Who gets the credit for lower gas prices?

If you own a car and you live in the U.S., you might have noticed that gasoline prices have fallen quite a lot recently. A few months ago Republicans in Congress were sure that high gas prices were the fault of President Obama. For example, on March 13, Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming insisted that Obama was “fully responsible for what the American public is paying for gasoline.”

Moreover, none other than the Senate Minority Leader himself, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, said on February 28, “This President will go to any length to drive up gas prices and pave the way for his ideological agenda.” Goodness gracious, a conspiracy.

You might think that Senators Barrasso and McConnell would now be praising the president for seeing the error of his ways and single-handedly lowering gasoline prices, but for some reason the subject no longer seems to interest them.

Incidentally, some Democrats actually have credited the president with lowering gasoline prices by taking steps to raise margin requirements on oil speculation. While that’s a good thing to do, it’s doubtful that it explains the recent price drop. The truth is that the president has next to no influence over energy prices except to some extent over the very long term.

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