In 2008, Obama’s Energy Secretary Steven Chu told the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that he wanted to ramp up gasoline taxes over the next 15 years until they eventually were consistent with Europe’s rates. “Somehow, we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” he stated clearly.
Why? According to the WSJ, the wildly increased prices would “coax consumers into buying more-efficient cars and living in neighborhoods closer to work.” [That’s WSJ’s paraphrase, not Chu’s exact quote.]
Now, four years later, Chu has come remarkably close to achieving his goal (albeit a little too rapidly), and the American people are not pleased. With gasoline prices at record highs, and approval numbers at record lows, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) asked Chu at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Tuesday whether he still wants America’s gas prices at Europe levels, which could more than double our current rates.
According to the National Journal, “Chu seemed to equivocate, pause, and stumble over his words when responding to Lee’s question about high gas prices,” but ultimately stated, “I no longer hold that view.”
When asked whether he regretted his 2008 statement, Chu said “let me not comment on that.”
However, 2008 was not the only time Mr. Chu has made a remark hinting that he’s okay with higher gas prices.
On February 28 of this year, in an interview with Politico, Chu had a back-and-forth with Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) about what high gas prices would mean for Americans. After a number of answers that didn’t satisfy Nunnelee, he eventually asked Chu directly:
‘But is the overall goal to get the price—’
‘No, the goal is to decrease our dependency on foreign oil…’
Politico issued an editor’s note on March 2 saying that, since Nunnelee didn’t technically finish the question, we can’t be certain that Chu was responding to, “But is the overall goal to get the price of gas [down]?” The reader can read the full article hereand draw their own conclusion. However National Journal notes the administration changed the narrative “only after the story was picked up by Republicans and used against the administration.”
Either way, Chu has now officially backtracked on his 2008 comments that he wanted to raise the price of gas to Europe levels. Whether or not he is being truthful, public sentiment and the current economic state have put Chu in a position where saying he wants gas prices at “Europe levels” is no longer politically viable.
Do you believe him?
(H/T: Hot Air)