“We have met the enemy and he is us” is the famous Pogo line of the Seventies.
North Carolinians don’t go quite that far in blaming their own driving habits for the high cost of gasoline. But they don’t let themselves off the hook, either.
By far, they blame oil companies (71%) and foreign countries that produce oil (58%). The policies of the Obama Administration (42%) and Congressional Democrats (41%) come next.
But “the driving habits of American consumers” is right up there at 40%.
Are they right? It’s complicated. “There’s more of a demand for that crude oil in the world market,” said Nancy Cain, spokeswoman for AAA Michigan, which helps produce the Daily Fuel Gauge Report. AAA surveys gas stations across the nation for its report, updated at 3 a.m. daily.
It’s “that little fear factor, that concern that maybe down the line you can’t get the crude oil,” she said. “What’s happening in Iran is one of the issues.”
And in Washington, it’s complicated, too — but for a different reason. House Republicans will continue their coordinated messaging blitz over gas prices in their home districts. They are organizing a series of events with their constituents that are geared toward putting the blame for high prices squarely onto the shoulders of President Obama and Democrats in Congress. (See Mitt Romney, here.)
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats hope to use consumer frustration about high gas prices to build support for repealing billions of dollars in oil industry tax breaks. They’ll bash Republicans for blocking legislation this week to eliminate the tax breaks, painting them as shills for Big Oil. (See President Obama, here.)
So, depending on whom you listen to, there is plenty of blame to go around.
— John Robinson