Obama Slams GOP 'Bumper Sticker' on Drilling

President Barack Obama on Thursday waded into the politically charged debate over gasoline prices, saying he knows high prices at the pump cause pain and criticizing Republican calls for more drilling as a "bumper sticker."

"Just like last year, gas prices are climbing across the country, except this time even earlier. And that hurts everyone," Obama said while speaking at the University of Miami. He accused Republicans of seizing the high gasoline prices to call for more drilling.

"And you can bet that since it's an election year, they're already dusting off their three-point plan for $2 gas. I'll save you the suspense: Step 1 is 'Drill,' Step 2 is 'Drill,' and then Step 3 is 'Keep drilling,'" he said. "Well, the American people aren't stupid. They know that's not a plan, especially since we're already drilling. That's a bumper sticker."

The president's remarks come as the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the U.S. has risen about 22 cents in the last month to $3.61, mostly because of fears of a supply disruption due to increased tension with Iran. Republicans, including those running for president, have blamed the increasing costs on Obama and said he needs to expand domestic drilling.

Obama sought to deflect blame and tout his own energy policy. To avoid "these annual gas price spikes," Obama said, the U.S. needs to develop oil, natural gas, wind, solar, nuclear, biofuels and other energy resources.

He said U.S. oil production last year reached its highest level in eight years.

He also used the gasoline prices to bolster his case for ending tax breaks for oil and natural gas companies. A tax plan the president released Wednesday calls for eliminating the tax breaks, while proposing to continue and expand tax incentives for clean-energy production.

Obama said giving tax breaks to oil and natural gas companies is "outrageous. It's inexcusable."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said he doesn't think anyone could show him how raising taxes on energy companies would lower gasoline prices. "But since nobody can, and the president doesn't, this is merely an attempt to deflect from his failed policies," McConnell said.

Republicans have said the Obama administration should open up more land and offshore areas to drilling. Republican presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich, at a debate Wednesday in Arizona, said increased drilling could bring gasoline prices down to $2.50 a gallon.

Obama said the amount of oil drilled in the U.S. doesn't set the price of gasoline. He said the situation with Iran is creating uncertainty. "When uncertainty increases, speculative trading on Wall Street increases and that drives up prices even more. So those are short-term factors at work," he said.

He said increasing demand for oil in countries such as China and Brazil will be the main long-term factor in driving up prices. "So what does that mean for us? It means that anyone who tells you that we can drill our way out of this problem doesn't know what they're talking about, or just isn't telling you the truth," he said.

Copyright (c) 2012 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


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Collins | Feb. 28, 2012
Economics 101: All real wealth comes from the Earth. If you want wealth you have to take it from the Earth. If you are not increasing your wealth then you are decreasing your wealth.

Patrick | Feb. 28, 2012
Very simple. No new refineries have been built in 30 years has an effect. Some of the refineries that were built have been taken out of service due to their age, that has an effect. The federal government, in its infinite wisdom requiring that 20 different blends of gasoline be manufactured has an effect. Build 2-3 NEW refineries, and end the ridiculous EPA requirements on blends and prices will drop.

Brian | Feb. 27, 2012
It is not about US supply and demand... it is Worldwide supply and demand. China is demanding more and more resources which is going to drive the market higher. The US does not set the price of fuel.

mark green | Feb. 26, 2012
I, as most people, don't understand the high cost of gas. I worked on the north slope, for several years. We have more capped oil wells than ones on line. In the news last week, one of the news feeds mentioned a question ... if we are short on gas and that makes the price go up, why in the hell are exporting our fuel to other countries? If we have so much fuel that we can export doesnt it make sense that we have more than enough fuel for us. Just a thought.

Gary | Feb. 25, 2012
Perfectly obvious to me that speculation is driving the price of gasoline up now, and not lack of drilling as some who are not in the industry seem to think here. If you can read, read this article "Crude Math: What Is Really Impacting Gasoline Demand", Demand is dropping! Gasoline at the retail pump is priced based on the future cost of the next load of gasoline, and then factoring in location plus loss leader pricing to attract customers to the business. Blame the idiots who are beating the drums of war now. Who benefits from a war in Iran? Ron Paul has it right. Stay out of wars there. (and gasoline prices will drop). As for the keystone pipe line, near as I can tell it is being built so the Canadians have a convenient port to export crude and refined products from, without having to install refineries on their west coast. Now, their oil ends up in Oklahoma, where prices are not as good as those internationally.

