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April 08, 2012

Of Gas Prices and Unintended Consequences

Though he would like really like us to forget it, Obama's energy plans included a steep rise in the cost of conventional energy — like coal.

"I was the first to call for a 100 percent auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter," Obama continued. "That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.

"So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted."

But Cap and trade never happened.  By fortunate happenstance, emails from the University of East Anglia's Climate Research Unit were leaked to the public, creating massive doubt about global warming.  The public was not ready for any extraordinary new taxation schemes based on doubtful theories, no matter how popular they were with the press. 

Though cap and trade fell by the wayside, Obama was not about to be deterred.  He unleashed the EPA.

WASHINGTON — Taking aim at the gases that the vast majority of scientists say are the main contributor to climate change, the Obama administration proposed rules limiting carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants, a move that could essentially bar new coal-fired electric generation facilities.

Coal is just one example of of how Obama's energy policy was supposed to work.  Other non-green energy sources, like oil,  would be hit just as hard.

Reviewing a host of recent studies, Buckley and Mityakov show that estimates of job losses attributable to cap-and-trade range in the hundreds of thousands. The price for energy paid by the American consumer also will rise. The studies reviewed showed electricity prices jumping 5-15% by 2015, natural gas prices up 12-50% by 2015, and gasoline prices up 9-145% by 2015.

Lately the president has been bragging about an increase in U.S. domestic oil production, but he is responsible for none of it.   Issuance of oil drilling permits have declined under the Obama administration.

When the president says he is opening up millions of acres for drilling exploration in the United States, Cavuto says you might want to thank the previous presidents instead, including Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. According to the Bureau of Land Management, the current administration has actually decreased approval of drilling permits by 36 percent.

Let's not forget the Obama administration's drilling ban in the Gulf of Mexico following the BP oil spill.  A federal judge overturned it, but the administration kept it in place, anyway.

Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) – - The Obama Administration acted in contempt by continuing its deepwater drilling moratorium after the policy was struck down, a New Orleans judge ruled.

Interior Department regulators acted with “determined disregard” by lifting and reinstituting a series of policy changes that restricted offshore drilling, following the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, U.S. District Judge, Martin Feldman of New Orleans ruled yesterday.

Can anyone be surprised that gas prices are up?  I think it's safe to say, that's what Obama had in mind when he took office, so let's give the man credit for keeping his eye on the big green ball.  It just hasn't all worked out the way he thought it would.  The green economy was supposed to create millions of green jobs.

[I]n an effort to force the pace at which this utopian green vision will become reality, tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer money are being shoveled into a wide range of frequently speculative technologies and even individual companies in the form of grants, loan guarantees, tax credits etc.

Precisely because the vision of “millions of green jobs” now equates to billions of dollars in grants and subsidies to support their development, all sorts of organizations with heavily vested interests in encouraging taxpayer support for green job development are conducting “research” on the topic and delivering projections of how many “green” jobs will be created if a certain set of public policies is implemented. Needless to say, the definition of a “green” job has been stretched every which way to suit the particular needs of whatever organization is doing the “research”. This has led to some quite  extraordinary projections and statistics.

Bottom line: The millions of green jobs haven't materialized.  In fact it's hard to see evidence of a recovery after 3-plus years of Obama's energy policies.  Why is that, you may ask.  Maybe it has something to do with the price of a gallon of gas.  Cars run on gas.

Paul Sayler, sales manager at Milbank Ford & Mercury Inc., a car dealership in Milbank, S.D., said he is seeing "tremendous traffic" of customers looking to buy new cars. Two weeks ago, his 11-person firm held a meeting to decide whether to ramp up hiring to meet the demand. But they decided against it.

"I'm a pessimist," the 37-year-old Mr. Sayler said. He worries that rising gasoline prices will eventually snuff out demand for cars the way it did in 2008. "Obviously we're hoping that doesn't happen."

File this one under "Hazards of Getting What You Wished For."

Posted by Tom Bowler at 08:35 AM | Permalink

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