Boehner: Obama Wants Lower Gas Prices, ‘At Least For Election Day’

By Elizabeth Harrington | March 1, 2012 | 6:26 PM EST

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

( – Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he is not sure whether President Barack Obama agrees with his Energy Secretary’s goal to keep gas prices high, but he does think the president is in favor of lower prices, “at least for election day.”

During a press briefing on Thursday at the Capitol, Boehner was asked if he thinks Obama’s energy policies are intended to drive up oil prices, as some of Boehner’s fellow Republicans have implied.

“Well, with Secretary [Steven] Chu, who’s made it pretty clear that his goal is to have higher energy prices, I think that’s what a lot of our members were cueing off of,” Boehner said.

“I’m not sure that the president believes that higher energy prices are what he wants,” said Boehner.  “And clearly after my discussion with him yesterday, I think he would prefer to see lower gas prices -- at least for Election Day.”

If the player does not load, please check that you are running the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.

Speaker Boehner referred to a lunch meeting with Republican and Democrat leaders and the president that occurred on Wednesday, during which they discussed jobs and energy policy.

On Tuesday, at a House hearing on the Energy Department’s budget, Secretary Chu was asked whether the Obama administration’s goal was to lower the price of gasoline.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Chu said, “No, the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil, to build and strengthen our economy. We think that if you consider all these energy policies, including energy efficiency, we think that we can go a long way to becoming less dependent on oil and [diversifying] our supply and we’ll help the American economy and the American consumers.”

Back in September 2008 Chu had told The Wall Street Journal, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) said of the Obama administration’s energy policies, “They seem determined to undertake policies that actually drive up the price of oil and gasoline because of their hope that we will somehow live in a world where only solar panels and wind turbines are necessary.”

During his press conference Boehner noted that gas prices have doubled since the president has been in office, and said Republicans had worked to lower gasoline prices by supporting, for instance, the Keystone XL pipeline.

When Obama was inauguarated in January 2009, the average price for one gallon of unleaded gasoline was $1.78.  Today, the average price for one gallon of unleaded is $3.73.