Wednesday, May 11, 2011

FACT CHECK and UPDATE: Rep. Gosar Claims He Voted Today "To Lower Gas Prices...In Arizona"; Support?

Earlier today, we reported on Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar's (R-CD1) speech yesterday in support of H.R. 1229, named as the "Putting the Gulf Back to Work Act".  This afternoon, the House approved the measure on a party line vote, and Gosar's office quickly trumpeted his vote "to lower gas prices".

The bill would extend existing oil exploration leases in the Gulf of Mexico (which were affected by the drilling moratorium) and fast track government decisions on permit applications.  Republicans believe that it will lead to more drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf more quickly, while the Obama Administration opposes it because jeopardizes safety by restricting the review of the permit applications.  The CBO notes that it will increase the budget deficit by $10M in 2013 because it will delay existing claims being put out to auction.

Our earlier post did not mention Rep. Gosar's unsupported claim that the bill would lower gas prices, believing it to be a small bit of rhetorical hyperbole.  However, now that Gosar is headlining that dubious impact, it deserves greater inspection.

First, it bears repeating that Rep. Gosar has provided no support for his claim in either his speech (admittedly, just a one-minute thumbnail) or his press release.  Second, even the leaders in the Republican party behind this bill are not claiming that it will actually lower gas prices anytime soon. 

Finally, independent analyses claiming that it will help lower prices at the pump are non-existent; here is one that says it will be seven or eight years before these areas will produce large enough quantities to have an effect.  Top that off with well-known gas price analyst Trilby Lundberg stating that prices are already beginning to come down, anyway, and you have even less support for Gosar's claim.  (By the way, "topping it off" is only a wise way to minimize gasoline expenditures when prices are rising; given Lundberg's - and Gosar's - claims, you are not advised to top off your tank.)

Grandstanding on gas prices is a tradition among politicians of all stripes.  However, like so many before him, Rep. Gosar's claim that he just voted to lower the price at the pump is little more than the nasty vapor seeping out as you put another couple of gallons into your vehicle.

GRADE: 85 (= "D").  Just as we no longer have the lower grades available at the gas station, we should do away with claims like Gosar's.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com. Thanks.

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