Op-Ed: Gas prices are lower than expected, but is that really something to celebrate?

It was set to be a record-breaking summer.  Experts across the country were calling for some of the highest gas prices ever and many estimated that more people than ever in our history would pay more than $5.00 per gallon of gas.

Then, suddenly, prices started to level off a back in April – even started falling slightly.  In fact, gas prices were about 17 cents cheaper on Tuesday, May 15th than they were the month before.

This doesn’t just mean a relief from pain at the pump for American families.  It also means that consumers will have more money to spend, boosting the economy.  Not to mention that when gas prices are cheaper, the price of goods and services will remain lower because companies have to spend less money to make and ship those goods and services.

The liberal media and president are saying we have avoided a crisis and are lauding the fact that gas prices have stabilized.  But is this really something to celebrate?

Well, it depends on how you look at it.  While we can all breathe a sigh of relief that gas prices have not hit the expected record highs this summer, they are still pretty high.  On Tuesday, May 15th, the average price of a gallon of gas was $3.73.  The week President Obama took office, the national average for a gallon of gas was $1.92.  That means that in the less than four years since he’s taken office, gas prices have risen almost 100 percent – up $1.81 a gallon.   So when we expect gas prices to hit almost $5.00 and they instead rise to $3.73, the president wants to convince the American people that’s a great thing.  But an almost 100 percent increase in the cost of a gallon of gas under President Obama is certainly not something to celebrate.

This reminds me a lot of a friend of mine and his dog.  While visiting my friend a while back, I noticed that rather than reward his dog with a dog treat or a toy when the dog did something good, he rewarded him with an ice cube.  He told me he was spending so much on dog treats that he had to wean the dog off the treats and slowly replaced them with the ice cube.  After a while, the dog has come to think the ice cube is an actual treat.  “When he doesn’t know any better, an ice cube is a treat to him.”

Well I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the president’s ‘ice cube’ view of the world.  Since he’s taken office, unemployment has stuck above 8 percent since February 2009 (right after the president was sworn into office) and we have had record high gas prices.  People have gotten used to this and have accepted it as the new ‘norm.’  This is exactly what the president wants – that way when we see a slight drop in either, he claims credit for it and hails it as a victory and a reason to celebrate.  I don’t know about you, but I just don’t buy it.

And neither do a lot of other people.  In fact, these ‘lower’ gas prices are not expected to encourage more people to travel over the Memorial Day weekend.  According to a recent report,

“Economists and tourism experts are expecting only a small uptick in summer travelers. Gas prices are lower, but still high enough to keep some Americans off the road. The job market is improving, but still shaky. And household debt remains high.  Those who do travel won’t feel free to splurge. The bulk of road trippers, experts say, will take shorter trips and reduce food and entertainment spending to conserve cash.”

Guess this isn’t really such a big celebration after all.  Many of you will be traveling over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. When you go to the pump and pay more than $60.00 to fill your tank, you can decide whether you think that’s something to celebrate.

Next week I will talk about our country’s greatest energy resource – coal – and how the president’s policies towards our abundant resources will mean higher utility rates for you.  I encourage you to visit my website each week to check out the latest edition of Power the Nation.


About Lynn Westmoreland 1 Article
Lynn Westmoreland was born and raised in Georgia, living more than 25 years in Fayette County before moving to his current residence in Coweta County. In 2004, Lynn was elected to the United States House of Representatives for Georgia's Eighth Congressional District.