LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) –President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney sparred on energy policy at Tuesday night's debate, with both candidates claiming they know the way to lower gas prices.
Both Romney, a Republican, and Obama, a Democrat, stressed the need to produce more oil domestically -- although the President seemed to place more emphasis on working to develop renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
Dr. Taggert Brooks, an economist at the UW-La Crosse, said both candidates seemed to emphasize the need to decrease US dependency on foreign oil.
"As you reduce demand, price falls," Brooks said. "So that's the idea there."
"But whether we produce or import oil here, that's basically just a random matching of suppliers and demanders," he said. "The price is really determined in the global market, and none of the stuff the Presidential candidates talked about affect the global price of oil."
Brooks said global demand has been driven up by emerging market economies.
"In the last 10 years, one of the biggest causes for the rise in gas prices has been international demand, and you can point to developing countries like China and India," Brooks said. "There's 2-billion people there. So if they need gas that increases global demand."
Although Brooks added a President does have the authority to alter gas prices through tax policy.
"In terms of the taxes that we pay, they can permanently raise taxes or permanently lower taxes on gas," Brooks said. "That would have an impact on the price we pay at the pump."
The federal gas tax is currently 18.4 percent.
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