Gasoline prices weighing down Obama, poll finds


Nearly two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the way President Barack Obama has handled rising gasoline prices, according to a new poll.

The ABC News-Washington Post poll found that 65 percent of respondents said they disapprove of the way he’s handling the matter, while just 26 percent approve. The survey likely will give ammunition to Republicans who have sought to blame Obama for the recent gasoline price surge by arguing that his policies have impeded oil-and-gas production.

Prices skyrocketed nationally over the weekend, and analysts suggest they could hit $4 by Memorial Day weekend. But they say that presidents, regardless of their party, have virtually no control over costs at the pump and that tensions in Iran are the main reason behind the recent run-up in the price of a barrel of oil.

The poll nonetheless suggests that the White House faces a significant political threat from gasoline prices that threaten to rile consumers and slow the economic recovery just as it’s speeding up. A new CBS News-New York Times poll released Monday evening shows Obama’s approval rating falling to 41 percent, a drop that “may be partially attributable to rising gas prices.”

The White House deflected the ABC News-Washington Post poll at a news briefing today.

“I think the fact of the matter is, the president, the administration, is not focused on polling data,” said Jay Carney, the top White House spokesman.

But in a sign Obama and his political aides have major concerns about gasoline prices, the White House also released a new report Monday seeking to highlight the progress his administration has made on energy.

Republicans have accused Obama of limiting access to oil-rich federal lands and waters, considering regulations that impede production, and slowing down the permitting process for offshore drilling, among other things. Obama has responded no short-term silver bullets exist for rising gasoline prices and has criticized Republicans for “licking their chops” on the issue.

The White House report Monday lists these accomplishments:

  • Net oil imports have fallen below 50 percent, U.S. oil production reached an 8-year high in 2011, and rig counts have skyrocketed.
  • The administration plans to hold several more lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico and even off the Alaska coast.
  • The administration has finalized fuel-efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses, and proposed doubling fuel economy for passenger vehicles to 54.5 miles per gallon by model year 2025.
  • The Department of Energy and Department of Housing and Urban Development have installed efficiency upgrades on 1 million American homes since late 2009.
  • Renewable power generation has nearly doubled since 2008.
  • The administration beat by one year its goal of breaking ground on four commercial-scale biorefineries by 2013.

“What this president has done from day one is to move forward with the kind of energy policy and strategy that includes the ‘all-of-the-above’ energy program that we’re implementing,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, “because that’s the only way that we’re going to get to a point where we stop having the kinds of price shocks and disruptions that we’ve been seeing since the formation of OPEC and in fact even before the formation of OPEC.”

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and other Republicans have dubbed Obama’s policy a “none-of-the-above” strategy, saying he has impeded oil production on the federal lands and waters he controls and citing his administration’s rejection of a permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., ranking member on the House Natural Resources Committee, came to Obama’s defense on Monday after the report’s release.

“Increased domestic oil and gas production, historic new fuel economy standards, coupled with expanded renewable energy generation and improved energy efficiency represents a vision that strikes fear in hearts of the OPEC oil cartel and the Big Oil companies who want to keep us addicted to high-priced oil,” Markey said in an emailed statement.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that the Keystone XL, which would pipe oil-sands crude from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries, “won’t lower the price of oil” because some of it could go for export and because “construction won’t be complete for a long, long time.” The Senate recently rejected amending a transportation bill with a provision to approve the pipeline.

Obama has said he rejected the permit not on its merits but because lawmakers imposed a deadline that didn’t allow adequate review. The company proposing the pipeline, TransCanada, can reapply.

But Obama’s Democratic allies have also pressured the administration on a number of fronts about stabilizing oil prices.

Markey and others have asked the White House to release oil from the 700-million-barrel Strategic Petroleum Reserve, while others suggest reining in “excessive speculation” by investors who buy into oil futures only with the interest of making a profit by selling when the prices rise. Analysts have raised issues with both those techniques.

Still other Democrats have pressed the State Department to ask Saudi Arabia to boost its production to address the Iranian supply concerns. Republicans have responded that the U.S. should do more to boost its own supply instead of relying on Middle Eastern oil. But Democrats note that it would take years for more U.S. production to come online and even then its effect on global oil prices would be minimal.

White House Energy Progress Report

This story was last updated at 6:27 p.m.

