There’s “no silver bullet” for bringing down fuel prices that have now topped $4 a gallon in some parts of the country, warned Pres. Barack Obama during his weekly radio address – though he insisted that the new, higher-mileage models being built by a resurgent U.S. auto industry will ultimately save consumers money at the pump.
While signs of an improving economy may be playing to the President’s advantage in recent weeks, political observers warn that fuel prices could be a critical factor in determining the outcome of the 2012 election – especially if, as some now forecast, gas hits $5 a gallon.
Obama’s GOP opponents have already picked up the cry. Before dropping out of the presidential race last year, Cong. Michelle Bachmann insisted she’d bring gas prices down to $2 a gallon if elected. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has made a similar claim in recent weeks – though, like Bachmann, he hasn’t discussed how.
Nonetheless, it is clear the Administration is concerned about the gas price issue – especially as it is facing the possibility that the cost of petroleum could surge if the war of words with Iran over that country’s nuclear program turns into a shooting war.