America is an automobile society. We live our lives through our cars, be it for commuting to work, shopping or simply meeting friends for a drink. Besides getting to and from work, many make their livings with their cars: Real Estate agents depend upon their cars on a daily basis. Those who deliver our goods usually use trucks to bring products to retailers. Try to get around in New York without a vehicle and you’ll understand that the U.S. turns on four wheels.  We simply cannot lead our lives as we’ve become accustomed without our vehicles.

Gasoline Runs America

Despite the desires of those on the left there is simply no practical alternative to gasoline at this time. Electric automobiles are expensive and have yet to prove themselves. The electricity consumed in electric vehicles is usually produced by burning fossil fuels so the real “green” nature of the vehicles is dubious at best. Natural gas might be an effective alternative but even if every car maker immediately converted their engines to burn natural gas it would be decades before a majority of vehicles burned a fuel other than gasoline. Facts are facts: we need gasoline for the foreseeable future.

gasoline prices at the pump

Nothing hits consumers as hard as watching precious dollars squandered when filling up with gasoline. Artificially inflated gasoline prices are a major thorn in the side of every mobile American and the blame always goes directly to the Oval Office. The only thing that might anger folks more than the price of gasoline at the pump is an administration that touts “significant progress” in reducing foreign oil imports and increasing domestic oil and gas production while prices soar.

A report by six federal agencies released Monday claims the United States reduced net imports of crude oil last year by 10 percent, or 1 million barrels a day. The U.S. now imports 45 percent of its petroleum, down from 57 percent in 2008, and is on track, according to the Obama Administration, to meet the president’s goal of reducing oil imports by one-third over the next decade.

Imports have fallen for a number of reasons: the economic downturn has played a large part, but also increases in domestic oil production in recent years; however production increases have little to do with action by the current administration. The major source of new production in the U.S. has come from leases on private land that is not controlled by the federal government. Production on federal land has fallen steadily over the past few years. The Obama Administration has reduced oil exploration leases on government land by over 11 percent since they took office.

The report went on to state that U.S. crude oil production increased by an estimated 120,000 barrels a day last year over 2010, with current production of about 5.6 million barrels a day.

Gasoline Prices Affect the President’s Numbers

In an election year where the current White House is troubled by stubbornly high unemployment and a weak economy, high gasoline prices could be the final blow to Mr. Obama’s re-election bid. A new poll shows that mounting frustration with the president’s handling of the economy, driven in part by a sense that he can influence gasoline prices, has eroded Obama’s approval rating.

A Washington Post/ABC poll found that 46 percent of people surveyed approved of Obama’s job performance, while 50 percent disapproved, reversing gains the president made with recent job numbers. The rapid turnaround points to the recent increases in gasoline prices and the president’s cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline project that would’ve substantially increased friendly oil available to the U.S. market.

The poll showed that 65 percent of those surveyed disapproved of the president’s handling of gasoline prices; a devastating number in an election year.

White the administration’s report touted improvements in the overall energy picture, citing initiatives such as the higher fuel efficiency of passenger cars, renewable energy output and improved weatherization of homes, nothing directly affects American’s daily lives more than the numbers on the gasoline pump.

Much of the decreases in oil imports can be directly tied to a still-anemic economy and any boost in domestic oil and gas production is the result of decisions made during the George W. Bush administration.

The report, titled “The Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future,” says, “We’re experiencing yet another painful reminder of why developing new American energy is so critical to our future.”

A recent Gallup poll showed that a majority of Americans are convinced that Obama and Congress could do more to reduce gasoline prices. As long as the public believes the government is not doing all that it can to cut the pain-at-the-pump, positive administration reports will have little effect.

If every possible oil resource within the United States was tapped it’s still unlikely that we could eliminate the need for foreign sources. Mr. Obama’s unwillingness to use the abundant resources of our largest trading partner, Canada, and the reduction in federal oil leases offers the GOP added fuel for the fall campaign at a time when the president already has clearly defined vulnerabilities.

It cannot be overstated how gasoline prices affect the economy. The cost of everything we buy is directly tied to transportation costs and high gasoline prices flow down to the pockets of consumers not only at the pump, but at the store as well. Businesses are hard hit by rising fuel costs and many may be forced to make workforce decisions based on increased fuel expenses. High fuel prices create a depressive effect on an already frail economy and if the predictions are correct the pressure on economic growth due could deal a harsh blow to the president at the worst time possible solidifying the GOP message that the president is incompetent in matters of the economy.