama's fault for high prices at the pump.The problem will never get fixed until we address the real issue and that is the oil companies. Who control what we pay at the pump, and ever increasing profits for them.

  12. As oil is a globally produced and traded commodity pricing for similar grades are reasonably stable worldwide at the wholesale level. Local or regional pricing variations are due to distribution costs, taxes and/or subsidies and demand. No President or Prime Minister or Dictator-for-Life has much control over wholesale pricing. In the PacNW where I live regular is $.26 in Grand Coulee and $3.92 30 miles down the road. If I drive 200 miles over the pass to Montana it gets down to $3.40. Why? Transhipment point from the pipeline to the railroad so there is a lot of storage capacity that needs to be cycled.

  13. Jumbo...everyone wants prices lower. Prices have been trending higher for decades. Everyone around the world wants a house and car. Tata has a $2500.00 car they want to sell to the masses. When I started driving in the early seventies gas was 35 cents a gallon. Today 10 times higher. When billions more folks enjoy the American dream and hit the road in Tatas the demand for oil will explode.
    We can then add gas to education and healthcare in terms of things Americans can no longer afford.

  14. Notice in my post above I put Chu's comments in parens. Just like I'm doing here now with the rest of his more recent comments backing off his comments.

    ""Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe," Chu said in an interview with the Journal in September 2008. The quote did not appear in print until December, when the Journal ran a story after news emerged that Chu was being tapped as energy secretary.

    It has been a target of criticism numerous times since then.

    "The popularity of Chu's now-infamous quotation tends to track the rise and fall of gas prices: It enjoyed a huge surge of attention last spring and summer (2011) before largely vanishing from view in the fall, leading up to this month's renaissance," reporter Bob King wrote in a story in POLITICO.

    As it happens, after Gingrich's comment, Chu backed away from what he said. At a hearing of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on March 13, 2012, Chu said, "Since I walked in the door as secretary of Energy I've been doing everything in my powers to do what we can to " reduce those prices."

    Chu added, according to POLITICO, that the "most important tool in DOE's tool chest is moving off oil."

    "So are you saying you no longer share the view that we need to figure out how to boost gasoline prices in America?" Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, asked him.

    "I no longer share that view," Chu said.

    "When I became secretary of Energy, I represented the U.S. government," Chu added. "Of course we don't want the price of gasoline to go up, we want it to go down."

    Getting back to Gingrich's portrayal of Chu's 2008 remark -- that he "has said publicly he wants us to pay European levels" -- Chu's statement was indeed public. He said it to a newspaper. And he did express a desire to raise domestic gas prices closer to those in Europe."

    CarmineD

  15. Mea culpa: Should have said quotation marks not parens. But I'm sure you got the point. I was quoting another source: Politico.

    CarmineD

  16. "I've worked for oil companies. I know how they operate and the first thing everyone should know is they have no incentive to reduce the price of their products. If oil prices drop, the first reaction is to quit exploring for more."

    This is true of all commodities like oil. There is a cost to drill for oil and if the profit doesn't warrant, they cap the wells until the profit [read price points] warrants.

    Gold is the same. At $200 an ounce, it doesn't pay to mine for new supplies. In fact, I think the break even point, cost to mine and then resell at no profit and loss, use to be $250 an ounce. Certainly, at $1800 it is very profitable to do so. No difference with oil and other commodities.

    To President Obama's credit, he signed an executive order earlier this year to increase the margin requirements on oil futures to 50 percent from zero. I gave him credit here at the time when he did. But I also mentioned that members of the GOP were advising the President to do so months before he finally did.

    CarmineD

  17. PS: One of the GOP persons telling President to increase the margin requirements on oil futures MONTHS before he did: Governor Sarah Palin.

    CarmineD

  18. Enjoy the comments so far, but I have to chime in when someone is trying to say that Sarah Palin is some kind of resident expert.

    She is not.

    She was a poor choice as a Vice President. Then she quit as Governor to pursue some kind of Tea Party brand to make herself a multi-millionaire. Failing as a reality television star, she got hired as a pundit for Fox News. A poor one at that.

    If she is a resident oil production expert, then Sheldon Adelson has no money.

    My grassroots formed organization continues.

    Called "LISP." That stands for "Let's Ignore Sarah Palin."

    Becauthe thee is thtupider than rockth. Anyone who payth attenthun to her needth their head exthamined.

  19. Sorry if I missed this above, but there is a serious reason for not depleting our resources.

    Defense of the country!

    Think of one generation sucking up all the non-renewable resources to use as they please, and leaving future generations in a desperate situation for survival as a democracy.

    There needs to be a sane energy policy that is tried to sustainability, not only of resources, but of the nation.

    Gung Ho depletion of our domestic supplies is against our defense interests.

    Regarding the remark of Stephen Chu about wanting gas prices to equal Europe, I think he was expressing the fact that we need to feel the pain before we will get serious.

    Fact is, Europeans pay their high gasoline prices, but also use their way more advanced train systems, including high speed trains.