Ken | Feb. 24, 2012
This is what you get when you elect a President with no experience in a for profit company. Hes never had to make a payroll and understands nothing about how a business works. Hes hired a bunch of people just like him to run the various agencies. Weve got liberal "theory" running the country. When I read the statements he made I cannot believe anyone would think this guy has a clue about energy. Put more money into green energy while cutting tax incentives for energy producers? Last time I checked about a billion dollars in loans had been defaulted on by his green car companies and solar panel companies. Hes a socialist and arrogant enough to keep spouting his mantra of what we all should believe is good for us.

Sean | Feb. 24, 2012
Obama seems to think that oil and gas just "magically" seep from the ground. He really needs to hire the following people to give him energy advice: a reservoir engineer, to explain the economics, a completions engineer, to explain the operation of hydraulic fracturing, a drilling engineer, to explain the difficulties of making a very long hole, and one more group of people, town hall style. He needs to speak to the people who have built service/catering/etc. businesses around the boom. These folks are creating jobs and putting people back to work faster than any "government sponsored" program. One and done PLEASE!!!!

Pete | Feb. 24, 2012
According to Obama, speculative trading, which affects supply an demand indirectly, is the major factor driving up the prices. However, he concludes that drilling and developing additional oil resources in our country, which would increase domestic supply in a direct manner, would do nothing to reduce prices??? If adequate supply exists here domestically, the geopolitical events in the mid east would not have as big of a potential impact, and there would be less incentive or reasons for speculators to enter the oil markets. Iran is less of a destabilizing force than our own President and his socialist-environmentalist party! Excuse me while I go puke.

Jose Gonzalez | Feb. 24, 2012
I think Obama is absolutely rigth and he knows what is talking about. The speculation of Oil prices is driving it to go up. I mean the speculative trading on Wall Street. I know that we can blame China for the demand on Oil, but no Brazil, because it produces its own, beside Ethanol. I hope that Oil prices will go down once the speculation is over and the uncertainty decreases in Iran.

Charlotte | Feb. 24, 2012
People cant even make vacation plans, isn't life up in the air enough? the prototype for an electric engine has be

Christy | Feb. 24, 2012
Doesn't the fact that Mr. Obama said no to the Keystone Oil pipeline say exactly what his policy is on domestic drilling? Mr. Obama is a hypocrite. While that Cadillac pulls up to the White House and that helicopter lands on the White House grounds, and Air Force One lands at the airport nearby to haul him wherever he wants, He doesn't need to worry about pushing his own credit card thru a slot to fill either of the 3 when we the taxpayer do so for him.. If he wants America to be oil independent he should throw the first stone meaning he should open more drilling here at home. There is no such thing as alternative energy. You cannot make something out of nothing. Quote "If it cannot be grown it has to be mined." Does more need to be said?

todd | Feb. 24, 2012
Doesn't sound to familiar maybe because I don't have any anticapitalist friends or acquaintances, just American working people, that vote

Josh | Feb. 24, 2012
I agree with the last comment, how does Obama think he will fix the problem with an "Energy Secretary" that has never worked in the energy industry. Pull some CEOs from some major drilling companies in and get their feedback. I pray everyday that he is a one term president.

david warner | Feb. 24, 2012
I think Obama is just playing as usual democratic tax and spend

Howard Butler | Feb. 24, 2012
Now that we have a surplus of natural gas, we should be doing all possible to promote conversion of vehicles to natural gas fuel. The current cost of conversion is prohibitive due to extremely high fees & restrictions on natural gas conversion systems for on the road vehicles. Stop subsidies for Oil Companies, ease restrictions on natural gas conversions systems & give the natural gas fuel conversion system & developers the subsidies for a few years! Cost of natural gas is currently under $2 per gasoline gallon equivalent - yet the expenses & restrictions on conversions to natural gas prevent us from using this readily available fuel source!

MAB | Feb. 24, 2012
What I want to know is how Jerry got a hold of a computer?? If you want to make an intelligent comment, at least hit spell check. Frack the Planet!

