Larry Elder

The average price was $2.80 on April 22, 2006, when USAToday.com posted an article with the headline "Democrats blame Bush for high gas prices": "Consumer gasoline prices continue to soar as the Bush administration places too much emphasis on drilling reserves and not enough on alternative fuels, Democrats said." The article quoted Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., who praised Brazil's "energy independence." "In Brazil," Nelson said, "drivers are filling up their cars with ethanol instead of gasoline."

Not exactly, Sen. Nelson.

Brazil may be "energy independent" in that it imports only a small percentage -- 649,000 barrels per day in 2009 -- of the oil it consumes. But that makes Brazil the 19th-highest oil-importing country in the world. Its economy relies heavily on oil that is domestically produced and consumed. Brazil is the seventh-largest consumer of oil in the world and the ninth-largest producer. Its famous -- and heavily government-subsidized -- sugar cane-based ethanol fuel is actually a blend that uses approximately 75 percent gasoline.

As for U.S. ethanol, which is made from corn, Nobel laureate environmentalist Al Gore recently called it a bad deal: "It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for first-generation ethanol. First-generation ethanol, I think, was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small. ... The size, the percentage of corn particularly, which is now being (used for) first-generation ethanol definitely has an impact on food prices. The competition with food prices is real." Why did he once support ethanol? He admitted that he'd wanted to help farmers in Iowa, site of the nation's first caucus, since he "was about to run for president."

The silence over the recent price run-up is yet the latest example of left-wing hypocrisy. It was always about bludgeoning Bush rather than a sincere conviction that Big Oil was cheating. How else to explain the absence of demands for investigations?

America could achieve "energy independence" if producers were allowed to drill in Alaska, the lower 48 and offshore, where substantial amounts of untapped oil remain off-limits. Obama, who currently squanders hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars by "investing" in alternative energy, possesses no more control over the law of supply-and-demand than did "evil" Oilman Bush.


Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit www.LarryElder.com.