Thursday, February 23, 2012 at 11:53 a.m.
Allen West is outraged that it's so expensive to keep gasoline in his car. It cost him $70 last night, he posted on Facebook today.
Seventy bucks! An outrage! An aberration! Sarcasm aside, that's a TON of money to be paying for gas. Especially since West drives such a compact, fuel-efficient... Hummer.
Yes, the congressman is upset that it's expensive to fill up his 2008 Hummer H3, which has a 23-gallon gas tank
and gets 15 miles per gallon on a good day.
It's all part of the GOP's national message, though -- Speaker of the House John Boehner told Republicans to make gas prices an issue over the Presidents' Day recess, and West is doing his best. He also bemoaned President Obama's oil policies at yesterday's town hall, pointing to gas prices that have shot up drastically since Obama took office.
Florida's a good state to make that argument too -- national gas prices have been on the rise since the beginning of the year, and South Florida prices have consistently been around 20 cents higher
than the national average, according to gasbuddy.com. But it's hard to sympathize with a guy who could reduce his fuel costs by purchasing literally any vehicle not tested for spaceflight.
West said at the town hall yesterday that Obama needed to encourage American energy producers to increase production to drive prices down, but that's simply not the case -- a McClatchy article from Tuesday outlines how speculators, not regulators, are mostly to blame
for the surge in gas prices. The story also says the United States produces more than half of the oil it consumes, and an NPR report from yesterday
said 2011's U.S. oil output was an eight-year high. Under Obama, the number of U.S. drilling rigs has quadrupled.
The bottom line is that while Republicans are ganging up on Obama for rising prices, it's not all about the Keystone XL pipeline -- there's no one way to reduce prices on a commodity traded on a global scale. Well, except driving something other than a Hummer.