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It is hard to miss the glee in the media and political establishment at the rise of the President’s popularity rating to a minus (3.4) percent. Buoyed by the uptick the President is encouraged to ignore the shellacking taken in a hard fought election, in which, by his own words, his policies were on the ballot.

Politicians taking credit for positive developments of which they are not responsible is a given. Although dated, the chart below demonstrates outside the period from 1986 to 2000, when real gasoline prices were stable, Presidential approval ratings closely follow gas prices. For some of the public the correlation is simple: gasoline prices low=good, Obama=President, therefore Obama=good.

Presidential approval gas prices

Source: Gallup and U.S. Energy Information Administration

However when politicians take credit for developments they actively tried to avert, they need to be called out for hypocrisy.   The President’s choice for energy secretary, Steven Chu, is on record saying,      “Somehow, we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” I guess incompetency is not always bad.

This administration’s quest to limit the supply of oil had been more than talk—remember the federal government owns 40% of the land in the country. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports U.S. oil production on federal lands has fallen from 33.8 percent in 2009 to 23 percent in 2013 for total U.S. production. Natural gas production on federal lands has reached a low of 15.2 percent down from 24.9 in five years.

Gas prices are low despite the administration’s efforts because oil production on non-federal lands has increased 61% from 2009 and natural gas production has increased 33 percent.

“The CRS report clearly shows that where the federal government has the most control, on federal lands, it is suppressing development of the energy that all Americans own while preventing job creation and economic prosperity,” said Tim Wigley, president of Western Energy Alliance.

In their quest to drive up the price of oil by limiting supply, U.S. environmental groups supporting the President have received at least $23 million from a Bermudan company. According to documents filed in Bermuda, Klein, Ltd. was incorporated in 2011 “exclusively for philanthropic purposes”, but the company is run by executives with ties to Russian oil interests.

Beside virtually killing the coal industry and using the EPA to hamper horizontal drilling, the administration continues to oppose the Keystone pipeline, a project using private investment.

It is interesting to note that without the pipeline much of the oil is transported by rail, although railroads are much less energy efficient. Railroads which hauled 9,500 carloads of crude oil in 2008, hauled 435,560 in 2013.

According to Burlington National Santa Fe(BNSF) railroad, BNSF is moving a dozen oil trains through eastern Nebraska each week, compared to three trains a week last summer. BNSF, owned by a Warren Buffett company, stands to benefit immensely from the President’s rejection of permits for the Keystone Pipeline. BNSF, which Buffett purchased four years ago for $34 billion, by the industry average value-to-EBIDTA ratio should be worth around $100 billion today. Multi-Billionaire Buffett continues to be a staunch supporter of the President.

As the President laments increasing income inequality, Hillary Clinton admits she hasn’t driven a car since 1996. Oh, the political benefits of lower gas prices we embrace, while our policies attempt to negate.

In Mr. Buffett’s defense he says he does not oppose the keystone pipeline……wink, wink……


Have a fulfilling and profitable day,

W C (Bill) Augustine, author of Atlas Rising

“For the Common Good” to be released in February

21 Responses

  1. Steven Page

    Buffet has his ducks in a row when it comes to blocking Keystone using his money to pay Envrio nazis to help block along with with his DC lobby money.Buffet wants to make sure his rail stock Takes no beating !

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