In December, 2008 Steven Chu, the man who was to very shortly become Barack Obama’s Secretary of Energy, told the Wall Street Journal that, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” Now the average price at the pump is twice what it was when Chu made the outrageous statement, and every American is feeling the pinch. It is particularly foreboding that gas prices are typically relatively subdued at this time of year, and spike with the peak driving season beginning in about 60 days.
Last week, Chu appeared before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and was grilled about gas prices. Rep. James Sensenbrenner invited Chu to retract his earlier statement about chasing European gas prices; Chu refused. Further, he actually suggested the doubling of gas prices, and particularly the recent rapid price increases, were somehow good news and evidence that the economy was coming back. A visibly exasperated Sensenbrenner pointed out that unemployment is still higher than it was when Chu made his statement, but gas prices were double – and getting worse.