The Road We Really Traveled

by Gerri Willis

An exciting event tonight: the premiere of the 17-minute documentary about President Obama’s first three years in office: 'The Road We Traveled'.

It's narrated by academy-award-winner Tom Hanks.

Here's the trailer: http://youtu.be/NXtJhLUOFXE

Stirring stuff, huh?

Three years later, and all the Administration's got to show is 17 minutes of accomplishments?

That's shorter than a sitcom without the commercials.

Makes you wonder how much footage they had to leave on the cutting room floor.

Here are the President's three major achievements you won't hear in tonight's movie.

I call it, “The Road We Really Traveled.”

When President Obama took office, unemployment was 7.8 percent. It rose to 10 before now settling at 8.3 percent.

Remember his administration said the stimulus would keep unemployment under 8 percent.

The great recession killed more than eight million jobs.

They say we're years into the recovery now, but we've only gotten two million jobs back.

That's a six million job deficit.

Thanks.

The President's next major accomplishment? Passing Obamacare.

A landmark case of government overreach, one that puts the entire U.S. health care system as we know it at risk. Your healthcare decided by Washington bureaucrats, not your doctor.

I'll have more details on how the costs are spiraling out of control later in the show.

And accomplishment number three: more than doubling the price of gas.

Yes, doubled.

You wouldn't think that would be possible to do to a vital commodity, but when you believe in hope and change, when you want to force Americans to buy unproven electric cars, when you "just say no" to American drilling, that's what you get.

Congratulations, Mr. Obama.

I'm sure your new movie will be a real blockbuster.

Now, if you could just stop busting America’s recovery, I’d be grateful.

What's Really Behind Rising Gas Prices

by Gerri Willis

I was talking to my mother last night about what else? Gas prices.

She pays $3.77 a gallon in her small mountain town in the North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, and thinks she's being price gouged. Well this weekend, I paid $4.19 a gallon in a suburb of New York.

Both of us feel like we should be paying less. Both of us frustrated.

But what would it be like if you lived in California where the average is $4.36 cents a gallon, or Indiana where they pay $3.94?

Illinois is over four bucks a gallon.

And why are the people in Wyoming getting away with paying just $3.33 cents a gallon?

Doesn't seem fair.

The national average of $3.81 sure doesn't tell the whole story, and I started thinking who sets gas prices anyway, and why don't gas prices come down when oil prices come down?

Basically, if you look at the big picture nationwide, the cost of crude oil is the biggest factor. 10 years ago 50% of the cost was the cost of crude. Today it's between 70% and 80%, and as you can see there are a lot of other costs that get passed down to consumers.

The next thing is taxes, and they are different all over the country.

The national average is 47 cents on the gallon including the 18 cents imposed by the federal government.

But people in California are paying 64.5 cents per gallon just in taxes, and New York is not far behind.

Wyoming, New Jersey and Georgia only pay about 32 cents.

Then there's the cost of refining, and this is one of the reasons my cost of gas is so high. In the northeast, at least two refiners are out of commission punching prices higher.

Distribution and marketing costs are also a part of the picture although my local station took down its sign with the prices. Guess they were embarrassed that prices kept going up and up.

Other smaller issues play a role too like the fact the ethanol tax credit expired.

The government mandates each gallon of gas contain 10% ethanol, and they used to support that with tax credits, but now? Well, instead of supporting it with your taxes, you pay for it at the pump.

There's one more thing some say is responsible for higher prices: speculators, traders, business operators, farmers and investors who either hedge their risk of changing oil prices in the futures market or simply take a view on future prices.

If you look at the chart below, you can see the number of folks buying futures contracts has gone through the roof while demand has stayed the same.

Here's the thing though. You may be one of these speculators because increasingly 401(k)s and pensions invest in commodities.

Back to my original question: who sets gas prices?

Well, oil is a global market so the price of crude gets set by investors world over, but then state legislators have a say in what kind of tax you will pay and, of course, the oil companies themselves have a piece of the action as well.

But rest assured. Our country could have an impact on global oil prices by increasing production. In fact, it's already happened.

The states in this country with the lowest gas prices are also the ones producing energy, like Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas and Wyoming.

Economics 101… you produce more of a good, the price falls. Simple.

