File this one under 'wishful thinking'. In a campaign speech, GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann -- now considered a front-runner after finishing first in the influential Iowa straw poll -- explained that if she were in charge, she'd bring the price of gas down under $2 a gallon. She boasted to the audience, as you can see in the above Politico video, that ""Under President Bachmann, you will see gasoline come down below $2 a gallon again. That will happen."No, it won't.
Right now, the average cost of gasoline is $3.58 per gallon.Even if she managed to prevent the renewal of our relatively tiny national gas tax (it expires this year, and some Tea Partiers are zeroing in on it), she'd only manage to shave off something like 38 cents of the cost per gallon.
And then, even if her second act as president was to open up every single viable region around the nation, all of Alaska's coastline, the entire Gulf of Mexico, and so on, she'd still only manage to bring the price of gas down a few more cents per gallon -- and that's after a few years of exploration, development, and distribution.
In short, there's nothing a president can do to immediately significantly alter the price of gasoline, since it is first and foremost determined by the global oil market (that's why domestic drilling has a relatively minor impact). He or she could propose new taxes or eliminate old ones, but they'd have to pass Congress first. Bachmann may be misunderstanding the powers of the U.S. president, but the ability to rearrange global oil prices to one's liking is not part of the job description. As Lloyd has pointed out before, Bachmann has long held delusional views on gas prices -- taking credit for near-$2 gas in Minnesota after prices had plummeted due to the global recession.
I should also hit on, briefly, the fact that despite the allure of promising super-low gas prices to Americans who are smack dab in the middle of the recession, getting rid of the paltry tax we have on it would be disastrous. It's already minuscule compared to most other developed nations, and is the largest source of infrastructure funding we've got. To kill it would be to hasten the demise of our already-crumbling bridges, roads, and highways. $2 gas would also lead to distinctly un-green consumer behavior, as there'd be little incentive to purchase fuel efficient vehicles. In short, it's a totally unrealistic benchmark that's not worth shooting for anyways.
Join me in the good green fight. Follow me on Twitter, and check out The Utopianist.
More on Michele Bachmann
Michele Bachmann : Abolish the EPA (Video)
Michele Bachmann Tells Citizens to Get "Armed And Dangerous" About Climate Change