GOP Senator Criticizes Obama for Keeping a Campaign Promise to Send Gas Prices ‘Skyrocketing’

Christopher Goins | March 1, 2012 | 12:04pm EST
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Sen. John Thune (R.-S.D.) (AP photo/Alex Brandon)

Washington ( The chairman of the Senate Republican Conference said Wednesday that of all the campaign promises President Obama made leading up to the 2008 election, rising gasoline prices may be the one promise he kept.

“It may be the one issue where the president of the United States has kept a campaign promise because on his watch, since January 2009, gas prices have doubled,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.).

“At that time they were $1.85 a gallon. They are now over $3.70 a gallon average nationwide and continue to go up. In fact, today marks the 24th straight day that gas prices in this country have increased.”

Thune made his remarks on Capitol Hill alongside Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and John Hoeven (R-N.D.). They called the press conference to criticize the Obama administration for not attempting to lower gas prices.

Senator Thune recalled that Obama, as a presidential candidate, told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2008 that “electricity prices will necessarily skyrocket” under his plan to implement cap and trade.

“Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it -- whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers,” Obama said at the time.

And at a House Appropriations Committee hearing on Tuesday, Energy Secretary Steven Chu was asked by Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) if the overall goal of the Department of Energy (DOE) is to reduce gasoline prices. “No, the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil,” Chu replied.

“Now when I say the president’s policies are making it worse -- is because he has no plan. He has no policy other than to block access to areas of domestic production here in the United States,” Thune said.

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“When the president says he’s for ‘all of the above,’ we’re flattered because they say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” Thune said. “But what he really means is ‘none of the above.’”

Thune also noted Obama’s opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline, Arctic drilling, and off-shore production in the Gulf of Mexico. Obama’s also been criticized for failing to streamline the cumbersome permit process for oil drilling.

Republicans says the energy proposals that Obama opposes are part of the solution – what the call a “real all-of-the-above-strategy” to help lower prices in the US.

According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, in January 2009, the average price for a gallon of gasoline was $1.83. In January 2012, the average gallon of gas had jumped to $3.44—an 87.9 percent increase.  And now, just two months later, the AAA says the average price for a gallon of regular gasoline in the United States is $3.73.

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