    Some also have street cars and electric buses, both of which the American oil industry succeeded in closing down here via political lobbying a long time ago. They cut into their profits on selling gasoline and oil for autos.

    We need a good high speed rail system in the US, and Obama supports that.

    It is an essential thing for our nation to be sustainable and domestically able to handle needs in defense of our nation.

    Additionally, it can serve business and individuals business and pleasure needs, without putting an excessive demand on our resources. It is a conservative action. It is a conservation action.

    Fortunately, Obama has the vision to see the need.

  20. Carmine,

    "This is true of all commodities like oil there is a cost to drill for oil and if the profit dosen't warrent they cap the wells until the profit warrents. Gold is the same.At $200.00 an ounce,It dosen't pay to mine for new supplies".

    I agree that gold at $200.00 an ounce can't be mined for a profit.But gold is a luxury so most consumer's buy it only when they can afford to do so.Like for special occasions such as getting married (wedding rings etc.) or any number of other reasons.

    Oil on the other hand is a necessity. Everyone needs to buy gas to get to and from work in order to feed one's family.There are no choices when it comes to oil (gas).It's in demand all the time,no matter what shape the economy is in. So it's safe to say that oil companies have us over a barrel,of oil that is.

    There's a big difference between both commodities(oil and Gas). One we desperatly need to buy, the other we buy when we decide it's affordable for us to do so and not until that time.

  21. My error I should have said big difference between oil and gold,not oil and gas.

  22. Benghazi. Obama lied and people died!

  23. "There's a big difference between both commodities(oil and Gas). One we desperatly need to buy, the other we buy when we decide it's affordable for us to do so and not until that time."

    Both are commodities bought and sold on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange by US & world investors and speculators.

    CarmineD

  24. Carmine,

    "Both are commodities bought and sold on the chicago Merchantile Exchange by U.S.& world investors speculators,Oil and Gold".

    As I had said in my earlier post one (oil) we can't live without.Gold is a luxury we can live without.

    Oil companies and speculators control the world's destiny.

  25. "Gold is a luxury we can live without."

    Really? Are you sure you are a Nevadan? What percent of Nevadans' jobs and economy depend on Gold?

    CarmineD

  26. "The mineral industry has been an important
    player in Nevada's statehood and economic
    structure. From 1860 to 1890, the Comstock
    Lode in Virginia City initiated the state's mineral
    industry growth and many historians
    acknowledge the Comstock Lode for helping
    the territory of Nevada to become the state of
    Nevada. During the turn of the century, gold
    and silver mining towns, such as Tonopah and
    Goldfield, boomed along with the copper
    mining towns of Ely, Ruth and McGill. The
    second renaissance of Nevada's mineral
    industry occurred in the 1980's with the
    development of numerous large-scale gold
    mines operating in central, northern and
    eastern Nevada. There was also a revival of
    copper mining in Ely in 1996 after two decades
    of inactivity.
    Although Nevada's mining industry faces
    numerous technical and regulatory challenges,
    the industry has developed a large, efficient
    and economically viable capital base that is
    fundamentally sound and sustainable well into
    the future. This capital base has been built
    through the investment of over $10 billion in
    plant, equipment and exploration since 1980.
    This investment has primarily come from U.S.
    companies, although as the industry has
    attracted worldwide attention, it has attracted
    investment capital from all over the world.
    Largely because of this investment and
    favorable geology, Nevada has emerged as
    the third largest gold producer in the world
    behind South Mica and Australia during the
    past decade (Table 1). With 1997 gold
    production of just over 7.8 million ounces,
    Nevada accounts for 69 percent of U. S.
    production and approximately 10 percent of
    world production."

    With Gold and Silver prices at all time highs, I have to think Mr. Pizzo, that they [Gold and Silver] are among the brightest spots in Nevada and Nevadans present and future economy. More so than oil.

    CarmineD

  27. Carmine,
    At this time in our country oil is more important than gold or silver will ever be.
    Gold and silver does not effect Americans like oil does.So why go into a big deal about it. We are and have been discussing how the price of gas hurts most Americans.I think you have wandered off a bit.

  28. Mr. Pizzo:

    Last I heard and read, Nevada is in America and are Americans.

    Yes, higher gas prices hurt Americans. And I opined on the reasons that under this president the price per gallon has gone up $2. That alone is reason enough not to reelect him.

    CarmineD

  29. Carmine,

    "Under this president gas has gone up $2.00 per gal".

    Surely you must have read Pisces41 (Jim Weber) post on Oct.30,at 6:11A.M. How oil companies control prices of gas at the pump.

    You must be the only person in Nevada who really believes that Pres. Obama is the one who raised gas prices. You can't be that naive and don't believe that oil companies and speculators are responsible for higher prices at the pump.

    If this is what you do believe is true, do you also believe that six month's(2008) before Pres. Obama was sworn in as Pres. Gas prices under former Pres.G.W.Bush were $4.30 per. gal.Was Bush responsible for those price increases at that time?

  30. Bush2 is not running for President in 2012. Obama is. President Obama may not be directly responsible for gas being $2 more per gallon on his watch, but he is accountable for it.

    CarmineD