President Barack Obama is embarking on a national tour to tout his administration's energy policies, reflecting how rising gas prices have moved to the forefront of the presidential race.
Obama will visit a solar panel facility in Nevada, oil and gas drilling rigs in New Mexico, a section of Oklahoma containing the southern half of the highly politicized Keystone XL pipeline and an advanced energy research and development center at Ohio State University.
The choices are meant to symbolize the president's all of the above approach to energy that includes increased and expanded oil and natural gas drilling, cultivating alternative energy and hiking fuel efficiency standards. Obama has dismissed a barrage of attacks by Republican presidential candidates on his energy policy as partisan electioneering.
No 'Quick Fix' To High Gasoline Prices
It's easy to promise a quick fix when it comes to gas prices, Obama said in his weekly address Saturday. There just isn't one. Anyone who tells you otherwise -- any career politician who promises some three-point plan for $2 gas - they're not looking for a solution. They're just looking for your vote.
The men vying for the Republican presidential nomination have stepped up their attacks on the issue, increasingly incorporating rising gas prices into a critique of the president. Mitt Romney said on Fox News Sunday that members of the Obama administration had conspired to keep gas prices high and called for their resignation.
When [President Obama] ran for office, he said he wanted to see gasoline prices go up, Romney said. He said that energy prices would skyrocket under his views, and he selected three people to help him implement that program. The secretary of energy, the secretary of interior and EPA administrator. And this gas hike trio has been doing the job over the last three-and-a-half years, and gas prices are up.
Newt Gingrich has vowed to slash prices to $2.50 a gallon if elected by opening up more drilling and completing the Keystone pipeline. Obama slammed such promises in February -- Step one is drill, step two is drill, and step three is keep drilling -- and added that we can't just drill our way to lower prices.
The evidence appears to bear the president out on this point. An Associated Press analysis found no correlation between energy prices and the amount of energy flowing from American wells. Economists also point out that crude oil is traded on a world market, making U.S. energy policies only one of many factors in fluctuating prices.