Obama's 2% Lie

by Gerri Willis

Gas prices shot up 18 cents on average nationwide over the past two weeks, according to the latest Lundberg survey.

That puts the average cost of regular gas at $3.69 a gallon. Of course, many of you around the country are already paying over $4.

President Obama, members of his administration, Democrats in Congress, and his allies on the left all make the same case: we can't "drill our way" out of this problem.

They say we use a quarter of the world's oil, but only have 2% of the world's oil reserves. So, do the math. They say it's impossible, but here's how he gets to that mythical 2%.

For simplicity, we'll call it Obama's big oil lie because that's what it is.

They're only counting proven oil reserves.

The truth is that 2% oil reserves figure is whatever the government says it is.

Here’s the official definition from the non-partisan Congressional Research service.

Proven reserves are: "certainty to be recoverable in future years from known reservoirs under existing economic and operating conditions."

The key word there is "existing" conditions.

The U.S. has around 20 billion barrels in proven reserves, but the amount of undiscovered so called "technically recoverable" oil is over seven times that.

Those are the government's own figures!

And we can get that oil using today's technology. In fact, the U.S. has nearly 1.5 trillion barrels of oil.

That's enough to fuel the present needs in the U.S. for around 250 years, according to the Institute for Energy Research.

Former President of Shell Oil on FBN earlier today on how we could easily get back to producing 10 million barrels a day:

"The best source for new oil is the world's largest consumer economy: this country. We could go back to 10 million barrels if we had the permitting that would enable it to happen. We have the oil. There is more oil in this country that we're not allowed to get at than oil we're allowed to get at.”

But much of the oil is off limits thanks to the policies of this President:

-The outer Continental shelf.

-The Arctic National Wildlife Reserve in Anwar.

-And Shale Oil where the United States has the largest deposits in the world estimated by the government to be over 2 trillion barrels.

Even when the production is not in this country, the President will do anything he can to stop it, like blocking the Keystone pipeline.

Also, what the President is refusing to acknowledge is the United States is in the middle of an oil boom thanks to new technology like deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

So the President needs to stop with the 2% lie.

The solutions are right in front of us, but this administration flatly refuses to explore them.

Blame Obama?

by Gerri Willis

Is it me, or is it beginning to feel like 2008 all over again?

You remember 2008: gas prices rose to their highest high ever - $4.11 a gallon back on July 17th of that year.

The economic repercussions were severe. People cut back on driving and stopped spending.

We invented the word “Staycation." Remember that?

Fortunately, the situation was temporary. By December 31 of that year, gas prices had plunged to $1.61.

Can you imagine? It's hard to since the national average today of $3.61 is already higher than the average was on this day four years ago - back then it was $3.13 a gallon.

Were prices to continue to rise at the same rate they did in 2008, you could see prices of $4.61 this year.

Where all of this goes is really anybody's guess. It depends on Iran and whether that country continues to threaten the world with nukes, or maybe just shutting down a critical squeeze-point in oil distribution called the Strait of Hormuz.

Then there's what Israel might do. Another question mark.

And, finally, prices will be impacted mightily by supply disruptions in the U.S.

The Northeast stands to feel much of this pain as refineries struggle to keep up.

The President today says he has a solution to the problem. “We need new sources of American made energy. Right now, we're experiencing just another painful reminder of why developing new energy is so critical to our future.”

Thank you Dr. Obvious.

More supply would make the difference. Unfortunately, you've turned down just about every opportunity to expand supply.

The drilling moratorium in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill lasted not six days or six weeks but six months.

The loss to output totaled nearly $3 billion.

Oil permitting has been slow and drilling leases off the east coast stopped cold.

And, then there's the Keystone Pipeline, a prime opportunity for boosting supply the President has punted until after the election.

Even if the process of building the pipeline were approved and started today, it would take two years for refined product to reach our gas stations.

And that means the President has delayed the prospect of supply relief for three years!

Look, some people in this country are already benefitting from increased supply. That is the folks in the west enjoying the benefits of Canadian oil already coming in this country and increased North Dakota production.

Wyoming at $3.02... Colorado at $3.07 and Utah at $3.12.

Look, we know that the President wants to stop using oil to fuel our economy, but the world hasn't caught up to that vision.

The President chastises us for using a fifth of the world's global oil production. That's nothing to be embarrassed about!