Puneet Kollipara

38 Responses

  1. ntangle says:

    clr55 claimed: A car with a gas/CNG combination beats the heck out of the Volt with its 35 mile range. CNG technology is proven, electric cars – not.
    As if ICE/Elec hybrid technology is unproven. There are hundreds of thousands of hybrids using ICE & EV, many of them plug-in hybrids. There are even diesel/electric locomotives. Not nearly as many CNG passenger cars in this city as EV & hybrid. Farmer Brown might want a CNG pickup truck out in Dogpatch though if his irrigation pumps are NG powered.

    BTW, the Volt goes 35-40 mi. before it switches to fossil fuel (Over twice my average R/T commute of 16 mi. How many miles does a CNG vehicle go before it switches to fossil fuel?

  2. clrob says:

    Ignorance really is bliss…same thing happened around this time last year and the price of gas went back down to close to $3.00 within a few weeks.

  3. YeahBuddy says:

    Obama has always said that high energy prices would be a good thing (prices will ‘necessarily’ rise), and Stephen Chu wants U.S. gas prices to equal those in Europe (currently $8 per gallon). When recently asked about their comments, neither retracted their prior statements, and both acknowledged that high energy prices was not good, politically. No hint they have changed their position, though.
    After these guys are given another 4 years (with NO recourse), expect energy prices to go up. Taxes, speculation, limits on production, cap and trade. It will absolutely strangle the middle class. The poor will get some kind of government entitlement program to help them offset the costs.

  4. Holly says:

    Joe Biden: Republicans Don’t Know What it Means to be Middle Class
    Biden made the remarks at the Georgetown home of Senator John Kerry, where some 87 guests paid a minimum of $10,000 per couple to dine on char-grilled grass-fed New York strip steaks and white truffle mashed potatoes beneath a tent basked in soft pink lighting. Biden told attendees that he is confident about Obama’s reelection because Republicans are being open about their intent to cut programs important to a large swatch of the electorate — the middle class.
    middle class can you a afford a minimum of $10,000 per couple to dine on char-grilled grass-fed New York strip steaks and white truffle mashed potatoes ? What is $ 5.00 at the pumps ?

  5. bubbabobcat says:

    Itsmetres wrote, “FACT, leases on federal lands are at record lows.”

    Brian wrote “Permits and leases from the Federal government are significantly lacking.”

    It’s ironic and comical that you tell someone else they are not entitled to their own facts, and then you make up your own without even providing a source for your “facts”.

    The truth is permits have been issued, but it is the drilling companies who are not doing their part.

    “The Bureau of Land Management issued 4,090 drilling permits in fiscal 2010, but oil and gas operators drilled 1,480 new wells, using about 36 percent of permits issued.

    “The downturn in drilling on public lands is purely a function of internal corporate decisions and declining natural gas prices.”

    Try getting your facts straight and providing proof of them before you criticize anyone else on their veracity.

  6. passepartout says:

    High energy prices tells me that the global and U.S. economy is getting better. We are emerging from the wore recession since the 1930’s.
    Growing economies increase the demand for energy and drives up prices. Geopolitical sable rattling does as well. As Alice Rivlin commented earlier, “does the American people really think that the president can affect energy prices?” It seems that only the conservatives think so, but facts were never really their strong suit.

  7. LibsRDumb says:

    He and the rest of the libs are too stupid to realize how negatively this affects the economy. His answers of green energy and smaller vehicles just demonstrate the level of his ignorance. With diesel fuel over $4/gallon what do you think that does to consumer prices? People having to pour ridiculous priced gas in their tanks just to go to work takes away from spending thus stagnating the economy even more.
    Hopefully Americans that voted for this Bozo get over their “feel good” reason for voting for this fraud and he is ousted in November.

  8. Indianpaintbrush says:

    “The Department of Energy and Department of Housing and Urban Development have installed efficiency upgrades on 1 million American homes since late 2009.”
    Oh, joy! This means that the average hud occupant may have a more energy efficient home than the average taxpayer…. and taxpayers footed the expense.

  9. bob says:





  10. Reidthis says:

    What a crock of crap and back patting for things that haven’t happened or he tried to hinder but couldn’t (domestic production). I just had to re-swallow my breakfast. Makes me sick reading the cheerleader report. Lies and mirrors.

  11. Rancher says:

    Well Mr Bobo: I use a tire gauge on all of my cars, trucks and trailers. All of my freinds and family do the same,so we should be energy independent. If we were liberal and communist free we would not be having this problem. If the price of fuel does not come down there is little chance of meaningful recovery. Going to CNG for passengers cars and buses would be a huge help. Leave the diesel for truck and tractors and gasoline for small engines.

