As Americans continue to face rising gas prices, Republicans are determined to falsely paint President Obama as the root cause of pain at the pump. On Sunday, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said, “And so, they have gotten the doubling of gas prices and perhaps worse, is a conscious policy of this administration.”
That same day, South Dakota Sen. John Thune wrote in a Politico op-ed that the President “has systematically discouraged new energy exploration and development” while his “policies are driving up energy prices for consumers.”
The GOP can play politics, but they cannot change the facts. There is no silver bullet that can immediately bring down gas prices, but the President’s energy policies over the past three years have promoted domestic energy production and explored every single way to help consumers in the short and long-term.
In direct contrast to what the Republicans are saying, President Obama has encouraged responsible domestic oil production.
He opened millions of acres for oil and gas exploration off our coasts, making more than 75% of undiscovered offshore oil and gas resources available for development. In 2011 alone, the Obama Administration held 32 onshore oil and gas lease sales covering nearly 4.4 million acres, and has committed to holding annual lease sales in Alaska’s National Petroleum Reserve, leasing more than 141,000 acres in 2011.
Under this President, our dependence on foreign oil is decreasing. In 2011, the country’s reliance on foreign oil hit a 16-year low. Domestic oil production is at its highest level in eight years, with the number of oil rigs in operation in the U.S. quadrupling in the past three years alone.
While there is no direct and immediate way to bring gas prices down, President Obama pursued a wide variety of policies that would help lessen the burden of high gas prices on Americans now and in the future.
President Obama is putting in place the toughest fuel economy standards for cars and light trucks and established the first standards ever for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses. Cars and light trucks will nearly double their average miles per gallon to nearly 55 miles by 2025, saving Americans more than $8,000 at the pump per car and reducing the country’s oil consumption by more than 2 million barrels a day.
The President is building on investments in advanced vehicle and fuel technologies to boost the development of natural gas vehicles and biofuels that will help decrease our dependence on oil, increase our energy security, and lower costs.
Last week, President Obama signed an extension of the payroll tax cut which puts an extra $40 in the paycheck of an average American family that can help alleviate the pain at the pump.
As President Obama said in his speech last week, Republicans plan to drill and “keep drilling” is “not a plan, especially since we’re already drilling. That’s a bumper sticker. It’s not a strategy to solve our energy challenge. That’s a strategy to get politicians through an election.” There may be a political advantage for Republicans to claim President Obama causes high gas prices, but there is not an ounce of truth in it.