Reality Check: Rep. Michele Bachmann’s Gas Claims

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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ST. PAUL (WCCO) — United State Rep. Michele Bachmann has hit the campaign trail, campaigning for re-election to her 6th District Congressional seat.

On Tuesday, she invited reporters to watch her pump gas at a suburban Twin Cities convenience store, and blamed President Obama for near-record high gas prices.

“Just as recently as 3 1/2 years ago, gas was $1.94 a gallon. Today, it is $3.94 a gallon,” said Bachmann, who suspended her presidential campaign in January. “We’ve seen a tremendous 110 percent increase in gas prices that has had a definite impact on people’s lifestyle.”

However, blaming the president — or any president — for the cost of gasoline is QUESTIONABLE.

Gas prices WERE $1.84 a gallon when Obama took office, and $3.94 now.

It happened to President George W. Bush, too.

Gas prices WERE $1.51 when Bush took office, and a record high $4.12 in 2008.

It’s great politics for sure, but it’s evidence Presidents cannot control oil prices.

That’s NOT THE WHOLE STORY.

U.S. net oil imports are the lowest they’ve been in years, and domestic production is up.

In 2006, the U.S. imported five million barrels a day, and 4.1 million in 2011.

Top 5 Oil Exporters To The U.S.:
Canada – 25 percent
Saudi Arabia – 12 percent
Nigeria – 11 percent
Venezuela – 10 percent
Mexico – 9 percent

Bachmann is promising $1.84 a gallon if the U.S. allows oil drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge and loosens permitting laws for oil and natural gas drilling, including on federal lands.

“If we legalize American energy production, we will have the resources that we need at the prices people can afford,” she said.
 
Many Democrats complain that it’s unfair to blame Obama for the high cost of gas, and they may be right. However, it’s exactly what Democrats did to Republican President Bush when gas prices went up, including the then Senator Obama.

Economists say it is not politicians, but the world oil markets that set the price at the pump.

Americans don’t seem to care. A March 2012 CBS News poll found that 54 percent of Americans blame Obama for high gas prices.

Reality Check Sources:
What Causes Oil Price Hikes?
U.S. Oil Imports by Year
Percentage of U.S. Oil Imports
Gas Prices By Year
U.S. Domestic Oil Production
Poll: Who’s Fault is High Gas Prices?
Democrats Blame President Bush For High Gas Prices

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