President Barack Obama Thursday
ridiculed his political opponents for rejecting his plans for reducing
U.S. dependence on foreign oil. The president again sought public
support for his energy policy, as rising gasoline prices threaten his
President Obama visited a community college near Washington Thursday, to
once again make the case for what he calls his “all-of-the-above” energy
He said opposition Republicans’ calls to reduce soaring gasoline prices
by increasing drilling for domestic oil would not make the United States
less dependent on oil from overseas.
“It cannot just be drilling for more oil," said President Obama. "We are
drilling for more oil, but that cannot be all the solution. That is just
part of the solution.”
Mr. Obama says he has dramatically increased the amount of domestic oil
drilling in his three years in office. But he says other approaches are
needed, including alternative sources of energy and more fuel-efficient
He blasted Republican presidential candidates who dismiss his calls for
increased reliance on wind and solar energy, comparing them to science
skeptics of the past.
“If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail, they must
have been founding members of the Flat Earth Society," Obama said. "They
would not have believed that the world was round.”
The president also said the forces driving up oil prices are beyond his
control. He mentioned instability in the Middle East and growing
international demand for gasoline as the main factors.
“You have got rapidly growing nations like China and India, and they are
all starting to buy cars," he said. "They are getting wealthier. They
want cars too. And that means the price of gas will rise.”
Chief oil analyst Tom Kloza, with the Oil Price Information Service,
says swelling global demand is one of three factors driving up oil
“Number one, rising demand in developing countries outside of the U.S.
and Europe," said Kloza. "Number two, Iran and the notion that something
could happen there that inhibits selling into the market. And number
three, there is a lot of investment and a lot of speculation in oil.”
Kloza says there is not much a U.S. president can do to stop oil prices
from rising, aside from threatening new regulations or limits on
“If you put a little fear of God into the speculators and into the
people who think that there is only an upside for crude oil or gasoline,
prices could be tempered," he said.
president later brushed off a question about whether he has decided to
ease gasoline prices by releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum
Reserve, an emergency store of oil kept by the U.S. government.
A few minutes later, his spokesman, Jay Carney, denied reports that Mr.
Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron had agreed, at their
meeting Wednesday, to tap the Strategic Reserve.
“It is inaccurate, as was reported today, that any kind of agreement was
reached on a course of action, or that any kind of timetable associated
with a course of action was agreed to," said Carney. "Those reports are
wrong. They are false.”
With the presidential election less than eight months away, public
opinion polls show that voters are concerned about rising gasoline
prices, and many blame the president.