According to the New York Times, gas prices are a central topic in the upcoming presidential election.
The Times reports that several presidential candidates have claimed that they will lower gas prices, but according to a survey of economists conducted by University of Chicago Booth School of Business, gas prices are not under the control of any politician. Although the Obama administration influenced increased oil production in the U.S., we only hold 2 percent of the world's oil reserves. The U.S. consumes 20 percent of the world's oil supply per year.
The article reports that "in February 2001, just after Mr. Bush took office, the average price of regular gasoline was $1.45 a gallon. By June 2008, that price had risen to $4.05." Newt Gingrich said his goal is to lower gas prices to $2.50 per gallon; however, the article's author, who is one of the surveyed economists, asks if it is possible to "suspend the law of supply and demand."
The article states that the U.S. has less control over oil prices as it has the power to decrease consumption and raise taxes on oil to instigate use of alternative energy sources. For example, the article states, in Europe, energy-efficient cars are common. It is more probable, the article reports, for presidents to make policy changes to conserve fuel than lower the price of oil.