Gas Price Issue Heats Up as Obama Touts Reduced Imports

President Obama today took on GOP opponents on the hottest issue of the moment – climbing gas prices – by touting a report showing that oil imports decreased in 2011 by one million barrels a day.
As gas prices potentially head toward $5 a gallon in some parts of the nation, Americans are souring on Obama’s handling of the economy, despite an improving employment outlook and robust stock market.
A new Washington Post-ABC poll found that disapproval of the president’s handling of the economy increased to 50 percent, up from 46 percent when the survey was taken last month. Nearly two-thirds disapprove of his handling of gas prices.
Obama today issued a statement on the “progress report” from members of his administration.
“As the report highlights, we have made progress, with imports of foreign oil decreasing by a million barrels a day in the last year alone,” Obama said. “Our focus on increased domestic oil and gas production, currently at an eight year high, combined with the historic fuel economy standards we put in place, means that we will continue to reduce our nation’s vulnerability to the ups and downs of the global oil market.”
Republicans contend that Obama has held back energy production with regulations and other unnecessary delays. They point to the administration’s block of the TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL oil pipeline. The administration has said more time is needed to evaluate its impact on the environment.
The price of gasoline at the pump has surged more than 12 cents to a national average of $3.81 per gallon over the past two weeks, according to the Lundberg Survey. The highest price of $4.35 a gallon was posted in Los Angeles.
But even the president concedes there is more that needs to be done by his administration to prevent rising oil prices from derailing the economic recovery.
“And yet, despite the gains we’ve made, today’s high gas prices are a painful reminder that there’s much more work to do free ourselves from our dependence on foreign oil and take control of our energy future,” Obama said.

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