Obama and the gas trap

Continetti is guest-blogging for The Post.

Gas prices have reached an average of $4 per gallon in Washington. In Northern Virginia, where I live, a gallon of gas is also around $4. The last time gas prices were this high — 2008, in case you’ve forgotten — the incumbent party badly lost a presidential election. What caused prices to fall? The worst recession since the 1930s.

Welcome to the gas trap: As prices increase, Obama’s job approval will fall. But the only way prices will fall is another recession — in which case Obama’s job approval will fall, too.

Is there any escape? Well, gas prices tend to be low when the dollar is strong. But the administration is pursuing a weak dollar policy to boost exports. So that’s out.

Another option: Increase supply. But that’s a long-term solution. If the president got serious about permitting offshore wells and opening up new continental lands to drilling, the payoff would take a while. If we had been more aggressive in drilling offshore and in Alaska a decade ago, there would be more domestic supply today. Oops!

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