Obama Supported Higher Gas Prices in 2008, but Now? ‘I Want to Get Gas Prices Lower’

Fred Lucas | March 7, 2012 | 11:16am EST
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(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama mocked a suggestion that he wants higher gasoline prices during an election year, although as a candidate in 2008 he suggested that higher prices might be desirable if there was a “gradual adjustment.”

During a news conference Tuesday, Fox News reporter Ed Henry asked Obama, “Your critics on Capitol Hill will say that you want gas prices to go higher because you have said before that will wean the American people off fossil fuels on to renewable fuels. How do you respond to that?”

Obama dismissed the question as ridiculous:

“Just from a political perspective, do you think a president of the United States going into reelection wants gas prices to go up higher? Is there anybody here who thinks that makes a lot of sense?” Obama asked.

“Here’s the bottom line with respect to gas prices: I want to get gas prices lower because they hurt families, because I meet folks everyday who have to drive a long way to get to work and them filling up this gas tank gets more and more painful and is a tax out of their pocketbooks -- out of their paychecks,” the president said. “A lot of folks are already operating on the margins right now, and it’s not good for the overall economy because when gas prices go up, consumer spending often times pulls back.

“We’re in the midst right now of a recovery that is starting to build up steam, and we don’t want to reverse it,” Obama continued. “What I have also said about gas prices is that there is no silver bullet, and the only way we are going to solve this over the medium- and long-term is with an all-of-the-above strategy.”

The national average price of gas Tuesday was $3.76, according to AAA.

On June 10, 2008 in an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood, then-candidate Barack Obama said, Well, I think that we have been slow to move in a better direction when it comes to energy usage. And the president, frankly, hasn't had an energy policy. And as a consequence, we've been consuming energy as if it's infinite. We now know that our demand is badly outstripping supply with China and India growing as rapidly as they are.”

Asked if high gasoline prices would help, Obama answered, “I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment. The fact that this is such a shock to American pocketbooks is not a good thing.”

Also in 2008, Stephen Chu, who became Obama’s Energy secretary, was quoted as saying, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”

Four days ago, in his Saturday radio address, President Obama said, "There's no silver bullet for avoiding spikes in gas prices every year."

He touted the fuel-efficiency as a partial solution:

“Thanks to new fuel efficiency standards we put in place, (Detroit is) building cars that will average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade. That’s almost double what they get today. That means folks will be able to fill up every two weeks instead of every week, saving the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump over time.

"That’s a big deal, especially as families are yet again feeling the pinch from rising gas prices.”

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