Gas Prices Top $1-a-Gallon Higher than Year Ago; Media Don’t Blame Obama

The average price for a gallon of unleaded gasoline hit $3.86 on April 25, more than $1-a-gallon higher than a year earlier and less than 25 cents away from the record high price of gasoline set in July 2008.

In fact, per gallon prices are more than $2 higher than when Obama took office Jan. 20, 2009. Yet the president has been nearly exempt from criticism on the issue of rising prices, despite a six-month drilling moratorium and more regulatory hurdles for industry.

The Business & Media Institute found that out of the 280 oil price stories the network evening shows have aired since the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, only 1 percent (3 stories) mentioned Obama’s drilling ban or other anti-oil actions in connection with gasoline prices.

Instead of asking whether Obama's anti-oil policies could be increasing the cost of gas, the networks blamed other factors such as Mideast turmoil or the "money game" played by speculators. Certainly, the turmoil in Libya, Egypt and surrounding nations has increased worries about oil production and can influence the price. But the networks also should have looked for explanations much closer to home, like Obama’s many regulatory actions taken against the oil industry.

First there was the drilling ban, which was later overturned by federal courts as illegal. Seahawk Drilling, a Texas-based shallow-water drilling company cited that moratorium as the cause of its bankruptcy filing saying, they “have been adversely affected by the dramatic slowdown in the issuing of shallow-water permits in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico following the Macondo well blowout.”

According to The Heritage Foundation, the Obama administration moved on to a de facto moratorium after the ban was overturned. Add to that the EPA’s desire to regulate the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions and new environmental regulatory hurdles for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport crude from Canada to the U.S. and create many American jobs.

Despite all of these actions on the part of the Obama administration, ABC, CBS and NBC evening news shows have barely mentioned them in stories about rising gas prices.

Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour
Julia A. Seymour is the Assistant Managing Editor for the MRC's Business and Media Institute.