  12. SaltWaterCroc says:

    It’s all a socialist plot, I tell you. The only cause for gas prices is the President, and only he can lower them. It has absolutely nothing to do with Wall Street, oil and gas speculators, the crisis in Greece, the need for oil in China, the call for war in Iran, or profit motives. Just click your heels 3 times and repeat, it is all the President’s fault….
    When you wake up, I’m sure you will feel much better.

  13. texasholdum says:

    Hey it’s not just Gasoline prices weighing him down, How about his Foreign policy, Mexican policy, Economy policy,Judicial policy,Israel policy,unemployment policy,White House policy. Should I go on ??? I can if you want me to!

  14. joe bleaux says:

    I don’t care if he is actually at fault or not, just glad he is getting the blame..

  15. Adler says:

    All the clues were right there in Obama’s books, especially his 1st. The probelm is that they require a ton of additional research to know what really makes him tick.

    While he may think his ideas are mainstream, center of the road, they are as far left as you can get. Why? Because he was steeped in the far left ideology as a child and teenager.

    He’s got less science background than Al Gore, and Gore only has 2 science classes in his transcript, one with a D and the other a C.

    He’s surrounded himself with fellow leftists as the majority of his advisers.

    While Steven Chu may be a brilliant physicist, he’s got no background in real energy sources for mass consumption.

  16. Old_Fighter says:

    Just look at the many “high points” of this regime over the past three plus years! This is the “savior” who gave us highest-priced oil in decades, Obamacare, amnesty without Congressional approval, “stimulus” after “stimulus” (What an oximoron), 40 or so “Czars of this and that” with their respective staffs and bureaucracies, hundreds of millions of tax dollars for personal “vacations” and campaign pay-offs, and the list just goes on and on! So, it is quite clear that this gas price rise is only to have been expected and it will get tho where Obama wants it, i.e. the price levels of Europe, if we are dumb enough to but him and his lap dogs back in the White House for another term!!

  17. Brian says:

    Oil companies are drilling more in spite of roadblocks from the Whitehouse. They are drilling on State and Private lands. Obama is dishonest when trying to take credit for more drilling. Permits and leases from the Federal government are significantly lacking.

  18. txloanguy says:

    Your total lack of knowledge on this topic is showing. Obama shut down ALL of the new offshore areas that Bush had approved, then shut down the Gulf. Get your head out and watch the gas prices rise because of Obama and his Agenda.

  19. Kurt says:

    It’s amusing when I see comments regarding the price of fuel when President Bush left office. Fuel was less than a buck when Preaident Clinton left office, but I guess that is too long ago for people to remember. Gas was going up and people were grumbling back then

  20. agaudi says:

    Europe and the rest of the world are developing new technologies that will give them the economic edge in technology and products, as America unthinkingly erodes into a third world nation as our politicians who are beholden to fossil fuel companies, legislate for them to make billions of dollars. A car that runs on compressed air (that should be an American idea and benefit America’s economy), is a French invention that orchestrates old technologies into a new chassis. Behold this newsworthy clip (that is not ready for U.S. corporate controlled prime time news or even political debate) edited from HD Theater, “The Future Car: Fuel”. Just another example of how corporations who control our legislative and executive branches of government are misallocating our resources, treasury and wealth, to insure their short term wealth and global domination, as we deteriorate economically and do nothing to preserve our economic leadership. WATCH THIS….

  21. clr55 says:

    for those of us with natural gas homes, our filling station is in our driveway. All that would be required would be a home filling apparatus – yes I know they are pricey, but the wonderful government could give an incentive if they want to. I know of four CNG locations in Houston, one of which is just down the road from my work. Diamond Shamrock started putting CNG tanks in some of their stations in the late 90’s.

    A car with a gas/CNG combination beats the heck out of the Volt with its 35 mile range. CNG technology is proven, electric cars – not.

  22. chiefdecoy says:

    while others suggest reining in “excessive speculation”
    That was one of this idiots campaign promises. Oops, he did it again….
    I work for a major offshore drilling company. Let me tell you. There may be a “Recor number of rigs in the GOM”, but they AINT drillin’……

  23. kegger says:

    I’m confused by all of this. President Obama’s policies are working. His goal is to drive energy prices higher so that his uneconomic “green” technologies will thrive. 1. Cripple off-shore drilling for US oil. Done. 2. Increase environmental regulation to force domestic refineries to close, increasing refined gasoline costs. Done. 3. Stop light, sweet crude from an American ally being pipelined to the US, instead being sold to China, driving up the cost of American crude oil. Done. 4. Fund failed solar companies that pay cash bonuses to execs, and then make the US an unsecured lender so that in bankruptcy it collects nothing. Done. 5. Have an Energy Secretary that admits he wants to drive the price of gasoline higher and would love to add additional gas taxes. Done. Smile Obama. Work on your NCAA bracket. Your plan is working.

