Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Politics

Statement that Obama promised $2.50-per-gallon gasoline is false

The statement

Says Barack Obama "promised" gasoline at $2.50 a gallon.

Lenny Curry, Republican Party of Florida chairman, March 4, in an interview on Bay News 9

The ruling

In an interview on Bay News 9's Political Connections, Curry claimed Obama promised $2.50 a gallon gasoline.

"He promised gasoline I believe at $2.50," Curry said. "When he took office it was about $1.68. We know it's well above $2.50 now."

But the closest we could find to a promise on gas prices were comments Obama made in Winston-Salem, N.C., in April 2008: "I want to invest that money in clean, affordable, renewable energy sources like wind power, and solar power, and biofuels, so that we're not talking about high fuel prices next summer or the next summer after that or the summer after that."

That's a far cry from pledging a particular price.

We did find one current candidate making such a pledge: Republican Newt Gingrich said he would keep gas prices at $2.50 or less if elected president.

"I've developed a program for American energy so no future president will ever bow to a Saudi king again and so every American can look forward to $2.50 a gallon gasoline," Gingrich said at a CNN debate.

Analysts, we should note, are dubious of the power of any president to affect short-term gas prices.

"What can you do to change the market in the short term? The answer is not much," said James Bartis of the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit research group that provides independent policy analysis. "It takes many years to open up a new oil field, to prepare and get production from a new oil field. Generally, I would say a decade is the minimum."

Obama recently chided Republicans for promising lower gas prices in a speech in Miami.

"It's the easiest thing in the world to make phony election-year promises about lower gas prices. What's harder is to make a serious, sustained commitment to tackle a problem," he said.

We asked the Republican Party of Florida for evidence to back up Curry's claims about Obama's promises on gas prices, but we didn't hear back.

Obama has discussed the need for the country to achieve energy independence through reduced consumption and more renewable energy sources. At times he connected those policies to lower gas prices for families. But he never promised a particular price point and certainly not $2.50 a gallon. We rate Curry's statement False.

The item has been edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com/Florida.

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