Mitt Romney
A new ad from an Obama-backing super PAC claims the money Big Oil has made from high gas prices has gone toward supporting Mitt Romney's presidential campaign. REUTERS

Priorities USA Action, a super PAC backing President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, is already going negative in anticipation of Mitt Romney winning the Republican nomination.

The new ad, which tethers Romney to Big Oil at a time where rising gas prices are a top issue for the media and politicians alike, was released in response to a recent industry-backed ad assailing Obama's energy record.

Who is behind this ad smearing President Obama? Big Oil, that's who. The money they make from high gas prices is going right into Mitt Romney's campaign, states the new ad, which was released online on Monday. Big Oil executives have pledged $200 million to help him. And Romney has pledged to protect their record profits and their billions in special tax breaks, too.

The ad, made to strike back at the GOP-leaning American Energy Alliance, will begin airing in eight swing states this week. The dueling political advertisements highlight the election-year stakes of increasingly expensive gas prices, as each side blames the other.

Although industry experts say policymakers have little control of how much gas costs at the pump -- something the American public reportedly understands, according to recent polls from Bloomberg and the National Journal -- lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have intensified their attacks on political foes as gas prices inch toward a national average of $4 a gallon.

On March 29, the American Energy Alliance unveiled a $3.6 million ad buy that focus on common Republican criticisms of Obama's energy policy. The 30-second ad slams the president for approving a $535 million loan guarantee to the failed solar panel maker Solyndra and alleges he has not made enough federal land available for domestic oil and gas drilling.

Both of the political ads were released after the U.S. Senate last week killed a Democratic effort that would have stripped five multinational oil companies of billions of dollars of tax breaks. In his proposed budget for 2013, Obama outlined plans to remove $41 billion in oil industry subsidies over the next decade.

The oil and gas industry has donated huge quantities to political campaigns as well as political action committees during the 2012 election cycle, about 88 percent of which has gone to Republicans, according to an analysis from the Center for Responsive Politics.