Gas Prices: Who is to Blame? Readers Speak Out

Who is to blame for the recent surge in gas prices? Is the pricing change having an impact on your driving this summer? Here is a summary and a sample of the many comments and opinions sent in by FedSmith readers.

In our survey last week, we asked readers for their opinion as to who or what is primarily responsible for the surge in gas prices.

Not surprisingly, we received many written comments from readers with a wide variety of opinions. Some were very well-thought out and appear to be from readers who have expertise in the field. Some of the comments were from readers expressing frustration with the impact of higher gas prices on their budget and their anger at the overall situation.

A number of readers indicated that list should have included "environmentalists" as one of the primary causes of the problem and a number also stated the survey should have included an option for "all of the above." Many readers blamed President Bush personally and a large number think that Congress is controlled by lobbyists–some of whom want to prevent drilling for more oil on our own land or others who represent oil companies and want to keep oil prices high.

73% of those responding to the survey indicate that higher gas prices have restricted summer travel plans. Here is a quick summary of the survey results.

1. Have higher gas prices restricted your summer travel plans? Total Responses Percentage Grand Total
yes 1453 73% 1997
no 421 21% 1997
undecided 123 6% 1997
2. Who or what is responsible, in your opinion, for the recent surge in gas prices? Total Responses Percentage Grand Total
Congress 385 19% 1997
Executive Branch of Government 307 15% 1997
OPEC 185 9% 1997
The American People 151 8% 1997
oil companies 606 30% 1997
India and China 124 6% 1997
Other 239 12% 1997


While we received almost 500 written comments, here are a few representative samples from readers. Written comments do not always equate to the survey numbers listed for a variety of reasons. We have selected some of the more typical comments from our readers representing a wide variety of opinions.

A forester with the Forest Service in Calpine, CA wrote: "Congress has allowed to be placed in a position where resource use is forbidden on most federal lands, and new refineries can’t be built. Judges are also to blame by blocking the few projects attempted on federal ground."

A transportation security manager from Albuquerque commented: "DRILL HERE, DRILL NOW, PAY LESS! That is the message that not only Clinton but the Bush’s should have instituted. Environmentalists got us into this pickle with the help of the Liberals in Congress. Less than ten years ago it was a global freezing that was coming, but no one paid any attention because there is so little that the lib wackos can do about global freezing, but a lot they can force us to do about warming."

A computer specialist with the IRS in Lanham, MD also thinks there should be more drilling in the U.S.: "There is plenty of oil within the bounds of the USA. Why can’t we drill for it? Too many rules, regs, and special interest groups have the ear of Congress. They are stopping Progress."

An auditor with the Air Force Audit Agency in Ogden, UT blames elected officials: "Our elected officials are a bunch of do-nothing pussies. They don’t even talk a good game. it is the old supply and demand gambit. No new refineries – no new drilling – no thought on how to reduce demand. The market is taking charge – reduce demand by increasing price."

A secretary with TSA in Romulus, MI has a succinct view: "I blame this current gas crisis on several groups but I lay the majority of the blame on the Executive Branch. Our Executive Branch has too many individuals who are oil executives and profit from higher gas prices."

An environmental coordinator with EPA in North Carolina said: "I believe that a lot of the blame for high gas and oil prices can be placed on the speculators trying to make a big profit on oil futures. I also think that the weak US dollar is part of the problem."

An administrative support employee with DoD in Barstow, CA blames the American people: "The american people are to blame, we allow this… by being spoiled, instead of not buying gas from these overseas greedy oil price gougers, no!! we just pay the price and gripe!! when is going to stop… americans can stop it! if they will only give up a little comfort, and buy only american oil, and conserve…. send a message to the greedy oil & gas monsters!!!"

A retired VA manager from Austin, TX thinks the problem is manufactured to make money: "This is once again a problem manufactured to soak the people. It is easy to do when there are people in control of the government who are beholding to the companies and the rich."

A Lead Human Resources Clerk from Ft. Campbell, KY wrote: "You should have had another option to check "Environmentalists." I chose Congress because they are unduly influenced by environmentalists to a degree that totally defies common sense and the good of the public."

A paralegal specialist with HUD wants to protest: "What needs to happen is people need to get off their asses and PROTEST. Do SOMETHING tangible to fight this madness! Remember the 60s/70s when people ACTUALLY DID SOMETHING!!!!!!!!"

An IT specialist with DFAS in Indianapolis blames specific countries: "Iran, Iraq, and Dubai all do a major part in rising gas prices."

A social worker with the VA in Loma Linda, CA blames President Bush: "What do you expect with an oil man in the White House who could care less about the problems of others?"

A natural resource specialist with the Forest Service in Santa Fe blames the Iraq war: "If the current administration had not started this senseless war, gas prices wouldn’t have increased this fast."

And some readers, such as this office manager with the USDA is trying to cope with the problem: "I have to drive 40 miles towork daily and there is no alternbate transportation. The only cut back is by trying to combine grocery shopping with work, etc. I have cut back some by reducing by speed by 10 mpg, only to be subjected to various forms of road rage becaue I am going 65 in the right lane. In the 70s when there were gas problems they reduced the speed limit to 55. I notice most of the trucks speedy passed me are company vehicles so the driver’s probably not paying the bill."

Our thanks to readers who took the time to respond to the questions in our most recent survey and a special thanks to those who took the time to send in their written comments.