First, let's make it clear that what we're really talking about is the change in oil prices. The price of a gallon of gasoline is based on commodity pricing for oil.

Here's a historical chart of the average price of gas in the US:

(source: gasbuddy.com)

...and here's the price of oil over roughly the same time period:

(source: tradingcharts.com)

The price of oil -- and thus, gas -- increased steadily during the Bush administration (as gas and oil prices do... this is nothing out of the ordinary. After peaking in mid-2008 (when gas reached $4.21 a gallon, or $4.40 adjusted for inflation), the worldwide oil market crashed, taking the price of gas down with it. After hitting a low point in December, the oil market returned to normal growth. Oil pricing increased at approximately the same rate as it did during the Bush administration until the middle of 2011, when it leveled out, and it's been statistically level since.

Liberals have used these data to assert the following:

  • Gas pricing is based on oil pricing -- and the presidential administration has little control over the global commodity pricing for oil (they claim that it is more dependent on the free market).
  • The crashing price of oil in late 2008 was a symptom of the worldwide economic crash.
  • As the economy has recovered worldwide, so has the price of gas. In fact, Obama made this very claim during the 2nd Presidential debate.

Here's how to counter these arguments:

It is possible for a presidential administration to affect the price of gasoline.

Simply look at the prices payed by the citizens of oil-rich Mexico ($2.97 a gallon) and Venezuela ($0.05 per gallon).

It's not enough to pump oil domestically, of course. The United States produces a great deal of it, but the US oil industry sets pricing based on worldwide demand. That is, if Chevron can earn a certain price by exporting a gallon of oil, they'll take that price above a lower price offered domestically.

This is the effect of the free market economy, and Chevron is doing what any capitalist, profit-driven company will do. Chevron (and every other oil company) owes it to its shareholders to make as much money as possible.

President Romney can shake things up by offering tax incentives to domestic oil companies to keep their oil in the United States. It's simple: if an oil company sells its product domestically for $46 a gallon (about the price necessary for gas that's $2.00 a gallon or less), they get a tax incentive against the money they lose by selling it at the current spot market price.

Rising prices are normal, and part of a growing economy.

The slope of rising oil prices during most of the Bush administration is testament to this fact.

This isn't to say that the economy was growing from 2008 until 2011, before gas and oil prices levelled off -- at least, not in the US. That was simply a correction from the crash of 2008.

But the levelling off of gas prices since 2011 (we are paying the same price for gas today as we were in March of 2011) is an indicator that the economy is stalling.

A Romney victory will have an immediate positive effect on the economy, so we can expect a temporary increase in the price of gas. But with quick action by Romney and a Republican-controlled congress to implement pricing controls on the oil industry, they can reverse this and get us back to the $2.00 per gallon pricing we enjoyed during those magical few months in late 2008.

Mexico and Venezuela provide low gas prices for their citizens through government ownership of the oil industry. We don't have to go that far -- we'll just take our oil production out of the free market by implementing price controls.

Obama could have done this when he took office, and locked pricing at sub-$2.00 levels. But instead of regulating the oil industry, he chose to try to regulate the health industry. And today, we are all paying the price.

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