Blog Post

Energy in the Second Debate

Oct 17, 2012 | Alan J. Krupnick

The debate last night was a disheartening display of misinformation on energy policy. One questioner asked whether the DOE should be helping to lower gasoline prices. Neither candidate answered this question. Here's the answer: The price of oil and gasoline is basically set on the world market and there is nothing the U.S. government can do about it in the short-run. What the Obama Administration has done is to lower the cost of driving in the future by raising fuel economy standards, which is more relevant to people than the price of a gallon of gasoline. They are also encouraging use of electric vehicles which take away the need for gasoline.

Both candidates trumpeted a drill baby drill policy – for oil, gas and coal. Not a word about environmental policy to reduce the externalities we still suffer from these fuels, not the least of which is CO2. Obama could have said that the go slow policy for natural gas on public lands is a consequence of wanting to get the regulation of gas exploitation right for sustainable development in the face of such a rapid growth in gas drilling. Instead both candidates defended aggressive fossil development policies without any reference to the environment.