Oil prices are determined in the global market. The Economists does a nice job summarizing the recent spike in oil prices. Many supply and demand factors will help determine the price of a barrel of oil. The demand side largely is influenced by US drivers, the rise of Chinese and Indian economies, and oil speculators purchasing futures contracts in hopes of driving prices higher. On the supply side comes down to OPEC and right now the concerns over a war with Iran. The POTUS has no influence on oil prices, but somewhere along the lines Republicans believe gasoline should be $2.50 per gallon. If you believe in the free market, you will quickly realize gasoline will never be $2.50/gallon. Of course the Republicans did not blame George W. Bush when gasoline prices reached $5/gallon in the summer of 2008. So what can we take from this, Republicans believe in the free market, that is until it is inconvenient to do so.