President Barack Obama on Monday praised a year-long program to spur U.S. efforts towards expanding domestic energy sources while spurning foreign oil, saying the initiative has led to fewer oil imports, more domestic production and better fuel economy standards.
As he has in recent weeks, Obama trumpeted an "all-of-the-above" strategy to the country's energy situation, emphasizing that the U.S. needs to wean itself away from foreign oil sources while boosting production at home.
Specifically, Obama said his "Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future" has cut oil imports by 10 percent in just one year, thanks to "booming" oil and gas production, higher efficiency standards for vehicles and an improved refining sector. Obama said oil imports should be reduced by one-third by 2020.
The Obama administration has been under intense political pressure in recent weeks as gas prices have soared. Motorist group AAA reported the average per-gallon gas price at $3.80 on Monday, up from $3.79 on Sunday and well above the $3.56 seen a year ago.
The president emphasized that his effort is unfinished.
"Just like last year, gas prices are climbing across the country - except this time, even earlier. While there are no silver bullets to solve these challenges, the Obama Administration will continue to build on the progress we've made over the past three years," the White House said in a statement.
The statement added, "Through a sustained, all-of-the-above approach to American energy, we'll work to restore middle class security, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and create an economy that's built to last."
The White House said domestic oil and gas production has climbed upward every year Obama has been in office and is now at the highest level in almost 10 years. Meanwhile, the president claimed credit for issuing the toughest fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles in U.S. history, as well as the first-ever standards for heavy trucks.
Obama also said his administration has implemented energy upgrades in homes across the country, doubled renewable energy production, worked to develop advanced, alternative fuels and invested in new research.
But Obama's poll numbers do not reflect appreciatively on Monday's announcement. In a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, 59 percent of the survey's respondents disapprove of his handling of the economy.
The poll also found that just 26 percent approve of the president's handling of the situation with gas prices compared to 65 percent that disapprove.
by RTT Staff Writer
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