President Barack Obama has told fellow citizens there is no magic bullet to bring down high petrol prices and said he wants to end what he called US$4 billion in taxpayer subsidies to oil and gas companies.
Obama is feeling the heat from petrol prices that are at US$4 a gallon and may surge higher. A New York Times-CBS News poll found that 70% of the people believe the country is on the wrong track and analysts believe gas prices are a main reason.
The president has devoted several radio and Internet addresses to outlining his views on the US energy predicament, saying clean energy is ultimately the way forward for a country long addicted to gas-guzzling vehicles.
Now, whenever gas prices shoot up, like clockwork, you see politicians racing to the cameras, waving three-point plans for US$2 gas. You see people trying to grab headlines or score a few points. The truth is, there's no silver bullet that can bring down petrol prices right away, he said.
Obama, in the early stages of his 2012 re-election campaign, has been seeing steady improvement in the US economy. But the rising prices are forcing Americans to pay more out of their income, which some fear could harm the fragile economic recovery.
Obama said it is time to eliminate what he called $4 billion in annual taxpayer subsidies to oil and gas companies.
That's US$4 billion of your money going to these companies when they're making record profits and you're paying near record prices at the pump. It has to stop, he said.
The Obama administration unveiled a working group of federal agencies to probe potential fraud in the energy markets that affects pump prices on Thursday, including actions by speculators.
Obama accused Republicans of seeking to cut 70% in government spending to encourage development of clean energy projects. Instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy sources, we need to invest in tomorrow's; we need to invest in clean, renewable energy, he said.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said in response to the president that the Obama administration over the past two years has declared what can only be described as a war on American energy.
It's cancelled dozens of drilling leases, imposed a moratorium on drilling off the Gulf Coast and increased permit fees. It's done just about everything it can to keep our own energy sector from growing, McConnell said who added “more must be done to increase domestic oil production”.
The comments by Obama and McConnell came three days after the anniversary of the giant BP Plc oil spill off the coast of Louisiana that caused economic and environmental harm to the US Gulf Coast.