Obama Talks Energy Policy As Gas Prices Climb

Seeking to show he understands the burden of rising gas prices, President Barack Obama set an ambitious goal of reducing U.S. oil imports by one-third by 2025, and vowed to break through the political gridlock that has stymied similar initiatives for decades.

"Presidents and politicians of every stripe have promised energy independence but that promise has so far gone unmet," Obama said Wednesday during a speech on the nation's energy at Georgetown University.

"That has to change. We cannot keep going from shock to trance on the issue of energy security, rushing to propose action when gas prices rise, then hitting the snooze button when they fall again," he said.

Obama touted a series of initiatives — some new, but many he has previously announced — that he said would boost domestic oil production, increase the use of biofuels and natural gas, and make vehicles more energy efficient. And he embraced nuclear power as part of America's energy future, despite increased safety concerns following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan that severely damaged a nuclear power plant there.

Obama said he is determined to ensure that nuclear plants in the U.S. are safe, and has ordered a safety review of all facilities that will incorporate lessons learned from the crisis in Japan.

Gas prices shoot up
The president spoke against the backdrop of rising gas prices following unrest in the oil-rich Middle East. Gas prices in the U.S. have shot up 50 cents a gallon this year, reaching a national average of $3.58 a gallon last week, according to an automobile association's daily survey.

Republicans have blamed Obama's policies for the rising gas prices, pointing to the slow pace of issuing permits for new offshore oil wells in the wake of last summer's massive Gulf of Mexico spill and an Obama-imposed moratorium on new deep-water exploration.

The president struck back at that criticism Wednesday, saying his administration has approved 39 shallow water drilling permits since new standards were put in place last year, and seven new deep-water drilling permits in recent weeks.

"So any claim that my administration is responsible for gas prices because we've shut down oil production might make for a useful political sound bite, but doesn't track with reality," Obama said.

Obama said a significant part of his plans to cut U.S. oil imports would depend on further increases in domestic production, and he pledged to develop new incentives for companies to speed up oil and gas production on current and future leases.

An Interior Department report released Tuesday said more than two-thirds of offshore leases in the Gulf of Mexico are sitting idle, neither producing oil and gas nor being actively explored by the companies who hold the leases. The department said those leases could potentially hold more than 11 billion barrels of oil and 50 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Boosting alternative energy sources
Even if Obama's efforts can reduce U.S. demand for foreign oil, experts say that is unlikely to bring down the cost of gasoline, since oil is priced globally and increased demand from China and other developing nations continues to push prices up. A longer-term energy strategy, he said, would also depend on boosting the use of alternative energy sources, including natural gas and biofuels.

"We have to discover and produce cleaner, renewable sources of energy," Obama said. "And we have to do it quickly."

Obama called for the construction of four new advanced biofuel plants in the U.S. within the next two years. However, advanced biofuels — fuels made from non-food sources such as wood chips, switch grass or plant waste — are still in their infancy and cannot yet be made in amounts similar to corn ethanol. Congress has directed more money to research and development of those fuels in recent years as some critics of corn ethanol have linked the diversion of corn for fuel to rising food prices.

The president also ordered government agencies to ensure that by 2015, all new vehicles they purchase are alternative-fuel vehicles, including hybrid and electric. Obama has previously set a goal of putting 1 million electric vehicles on U.S. roads by 2015.

Administration officials said Obama's plans would require significant spending on research and development, though they offered no cost estimates.

