Mad About High Gas Prices? Then Chu On This

March 1, 2012

As pump prices hit $4 a gallon, Energy Secretary Steven Chu admits the administration has no interest in bringing them down. Is it any wonder Democrats are growing increasingly agitated with this White House?

At a hearing this week, Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss., specifically asked Chu if “the overall goal” of the administration is to “get our price down.” Chu’s answer was no.

In fact, he said that “somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” which are in the neighborhood of $8 a gallon.

No, wait. That’s what Chu said about gasoline prices back in 2008, shortly before he took the Energy Department’s helm. What he really said was “the price of gasoline over the long haul should be expected to go up.”

Oops! That’s what Chu said last year when asked about gasoline prices. Here’s his answer: He “would have preferred a gradual increase” in prices.

Darn! That was Barack Obama talking about energy costs during his presidential run.

Chu’s actual answer fits right in with this mold. No, he said, the overall goal of the Obama administration is not to get prices down; the overall goal is “to decrease our dependency on oil.”

This has been a mantra of Obama’s for years: There’s nothing anyone can do about gasoline prices, so the only option is to find “alternative” fuel sources.

It’s total bunk. Recoverable oil has never been more plentiful, as the industry finds new sources and develops new drilling technologies. The oil boom in North Dakota is proof enough of that.

In fact, according to the Institute for Energy Research, there’s enough oil within our borders to supply our fuel needs for 250 years.

The problem is the country has put itself in an energy straight-jacket, in deference to environmental groups who challenge any and every effort to tap new oil supplies.

This situation predates Obama, but the fact is he’s done nothing to reverse it and much to make it worse. Indeed, he gives every indication of relishing high gasoline prices, since they help power his environmentalist agenda.

But now even some Democrats — sensing a political disaster in the making — are starting to put pressure on the president to confront pump prices head-on. That’s unlikely to happen, at least not as long as Obama keeps taking advice from Secretary Chu.

IBD

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Chu Blows It: Obama Energy Chief Bombshell Admission on Gas Prices

February 29, 2012

The Energy Department isn’t working to lower gasoline prices directly, Secretary Steven Chu said Tuesday after a Republican lawmaker scolded him for his now-infamous 2008 comment that gas prices in the U.S. should be as high as in Europe.

Instead, DOE is working to promote alternatives such as biofuels and electric vehicles, Chu told House appropriators during a hearing on DOE’s budget.

But Americans need relief now, Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) said — not high gasoline prices that could eventually push them to alternatives.

“I can’t look at motivations. I have to look at results. And under this administration the price of gasoline has doubled,” Nunnelee told Chu.

“The people of north Mississippi can’t be here, so I have to be here and be their voice for them,” Nunnelee added. “I have to tell you that $8 a gallon gasoline makes them afraid. It’s a cruel tax on the people of north Mississippi as they try to go back and forth to work. It’s a cloud hanging over economic development and job creation.”

Chu expressed sympathy but said his department is working to lower energy prices in the long term.

“We agree there is great suffering when the price of gasoline increases in the United States, and so we are very concerned about this,” said Chu, speaking to the House Appropriations energy and water subcommittee. “As I have repeatedly said, in the Department of Energy, what we’re trying to do is diversify our energy supply for transportation so that we have cost-effective means.”

Chu specifically cited a reported breakthrough announced Monday by Envia Systems, which received funding from DOE’s ARPA-E, that could help slash the price of electric vehicle batteries.

He also touted natural gas as “great” and said DOE is researching how to reduce the cost of compressed natural gas tanks for vehicles.

High gasoline prices will make research into such alternatives more urgent, Chu said.

“But is the overall goal to get our price” of gasoline down, asked Nunnelee.

“No, the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil, to build and strengthen our economy,” Chu replied. “We think that if you consider all these energy policies, including energy efficiency, we think that we can go a long way to becoming less dependent on oil and [diversifying] our supply and we’ll help the American economy and the American consumers.”


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