Gas prices up nearly nine percent nationwide

Senator Ron Johnson on lowering fuel costs


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 29, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF “YOUR WORLD”: Well, as Americans keep getting hit at the pump, as Larry pointed out, did the energy secretary just say the administration’s goal is not to bring down the gas prices at the pump?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is the overall goal to get our price...

STEVEN CHU, U.S. ENERGY SECRETARY: No, the overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil, to build and strengthen our economy and to decrease our dependency on oil.


CAVUTO: Which would mean higher prices at the pump.

At least that’s the way Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson heard it.

What did you think of that, Senator?

SEN. RON JOHNSON, R-WIS.: Well, Neil, I heard your earlier guest say that this president doesn’t have an energy policy.

He does have an energy policy. It’s just a very bad energy policy. We basically have a de facto moratorium drilling in the Gulf, and he will not drill in ANWR, and he will not allow the Keystone XL pipeline to proceed.

Earlier, Secretary Chu, before he was sworn in, said we have to figure out a way to get our gasoline prices the price of Europe. Back then, our gasoline price was $1.80 a gallon. Europe was over $6. Now we have doubled our gasoline price, about $3.70 to $4, while Europe is about $8 a gallon.

So, no, this president has an energy policy and it’s to not utilize America’s natural energy resources. And that is a real shame.

CAVUTO: Now, we know that House and Senate leaders, Republican leaders, are talking to the press about their plans to deal with this issue and their strategy for the year.

But the rap against Republicans, as I’m sure you’re aware, Senator is that you’re not consistent either, and that when it comes to dealing with prices and oil exploration, you’re all for more drilling, but you are perfectly happy if the oil companies ship that stuff abroad.

Would you put a limit on that and say, oil companies, we’re hurting here; make sure your first customer is us here?

JOHNSON: Well, first of all I’m new here, Neil, so I have not been involved in this in the past.


CAVUTO: What do you think of that? Because that’s what has been going on.


JOHNSON: It’s a free market. And oil, very similar to money, is very fungible and it will go where it will go.


CAVUTO: But we need it here. I understand that. Senator, but if we need it here, the argument is going, well, if you are all for the USA, then if you’re looking for eager customers, you’ve got them right here.

JOHNSON: Yes, but, again, I don’t think where it is sold will really affect the world price of oil because it will flow wherever it is needed.

So what we need to do is we need to expand the supply of oil by utilizing our own natural resources. That’s the key. It’s actually a good thing. We talk about our balance of trades. It’s good thing that the United States is exporting refined products. That is creating jobs in America and it’s helping our balance of payments.


CAVUTO: I hear what you are saying.


CAVUTO: I’m not a communist on this stuff, but I’m just saying, look, if you want to increase the supply in the world, I am all for that, but if we’re hurting here, I’m really for helping our supply situation here.

You will still make a ton of money, oil companies. You’re just going to be making it a lot more here. What’s wrong with that?

JOHNSON: Neil, I don’t think it will affect the price one way or the other in terms of where the oil is actually utilized. You will have the world price.


CAVUTO: So you think the extra supply hitting the market, no matter where it hits it, is going to be ultimately what decides?

JOHNSON: It will be -- let’s face it. We basically have a world price for oil. And it’s extremely high.

Part of the reason in terms of dollar denomination, this president has also pursued a policy of printing money, of high deficit spending and that’s the other part of the equation and that’s the other reason gasoline prices are so high.


CAVUTO: That has weakened the dollars. Oil is priced in dollars. And that has lifted the cost.


CAVUTO: Go ahead. Finish that point. I’m sorry.

JOHNSON: Oh, I was going to say, the other tip-off here is when President Obama was running as a candidate, he said because of his policies, electricity rates would nationally skyrocket.

This is their stated policy. They’re getting what they want. And, like I say, it’s a real shame.

CAVUTO: All right, Senator, thank you very much. Good seeing you again.

JOHNSON: Thanks for having me on.

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