Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann was at the Fast Break Gas Station in Lino Lakes, Minnesota, Tuesday morning pumping fuel into several vehicles and highlighting the relatively high price of gas.
Bachmann told reporters that constituents who have been contacting her office are more concerned about gas prices than anything else right now.
“Just as recently as three and a half years ago, gasoline was $1.84 a gallon. We can get back down into this range again but we have to legalize American energy in order to be able to do that,” Bachmann said.
Bachmann said Democrats are to blame for the high cost of fuel and that gas would be less expensive if congressional Democrats and the White House supported Republican moves to increase domestic drilling.
“We’ve sent it [drilling legislation] over to the Democrat-controlled Senate,” said Bachmann. “And I wish that [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid would pick up that legislation, pass it and put in on President Obama’s desk so we could bring down the price of gasoline.”
Bachmann’s focus on gas prices as she seeks reelection to Congress, harkens back of her GOP presidential campaign when she promised a return to $2 per gallon gas.
“It’s a little bit silly,” said Fred Rozell, retail pricing director at the Oil Price Information Center, of Bachmann’s gas price rhetoric. “To say that President Obama’s to blame for the price going up is kind of silly,” said Rozell who noted that it was just as silly when Democrats were blaming Republican President George Bush for high gas prices.
Rozell said gas prices were low in early 2009 because of the dismal economy. “We had a financial collapse and that took the price of crude from almost $140 a barrel down to $30 a barrel,” said Rozell who added that $2 per gallon gas had nothing to do with increased supplies. “It really was just the financial meltdown that brought the prices down.”
As for today’s high prices, Rozell says stepped-up global demand is to blame as is investor speculation amid growing concern about the political stability of the Middle East. Rozell also said gas prices are high now because of seasonal costs that come from refineries switching from winter to summer fuel blends. And he said some refinery closings in the northeast added to the problem.
Rozell predicted prices won’t continue increasing much longer. “We expect them to peak relatively soon.”
Rep. Bachmann is wrapping-up the second day or her two-day energy tour throughout Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District. She is treating the tour as official congressional business, not a campaign swing.