One of the issues of this campaign has been the cost of energy. Indeed, after the economy and Iraq, a CNN poll found that gas prices were next important in the minds of voters. Energy costs, especially the cost of oil, have a very real impact on household budgets and personal finances. Transportation costs are beginning to have a very real impact on wallets — and on the minds of voters.
What both presidential candidates plan to do about oil prices
In order to curb rising oil prices, both John McCain and Barack Obama have suggested that we need to move away from reliance on oil in general. Both also want to implement a carbon emission cap-and-trade system to ensure that carbon emissions (and their subsequent health and environmental impacts) are reduced.
John McCain favors a gas tax holiday. Unfortunately, such a holiday would not actually help consumers. Instead, oil companies would be far more likely to keep prices where they are and then pocket the savings to them. Additionally, John McCain has changed his stance on offshore drilling.
Now he champions the idea of drilling more oil domestically. This, however, would be unlikely to have any real and lasting impact on gas prices. It’s unlikely to have any real short term impacts on gas prices. By the time the drilling was started, and the new wells started producing, we could have spent years of time and billions of dollars developing technology we already have to the point that it would be a cost-efficient alternative to oil.
Barack Obama wants to see increased investment in alternative energy solutions. He maintains that investing in alternative energy development would provide an increase in jobs — both in manufacturing and services — as we shift to a greener economy.
He is opposed to offshore drilling. This is something that may not be particularly popular with the voting public right now, but it’s a gutsy and independent stance that would result in a far more practical energy policy down the road (and more savings in the long term). Obama does support a windfall tax on Big Oil companies. However, that is likely to be counter productive.