As gas prices rise, Obama to speak on energy future

Rising prices at the gas pump could threaten the economic recovery and pose an election year problem for Obama.

Adriene Hill: Another issue shaping up in the presidential campaign: rising gas prices. We're paying more at the pump now than we ever have at this time of year. President Obama knows those rising gas prices could put a crimp in any economic recovery. Later today, he'll be in Florida talking about a longer term energy future in the U.S. But Obama's not expected to make a lot of short-term promises about the cost of a tank of gas.

Marketplace's Sally Herships reports.


Sally Herships: This probably isn't what President Obama wants to hear. But:

Geoffrey Heal: No U.S. president can really do much about the price of gas, though lots of them have said they'd like to.

That's Geoffrey Heal. He teaches sustainability and energy markets at Columbia Business School. He says the price of gasoline is a basic supply and demand thing.

Heal: So you've got a shrinking supply meeting a growing demand, and I'm afraid that's an absolutely classic economic recipe for prices to go up.

Don't forget about Iran. There's talk of another war in the Middle East.

Robert Johnson: You've got political issues, you've got supply and demand issues.

Robert Johnson is director of economic analysis at Morningstar. He says no matter how much it wants to, the United States is not setting the price of oil anymore.

Johnson: It's China. When people talk about all this extra demand making price go up, it's not demand from the United States of America, that's for sure. Or Europe, for that matter.

Geoffrey Heal says even if the U.S. released oil from its government stockpile, it would only be a small and short-term fix.

In New York, I'm Sally Herships for Marketplace.

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Sally Herships is a regular contributor to Marketplace.

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