Prices at the pump have increased 34 consecutive days (as of Feb. 21) to a national average of $3.77 a gallon, according to AAA. A Feb. 21 report by Fox News indicates that gasoline prices were $1.90 a gallon when George W. Bush took office. Nearly 1,500 days into their presidencies, gas prices increased by 27.5 percent under Bush but 104 percent under Barack Obama.
Energy analysts are warning of record prices in 2013 and motorists could see a $5 national average later this year. In California, prices at the pump are already exceeding the $5 per gallon threshold in big cities such as San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles. To see prices in your city, use this app.
House members in Congress are renewing pressure on the Obama administration to approve the Keystone XL pipeline. TransCanada argues that their $7 billion project would immediately create at least 20,000 jobs (most in construction) while flowing 900,000 barrels of tar sands crude per day into refining facilities in Texas.
Additionally, proponents argue that approval of the pipeline helps the environment since the alternative would mean shipping Canada's oil to China where there is less environmental regulations and lower emissions standards.
High gasoline prices are affecting consumer decisions in the marketplace, according to a February 2012 poll by tommorowsgaspricetoday.com. When motorists were asked their most important criteria for purchasing a new vehicle, 51.4 percent of respondents answered "fuel economy". At 25.7 percent, "reliability/warranty" came at a distant second.
On Wednesday, Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, installed a "Keystone clock" on his website which tallies the number of days in which the administration has blocked construction of the 1,700-mile tar sands oil pipeline from Canada. As of Feb. 21, the clock counts 1,616 days.
In November 2011, the U.S. State Department had said that it would delay its decision on the $7 billion project until 2013. It is widely believed that Obama ordered the delay in order to get support from the environmental lobby and green voters in last year's elections.
At the time, Obama said:
Because this permit decision could affect the health and safety of the American people as well as the environment, and because a number of concerns have been raised through a public process, we should take the time to ensure that all questions are properly addressed and all the potential impacts are properly understood.
Forecasters are seeing strong demand for crude in China and India whose combined population now exceeds 2.6 billion, according to the World Bank. Thus, American motorists are competing for limited oil supply with Asia. China alone saw its number of vehicles triple in the last three years. Furthermore, the Chinese auto market is expected to triple to 40 million cars by 2020, according to Financial Times.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, motorists pay 13 percent in taxes for regular gasoline. About 68 percent in final prices are used to pay for raw crude.
In April 2012, business tycoon Donald Trump accused the president of making a secret oil deal with OPEC in order to increase his chances for re-election. Nine months ago, gas prices had soared to $4 a gallon in several metropolitan areas.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Trump said "Oil prices are going right through the roof. I have no doubt in my mind that President Obama made a deal with the Saudis to flood the market with oil before the elections so he can at least keep it down a little bit."
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