How Much Can the White House Do About Gas Prices?

Gasoline prices are likely to be a major factor in this year's presidential campaign. But it's questionable how much the Oval Office can really do to influence the cost of a barrel of oil.

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney regularly blames President Obama’s veto of the Keystone XL Pipeline and moratorium on offshore drilling for high prices at the pump. The president counters by pointing to the dramatic increase in domestic oil production on his watch.

“There’s not a lot that any White House can do in the short term about gasoline prices.”

Daniel Yergin is chairman of energy research firm IHS CERA and author of The Quest.

“They’re primarily set in the world market, depend upon supply and demand and perceptions about security and risk and so forth.”

Yergin says the biggest factor affecting global oil supplies right now is the rise in U.S. production, up about a million barrels a day since 2008. He says without that, the price of gas would be much higher than it is now. Yergin credits private sector adoption of new technologies for the production boom.


Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas delegations in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as the Texas governorship, the state legislature, and county and city governments. Before taking up his current post, Andrew...

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