Michelle Bachmann promised to make gas cheaper if elect... Michelle Bachmann promised to make gas cheaper if elected President (Gage Skidmore, Flickr).
Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann's promise to drop gas under $2 a gallon may actually hurt the economy more than it could help.

"When the President became president, gas was $1.79 a gallon," she said earlier this week at a stop in South Carolina. "Under President Bachmann, you will see gasoline come down below $2 a gallon again."

She added: "That. Will. Happen."

Though initially low gas prices may sound good, it may actually be detrimental to the economy. The reason gas prices hit $1.79 in December 2008 when Obama was President-elect was because the economy was in the tank. Besides rampant foreclosures, bank failures and a tanking stock market, there was less demand for gas. Why? Unemployed people didn't need to use as much gas, since they weren't commuting to work anymore.

Low gas prices can often be a barometer of economic turmoil. Trucks used less gas during the early recession as well, because they didn't need to ship as many items to stores or idled manufacturing plants.

Cheap gas could hurt the nation's efforts to wean itself off foreign oil. Automakers recently promised to bring their average fuel efficiency to 54.5 mpg by 2025 -- a move the companies agreed to because they expect gas prices will keep going up, and consumer demand will help drive demand for more fuel-efficient vehicles. When gas is cheaper than a gallon of milk, people stop worrying about fuel efficiency and start driving things like Hummers -- which could derail plans to increase the average fuel efficiency.

You can't just bring down gas prices with promises. Even if Bachmann were to open up drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, in Alaska, that probably won't produce enough oil to bring gas prices down. The cost of gas is determined by more than just supply:

"It's not about something as parochial as that," said Tom Kloza, Director of editorial content at Oil Price Information Service. "Oil, commodities prices in general, are part of the three ring circus. The second part of the three ring circus is currency markets and then global equities markets."

In other words, oil traders have a big impact on price, too. They often price up gas based on the strength of global economies and the relative strength of the dollar.

"This isn't your father's or your grandfather's equity market. They're determined by great macroeconomic winds," Kloza said. "The amount of money being moved based on speculation today is infinitely larger than it was 20 years ago. It's like comparing the New York Yankees to American Legion ball."

At the click of a button, billions of dollars are moved instantaneously in a volatile market that plays to the whims of how global growth is perceived. How and if Bachmann could control that is questionable.

At the time of publishing, AOL Autos did not receive a response to a request asking Bachmann's office how exactly she intended to implement her plan.

Her options would be limited. Gas prices, of course, could go down for two main reasons, according to Kloza: A weak economy akin to that of 2008 or an unlikely immediate technological breakthrough which would provide a viable alternative to gas.

Bottom line: Bachmann's promise of cheap gas appears to be a ploy to get voters on her side, even if it's an impossible promise to make.

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  • 498 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      I really hope she gets the GOP nomination. I think that would be hilarious....just hilarious.
      Gary
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ya, like she could control gas prices. She is sooooo stupid its frightening. She's looking for votes people!
      wrrgal
      • 3 Years Ago
      She is such an idiot! Again open mouth & insert foot. I hope the American people are smarter than agreeing with her hairbrain ideas. Maybe she thinks we should use tea in our gas tanks.
      s2at25
      • 3 Years Ago
      When oil was at the same price as today gas was under $2.00 a gallon. Why is it still about $3.00? The fix is in at high up. If Bachmann can get it down to under $2.00 a gallon she will be a winner for years to come. Do you hear me Obama! Two dollar gas will win the election!!!
      • 3 Years Ago
      If it were the idiot obama it would not be headlined as a side show. Huff post, you people are such Marxist, it's sickening.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wouldn't it be nice to have 2$ gallon gas again? We Can if we DRILL for our own resources and not depend on countries that hate us. 2$ gas may be a pipe dream, but it is certainly better that what we are getting from Obuma.
      • 3 Years Ago
      if we build refinerys inthe noth and not all of them in the were they could get hit by stoms like mont, S.D. Wyo.and the like.like them we could bett fuel insted of are money going overseas we could keep it here and tell tell those county to get lost.
      • 3 Years Ago
      All politicians are full of crap. Just because they say it doesn't make it so. There are way too many gullible people that believe every word from their candidates mouth.
      Harold
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's claims like this that will sink her campaign before she gets going. She doesn't have a clue.
      fowlerno1ins
      • 3 Years Ago
      The only people of the economy that below two dollar a gallon would hurt are the greedy ass scumbuckets that are in the oil industry(filthy scum) and making outragous record profits off the backs of the poor.It will help the economy out tremendously for the poor will be able to afford more food.The fruitcake liberals that are writing this article against the idea are nothing more than filthy trash that should be disposed of in a dump site.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Bachmann's promise of cheap gas appears to be a ploy to get voters on her side, even if it's an impossible promise to make. Isn't her platform being :the Change and Leadership America needs" Or a fore warning of things to come if elected. So U can't be mad at promises B R O K E N :(.
      • 3 Years Ago
      This writer is bass ackward on what he is writing. We don't have a strong economy because of high gas prices what is he drinking. The gas price we see now is gouging from brokers and companies that are crippling our economy with record profits ceo salaries. We get most of our gas from canada.
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