Bob | Feb. 24, 2012
Talk, talk, talk...blah blah blah...I'm sick of it. Were a nation of great ideas and capabilities but cant do anything with them. The technology for drilling that is out there today is amazing, and there is no reason for us to be dependent on outside resources.

Billy | Feb. 24, 2012
I would think President Obama would realize how important it is for the US to Drill Baby Drill. After all SIXTEEN VACATIONS in three years requires one heck of a lot of jet fuel!

John Doe 1 | Feb. 24, 2012
I hate them all. I pipeline for a living, but get real. Gas prices will drop 10-15 cents a gallon, and then rise .50 cents. When in doubt? Open up a history book!

bill | Feb. 24, 2012
The fact that the President somehow takes credit for the rapid rise in US production is absolute politics. Anyone associated with the oil business knows it has taken place in spite of the President. The President has recently touted opening up other areas of the US to "exploration". Once again, anyone associated with the oil business knows that exploration by no means equates to the right to drill or produce. In fact, not if, but when the various governmental agencies slow roll or stop the exploration process from moving forward, the President would be in his second term and my opinion is he will do nothing to hasten the removal of governmental roadblocks. So the bumper sticker effect works and works well. Lets talk fracturing; the various resource plays that require fracturing to succeed have created tens of thousands of new millionaires many of which previously depended on farm subsidies to keep the family farm alive and make ends meet. They are now a target for higher taxes and many would likely vote the other way. A chance remains that the EPA will place a moratorium on fracking to further address previous concerns and my opinion is that the President will not do a single thing to rein them in. Once again, he would be in a second term and his bumper sticker of pro domestic energy succeeded. The oil and gas industry is the only one actually creating jobs and vast wealth in the process. The idea is to make the pie larger, not continue to slice it into smaller pieces.

stephen | Feb. 24, 2012
Raising taxes on oil companies and giving more breaks to failing alternative energy companies is only pandering to enviro-whackos, and makes absolutely no sense. Why no Canadian pipeline? Stupid policy and more pandering. Government taxes and regulations are two of the largest cost problems for gasoline prices. Fire Obama and things will improve.

Jim | Feb. 24, 2012
Just more left wing nonsense from the executive branch of government. Even if you could implement all of his green energy programs, it would take years to accomplish. By increasing production, we could lower our energy costs and dependance on foreign sources, lower the amount of money we are currently sending to these sources, and very likely lower our overall energy costs.

Les | Feb. 24, 2012
As usual the current president is blowing smoke out of his pie hole. That's why he gave so much money to George Soros so Petrobas Brazil could drill for oil in offshore areas of Brazil. You're right about one thing though, the American people aren't stupid. Blind maybe, but not stupid. Blind that they voted for you in the first place.

Raywood Menard | Feb. 24, 2012
Ok so the slogan is stupid, he said this to gain respect, he wants respect do something with "Wall Street" and really fix the problem!

floyd bergeron | Feb. 24, 2012
I think drilling should increase but gasoline should go down

Jacson rasmussen | Feb. 24, 2012
Sorry people of America, but you elected a moron. Drilling does most definitely change the prices at the pump. When they say its due to uncertainties in Iran its because they are worried about us being able to buy it at a good price/alternative drill more here so we dont have to buy so much from them. Along with every oil well comes material gas, kill two birds with one stone start exporting the only fuel we have an abundance of. Lets make our own energy people and make Alittle money while we still can, that is of course if we can get all the little democrat trust fund babies and welfare generations to maybe/ get this go do some work get a job. Well thats enough babbling I am going to bed got to get up in four hours to go make a living for my family. God bless the USA, love this country, gooodnight yall have a good Friday. Sincerely, Jacson Rasmussen

Gregory | Feb. 23, 2012
With over 20 years in the oil field. I have yet to see a national energy plan that makes sense. We always seem to drill when the price is high and slow down on the downside. Brazil, after the embargo of the 70s, made a point to become energy independent by a mix of bio fuels and petroleum based fuels. We should look to people in the industry to work with our leaders to develop an energy plan that will meet our needs and help to pay off our national debt. Whatever it takes.

jerry blankenship | Feb. 23, 2012
i think everyone in gov. should git off their bottoms and put the EPA in their places and mine coal and screw the oil companies that all congress and senate has stock in and don't care about the country just themselves screw the poor they aren't important just ask ROMANY


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