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  • by Homer Simpson Location: Springfield on Apr 13, 2011 at 05:41 AM
    Well OSOC, hope and change is 3.80 a gallon now. It may go to 5.00 by Memorial day. Whoohoo!
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Apr 8, 2011 at 04:59 PM
    Anonymous on Apr 7, 2011 at 03:37 PM, well, Obama made it hard to drill in the gulf....gave 2 billion dollars to Argentina to drill and the platforms movedd there....why does Obama hate poor people and the lower class? He went up on their smokes, gas, food and clothes...is that what them meant with hope and change? I still wonder why he waited so long to send the Coast Guard to skim the oil up....turned down other countries wanting to help...did he want the oil to reach shore? You bettcha!
  • by Anonymous on Apr 7, 2011 at 12:37 PM
    It seems as if Obama doesn't want the price of gas to go down. As one of his staff memeber said "Never waste a good crisis."
  • by Obama Snake Oil Co Location: Washington on Apr 1, 2011 at 04:56 AM
    Funny, some of you blamed Bush for gas prices yet are reluctant to do that with Obama. Well, it goes both ways, suck it up, its Obamas fault now. So is his new war he added, Obamas war in Libya. He just lost his liberal and independent voter...Clints right, one and done....Obama is proof that Jimmy Carter wasn't such a bad president after all.....
    • reply
      by Henry Jones on Apr 1, 2011 at 06:52 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
      I don't recall anyone throwing shoes at Carter.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Apr 2, 2011 at 04:37 PM in reply to Henry Jones
        Thats because it wasnt worth wasting anyones time throwing a shoe at him.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Apr 2, 2011 at 01:17 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
      Have you forgotten about Bush catering to the Big Oil Companies? The country has prospered for 100 yrs until Bush drove it into the ground. The new "war" is pale in comparison to what has been spent and the number of lives lost in Iraq and Afghanistan, how many years since MISSION ACCOMPLISHED?
    • reply
      by Obama Snake Oil Co on Apr 3, 2011 at 03:34 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
      You mean the same war that Congress santioned in Iraq? and Afganistan? Get educated please! No president can make any war without congress...oops..well Obama has his war going on now...are you donating to it or just lip service? I say lip service for a failed president? Get this, Bush, you may have hated....he was two term....Obama is one and done and no longer fun....get it?
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Apr 6, 2011 at 04:40 AM in reply to Obama Snake Oil Co
        Yep, The same ones we were lied to about.
        • reply
          by Obama Snake Oil Co on Apr 6, 2011 at 05:13 AM in reply to
          REally? So that lie was told by who? Can you give us all the link to that? I have heard some even say Bush lied, however, I cannot find where he lied...do you have a secret tape?
        • reply
          by Obama Snake Oil Co on Apr 8, 2011 at 04:55 PM in reply to
          Did you find that lie yet? I am patiently waiting....
  • by Clint on Mar 31, 2011 at 12:43 PM
    Not sure what I did wrong moderator so I'll try again. This man Obama is a stinking liar and a narcissist of the first order. He is dead set against domestic oil production. What he says and what he does are entirely different. He just keeps lieing and thinks we, the great unwashed, won't remember. Watch and see that there will be no further drilling in this country so long as this sleazy, lieing, narcissist is in power. We need to drill here and drill now wherever there may be a viable drop of oil. We need to build refineries and to heck with the idiot envioronmentalists. This would create a huge number of good jobs almost overnight as well as reduce our dependance on those that hate us. We also need to kill the ethanol program. It pushes food prices up, ruins perfectly good equipment and is counter productive in so many ways. This man child Obama will never let these things happen. I have come to believe that the man is truly evil and hates this country in it's historical and present form. A purposefully evil man. If you are even moderatly successful I believe Barack Obama hates you personally. We are in such a deep hole we may never get out. We certainly won't with evil men like this one in power. God help us. As always Obama, "One and Done" Count on it!!
  • by Wolfgang Location: Chocowinity,NC on Mar 31, 2011 at 10:54 AM
    Where is Lavon to defend his favorite President? On this one. Lavon busted my chops for years on Bush and gas prices. But does anyone remember? When G W Bush left office gas at the retail pump was on adverage $1.61 per gallon. Today with Obama the gas at the retail pump is about $3.30 per gallon. That is over a 100% increase. Now with Obama's Reign of Terror on we the American people. Some predict the gas price might get to $5.00 per gallon by 2012. Oh thats the year Obama gets booted out of DC. Happy days are here again! Funny I never got any money $$$$$ for those very,very bad rich people Obama promised me. Did you?
    • reply
      by W hat ? on Mar 31, 2011 at 05:37 PM in reply to Wolfgang
      Are you saying that Bush was responsible for the $1.61 per gal??????Tell the whole story, gas was on the increase and peaked at $4.16 per gal under Bush. Actually some states were reaching the $5.00 per gal mark. Prices only dropped after July of 2008, after it was evident the Republicans were not going to take the Presidency again.(Not because Bush waved his hand and said he would drill). Remember car dealerships were stuck with SUVs and Trucks, could not sell them to anyone. http://zfacts.com/p/35.html
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 31, 2011 at 05:50 PM in reply to Wolfgang
      $1:61 per gal, that was only for about 2-3 months of his term, what about the other 96 months? Get your facts before you post.
  • by Obama Snake Oil co Location: Washington on Mar 31, 2011 at 08:04 AM
    So he failed on the budget, healthcare, got us in another war, lied about monitizing the debt..well, just about all his promises and now energy. This is not leader unless you are a sheep heading to slaughter. Some of you like Barlow, keep those blinders on, it is touching you home inspite of you defending him, he is costing you money. His new energy director said last year we should be taxed and pay $10 per gallon. Yes, fact and its online. Reality, how many Barlows drive electric cars? How many Barlows have solar panels on their house and windmills in their back yards? You can guess that one all by yourself. You don't and won't spend the money because of the cost. You want the utilities to make thei investment but will complain when you bill doubles or triples, so which is it going to be? Just remember the rallying cry for 2012; "Obama put a moritorium on drilling".....one and done, no longer fun.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 31, 2011 at 05:46 PM in reply to Obama Snake Oil co
      It does not look like the Republicans put in office in November are doing to good of a job. A lot of them are already being considered for recall. The Teaparty is already losing steam.
      • reply
        by Obama Snake Oil Co on Apr 6, 2011 at 05:14 AM in reply to
        Can you post that link about the Tea Party? From what I can find, their contributions are up and membership growing....is that what George Soros wants you to say?
  • by Sam Location: Kitty Hawk on Mar 31, 2011 at 08:01 AM
    Of course he is going to talk, and also tell lies while he is talking. Gas prices are so high cause of these treehuggers who ban the drilling off of Alaska. If this keeps up then China will steal our oil and we'll be cheated. I can't wait for November of next year so I can vote him out of office. If he were to have a second four year term, then get ready to see 50% of the nation unemployed and then people will be killing each other just for food or money. The United States would rapidly turn into a third world country. I'm not personally worried about my finances as I'm doing well but I'm worried about the people I love such as family and friends as many of them would suffer a hardship because of this terrible president. These last 4 presidents have been some of the worst presidents that the United States has had. This comes from someone who voted, McCain, Kerry, and Dole, who all lost out. Before then I was too young to vote. You listen when I tell you this, but the United States will be another Iraq if Obama is president for a second term. I'll bet half of my income on that.
  • by Enough is Enough Location: Greenville on Mar 31, 2011 at 07:25 AM
    What is he going to do about the absurd escalating prices NOW, not by 2025?
    • reply
      by Just Saying on Mar 31, 2011 at 10:23 AM in reply to Enough is Enough
      FOR REAL !!!
  • by Country Boy Location: NC on Mar 31, 2011 at 06:21 AM
    Yea, he really understands working from paycheck to paycheck and driving 100 miles a day to and from work not knowing if you are gonna make it because you have to pay 100$ a week on gas. Gimme a break. I am tired of all this talk and so-called understanding. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!!!
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