We have the largest economy on the planet, and the most productive people.

In fact, we're finding more oil and gas, not less, in our country, and the vehicles we're developing to go all electric still require coal fired electricity plants to recharge.

Mr. President, let the market take care of this. Start putting people ahead of your policy priorities!

We need cheaper gas.

Politics at the Pump

by Gerri Willis

Five dollars. Get used to seeing that number because that’s how much a regular gallon of gas may soon cost. I'm not talking years from now. I'm talking weeks.

Experts already expect prices to hit the four dollar mark, and then exceed it sometime this summer, or even as early as Memorial Day weekend.

The average price right now stands at $3.52. That’s up 14 cents from just a month ago, and 39 cents a gallon from this time last year!That has a direct impact on your wallet.

Let’s do the math. The average American drives 12,000 miles a year, and the average car gets about 17 miles per gallon.

So, at the current price, that means the average American spends about $2,400 a year on gas. That’s already a lot, but if that price hit's five dollars, the cost skyrockets to $3,500 a year.

The reasons for the spike are many - everything from unrest in the Middle East to maintenance on refineries in this country.

No matter what the cause of the rise in prices, one man will get blamed for it: The President, and I’m not just talking about Obama.

Take a look at this chart from Gallup and the Energy Information Administration:

There is a remarkable correlation between a president's unpopularity and high gasoline prices. Dating all the way back to the Carter Administration.

Not exactly what you want to see in an election year.

But here's the thing. This President in particular should be taking a lot of the blame.

For one, the day President Obama was inaugurated the average price of a gallon of gasoline was $1.84.

If you look at the price today - $3.52 - that's a spike of 90%!

But despite the obvious, the White House maintains they are doing everything they can to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and increase production here at home.

Are they serious?!?

Let’s look at the facts shall we?

In 2010, following the Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill, this President issued a moratorium on all new oil drilling until further notice.

That lasted six months.

Besides the obvious loss of jobs, wages, and tax revenues, this ban severely hurt U.S. production of oil.

An LSU economist said the losses in output totaled more than $2 billion.

Then, even after the moratorium was lifted in October of 2010, the President continued to delay permits and leases until March of 2011, and it wasn't just in the gulf. He’s also ended the sale of drilling leases off the east coast.

But, perhaps the most glaring example of this president not doing enough for gas prices: not agreeing to the Keystone pipeline that would have carried gas and oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

Instead, he played politics with consumers’ wallets... Again!

One thing this President can claim is a renewed focus on all things green.

From solar plants to wind farms to electric cars, it seems this is all this administration can think about.

But a large amount of the solar companies he gave taxpayer dollars too are either bankrupt or closed completely.

And, those electric cars this President rants and raves about, the cars that are so good the White House needs to bribe people upwards of $10,000 to buy them, the cars that are so good some catch on fire, turns out they're not that great for the environment!

A new study by the University of Tennessee at Knoxville shows these cars are actually responsible for more pollution than gasoline vehicles.

Plus, for those old-fashioned regular cars, the White House has insisted on fuel efficiency standards which the National Automobile Dealers Association argues will add $3,000 to the price of a new car by 2025 pricing a lot of buyers out of the market.

From day one, this President has consistently put policy over people.

His obsession with green cars and companies has cost Americans billions with little to show for it.

Not to mention his refusal to see the evidence right in front of his face.

That's a big reason for our continued pain at the pump, And it's just going to get worse. At least until November...

Gas prices poised to jump higher

by Gerri Willis

Here come (even) higher gas prices! April 1 - yes, the same day as April Fool's Day - gas suppliers, by law, have to start moving summer grade fuel rather than winter grade. That move alone typically propels gas prices higher because the blends are more expensive to make. Add in seasonal demand from the summer driving season and - you get the picture -- higher prices.

Question is can Americans foot the bill? If last month's consumer spending report from the Commerce Department is any indication, the answer is yes. Consumer spending doubled in February over January - mainly due to the jump in gas prices. What's more, the rise in prices hasn't yet sent car buyers to the hybrid aisle at the car dealer lot. In February, truck sales rose 32 percent - the best sales rate since before the financial meltdown.

Typically Americans change their habits once gas reaches $4 a gallon. Let's hope it doesn't get to that.

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