Can the president control gas prices?

Author's Note

While gas prices might be a controversial topic for politicians, it's an easy one for economists. Virtually all economists agree that the U.S. president has very little control over the global price of crude oil, and therefore the local price of gasoline. If we can't rely on our leaders to help lower our fuel costs, we should rely on ourselves. The hard truth is that it's within our power to decrease the amount we spend on gas simply by driving less. I say it's a hard truth, because like most of you I depend on my car for all sorts of "important" things and resist the idea of cutting back. If I could afford a brand new hybrid, I'd buy one in a heartbeat. In the meantime, the best thing I can do to lower gas prices is to lower the demand, one "staycation" at a time.

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  • Laskoski, Gregg. U.S. News and World Report. "The Strategic Petroleum Reserve Won't Help Obama With Gas Prices." March 21, 2012 (May 16, 2012)
  • The New York Times. "Tapping the Oil Reserve." June 25, 2011 (May 16, 2012)
  • Sommer, Jeff. The New York Times. "Gas Price Disparity Seems Here to Stay." March 10, 2012 (May 16, 2012)
  • Thaler, Richard. The New York Times. "Why Gas Prices Are Out of Any President's Control." March 31, 2012 (May 16, 2012)
  • The U.S. Energy Information Administration. "What's up (and down) with gasoline prices?" February 14, 2012 (May 16, 2012)
  • Yetiv, Steve. The Christian Science Monitor. "Why Obama can't control gas prices." April 18, 2012 (May 16, 2012)