LAKEWOOD — “I’m voting Republican for the first time in my adult life. They better put their money where their mouth is,” exclaimed a woman as she excitedly exited the gas station $25 richer. Gas price politics, it seems, have already moved at least one voter in the heart of one of Colorado’s swingiest swing counties – Jefferson County — and appear poised to move even more.
Last week, Compass Colorado and Morning in America, two conservative groups promoting policies to lower gas prices, held an event in Lakewood designed to highlight the failure of the Obama administration to keep gas prices low.
At 5pm on Thursday, on the cusp of Labor Day weekend, the groups offered the first 150 drivers gas at a Shell station in Lakewood for $1.84/gallon — the average national price of gas on the day President Obama was inaugurated.
The price stood in stark contrast to the $3.50/gallon most Coloradans were encountering elsewhere across the state that day.
Drivers were allowed to put 15 gallons in their tank, at almost half the current price at the pump, saving them nearly $25. As one might expect, the event attracted long lines of people, with cars lined up down the street and around the corner.
“It was extremely successful,” said Compass Colorado President Tyler Q. Houlton. “Not only were we able to highlight President Obama’s failed energy policies, we helped 150 working families fill their gas tanks – something most of us have been struggling to do recently.”
While gas prices have come down slightly from their high at $3.88/gallon in April, they remain perilously high for both President Obama’s re-election and consumers across Colorado, sapping much needed money from tight family budgets.
Compass Colorado and Morning in America both tout expanded domestic drilling as a way to lower prices at the pump. While the Obama administration, according to industry studies, has cut back on leases for drilling on federal lands, should Obama fail to win re-election, the two groups may find a more friendly audience in a Mitt Romney administration.
The GOP nominee for President has vowed to tap into the country’s resources in a bid to lower prices by expanding supply.
Should enough Colorado drivers believe that a President Romney would bring prices back down to the level those 150 drivers in Lakewood were offered last week, gas price politics may be enough to knock off the first incumbent president in a generation.