Obama to address energy issues, gas prices

President Barack Obama (Reuters/Jason Reed)

President Barack Obama is confronting Americans’ anxiety over rising gasoline prices by drawing attention to his energy policies and taking credit for rising oil and gas production, a greater mix of energy sources and decreased consumption.

Obama is heading to Florida on Thursday to promote an energy strategy that the administration says will reduce dependence on foreign oil in the long term. But Obama’s pitch will also have a subtext: that the federal government can do little to halt the current rise in gasoline prices.

Obama will speak at the University of Miami and tour the school’s Industrial Assessment Center, which trains students as industrial energy-efficiency experts. The program is one of 24 across the country.

White House advisers believe Obama needs to address the recent spike in gasoline prices, even though they see it as a cyclical occurrence. The current $3.58 per gallon is the highest price at the pump ever for this time of year.

Obama aides worry that the rise in prices could reverse the country’s economic gains and the president’s improved political standing. A new Associated Press-GfK poll shows that though Obama’s approval rating on the economy has climbed, 58 percent disapprove of what he’s doing on gas prices.

Republicans have seized on the issue, citing Obama’s decision to reject a permit for a cross-country oil pipeline as evidence of a misguided policy. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has warned of $5-a-gallon gas, while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has said he could lower prices to $2.50 a gallon.

White House officials point to increased oil production and decreased consumption as evidence that Obama’s policies are working and will lead to greater energy independence in the long run. But they assert there is little Obama – or any president – can do to change the trajectory of prices now.

Despite more domestic oil and less consumption, “these prices are going up, and that tells you that there are other things beyond our control, like unrest in the Middle East or other factors like the growth of emerging countries such as China and India,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said Wednesday.

To be sure, oil and gas production has increased during the Obama administration, though the trend began during the presidency of George W. Bush, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The increase has reversed a decline that began in 1986, and the agency projects that by 2020 oil production will reach a level not seen since 1994.

The agency also has reported a drop in petroleum consumption, caused by the economic downturn after the 2008 recession, new efficiencies and changes in consumer behavior.

While in Florida, Obama also plans to raise money, including a $30,000-a-person event at the Windermere, Fla., home of Dallas Mavericks guard Vince Carter. An avid basketball fan, Obama will attend a dinner Thursday at Carter’s house just three days before the NBA All-Star Game in nearby Orlando.

Obama also will attend fundraising events at the Biltmore Hotel and at the Coral Gables home of lawyer Chris Korge, a top fundraiser for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

Last week, Obama took a three-day West Coast trip and raised about $8 million in eight campaign events.

© 2012 The Associated Press

Enhanced by Zemanta

9 Responses to "Obama to address energy issues, gas prices"

  1. griff  February 23, 2012 at 9:28 am

    Yeah, I’m on pins and needles…

    Thirty grand a person? Yeah, he’s really feelin’ it.

  2. Almandine  February 23, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Reduced oil consumption is the one ray of sunshine in Zero’s otherwise bleak economic stewardship. And like most other issues he finds a way to spin to his advantage, this one is based on bastardization of the facts… that “greater mix of energy sources” being a big one.

  3. Michael Smith  February 23, 2012 at 11:17 am

    RE: Obama’s energy policy.
    While the President’s aim is to create a greater mix of energy sources for transport, the implementation of of them through federal legislation fails to address short-term needs. For example: (1) 54 miles per gallon of motor fuel by the year 2025. It is a fact that at least one international corporation (Ford) now builds an engine (AJD-V6, V8/PSADT17), the 2.7 liter diesel version of which is said to achieve over 50 miles per equivalent gallon NOW in 2012.
    (2) Veto of the Keystone XL pipeline. Its construction would do little to address short-term energy needs. Nevertheless as a LNG/CNG – only pipeline it would enhance a market for natural gas as a transport fuel as well as being less of an insult to the environment than that of an oil line.
    (3) Motor vehicle owners are now offered CNG conversion kits. However, the EPA severely restricts certification to vehicles three years of age or less. If federal policy was modified to accept older but well-maintained low-mileage cars and trucks, these vehicles could be converted to natural gas which now sells for 2/5 to 1/3 less than the equivalent gallon of gasoline.
    Drivers need more and better choices for their energy needs: high output, high efficient diesel engines can assist in this today; why wait until 2025?

  4. woody188  February 23, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    We shouldn’t even be at $2.50 a gallon. We are literally swimming in oil, and we have more than doubled the known oil reserves due to discovery since so called ‘peak oil’ in 2006. We are being gouged, plain and simple. And this won’t change until those that bid on the oil price are forced to take delivery, removing the casino bankers from the equation that distort the market for their own profit. Don’t see anybody mentioning that!

    • woody188  February 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm

      It also seems to me that prices shot up as soon as Congress decided to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance. Meaning, people would have that extra $20 to spend each week, and the fuel companies and banks decided to take it.

  5. griff  February 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    So the rise in energy prices in the face of lower demand and increased production clearly indicates that a free and fair market does not exist, despite the oft-heard claims to the contrary.

    As woody clearly points out, gasoline prices at the pump should be far lower than they are today.

    You might remember during the summer of 2008, at the start of the financial crisis, gas prices plummetted to less than two dollars per gallon. You might also remember that as soon as the banks got their bailout gas prices began rising steadily.

    Coincidence?

    Hey every one – you are being robbed, plain and simple. You are being robbed, lied to, and thoroughly abused by the very people you elect into office.

  6. Fivebyfives  February 23, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Let’s be fair here. President Obama deserves a lot more credit than anyone here is willing to give. For instance, he’s looking towards the future….his future. Being an election year, he will make a savage butterknife thrust at the butt cheeks of greed. Upon leaving office, the forces of greed will rub the sore spot and promptly reward their “enemy’ with $10-20 million a year in speaking fees, etc.

    There is a saying that when my neighbor loses his job, it’s a recession. When I lose MY job, it’s a depression. There is a lot more depression out there than government statistics will ever let on about. But what is; is. Energy prices (and their manipulation) will put the kibosh on any “recovery” as it’s being referred to.

    Several months from now, the MSM will announce that Exxon-Mobil’s profits run in the tens of billions; the congresscritters will raise hell publicly while demanding a slice of their pie. But, at least the oil companies are providing SOMETHING in exchange for their profits. The attention should be on the tiny number of individuals on Wall St. raking in billions (for individuals) strictly on commodities speculation.

    Jay Carney or Barack Obama should desist from this infantile and insulting mantra, “there’s just nothing we can do about it.” Please…let a producer of energy make lots of money, but clamp down on the casino-disease that is killing this nation through speculation. That they CAN do something about.

    The annual ritual of energy price manipulation is no different than a roulette wheel in Vegas. We, the peons, are the little white ball tossed onto the wheel. The elites have all the chips, and we are so far down in that hole we can’t even see what’s going on.

  7. Davld Clark  February 24, 2012 at 1:06 am

    The price of gasoline in Venezuela is 12 cents per gallon. We are very clearly voting for the wrong people. Americans deserve something better than a choice between two people that have the most money.

  8. Davld Clark  February 24, 2012 at 2:40 am

    The United States produces at least twenty per cent more oil than it consumes. So just how and the hell are we dependent on foreign oil? Didn’t monopolizing and price fixing used to be against the law? Wake up America!

Comments are closed.