  24. boy4riend says:

    All I can say is when Obama was inaugurated, the price of gas was $1.75/gallon that day.
    He’s a “one and done” President. Thank God!!!

  25. ntangle says:

    There is more infrastructure in place for CNG than there is for electric cars.
    Oh, really? I have an all electric house. There’s no NG distribution in my whole neighborhood. All I’d need to recharge an EV is an extension cord, either to my 120V for all night or 240V for < 4 hrs (if the batt was fully depleted). CP is already putting in charging stations (eVgo, including some fast 480VDC ones) at lots of public places. How many public CNG filling stations (for passenger cars) are already in CoH?

  26. Dollar says:

    He’s been far too concerned with CO2 emissions, that gasoline prices. And in fact, high gasoline prices assist his goals for CO2 emissions.

    That is the problem.

    He and Chu have an energy policy that is aimed 30 years into the future …….. rather than now.

    It makes me cringe to hear him say ” there are no quick fixes ” , ohh really, well he could’ve started working on the problem when he got elected, and we could be three years down the road.

    He could also have spent more time on Iran … rather than focus all his time to health care.

    Iran is his problem , and now he can’t do what needs to be done in Iran, without tanking our economy and him getting beat in November.

    He should be fired, and the sooner he’s gone, the better.

  27. don says:

    The facts are that Gas prices have soared during the Presidency of Obama.

    It hurts us in so many many ways. . . I had a small business and UPS began adding a surcharge to deliveries. . . and that’s going on everywhere we shop. . . .

    Farmers who use tractors see the cost of producing their food going up . . and guess who will pay. .

    But employers pinched for profits and survival aren’t giving raises. . .and most still are not expanding. . . so the common Joe.. or Joann has been suffering and will suffer more it looks like in the near future.

    If you want my vote President Obama. . .stop making high promises and start making low gas. . .Do approve the Keystone Pipeline. . . do approve drilling in Alaska. . . Do approve accelerated use of our domestic energies. . . quit giving rich people $10,000 to buy $40,000 Volts. . . that’s really not helping me. . .

  28. Txsfred says:

    Bobo, I will bet you that President Obama, an immature campus commie, could not operate a tire gauge. He probably has a tire gauge Czar who can’t operate one either.

  29. Kave says:

    “he keeps wanting to add regulations to further dampen the oil independence ”

    What else is he proposing?

  30. Common Sense says:

    Idiot-in-Chief blamed Dubya for high gas prices while running for POTUS, now he’s throwing everybody under the bus due to his incompetence on energy policy while being blinded by his far-left ideology.

  31. Bobo Jones says:

    You people … and you know who you are … are not taking the President’s First Energy Plan seriously.

  32. itsmetres says:

    @Lamer, you are right facts are important.
    FACT, leases on private lands for oil companies is at record highs
    FACT, leases on federal lands are at record lows.
    Oblamo is doing NOTHING to help the problem, in fact he keeps wanting to add regulations to further dampen the oil independence he preaches all the time.

  33. Lamer says:

    @Mark from Louisiana
    really mark? We don’t let companies drill here in America? Is that why production is higher than it was when Georgy Porgy was in office? Is that why oil companies are hireing new people? Clearly Obama has shut off the taps and sent everyone home.
    Oil companies are drilling every day.
    You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

  34. SaltWaterCroc says:

    So what is he supposed to do? Follow some of the OPEC countries and nationalize oil? Beat the speculators with a switch? The best thing Obama can do to control the price of oil is to not start an unfounded war with Iran. Bush’s Iraq war drove gas to almost $5. Speculators run up the price of oil; make them take their contracts and store them for 6 months. That will induce a bit of reality into the system.

  35. Mark from Louisiana says:

    The democrats want to beg Saudi to provide more oil, but won’t let American Companies drill in America…….

  36. Mr. Stretcy says:

    Americans are so stupid this isn’t surprising. Heck, half of our high school senior would be hard pressed to even name him correctly. The President actually can do very little to effect the price of gas at the pump other then nationalize the oil companies and let the government dictate the price and that the US oil companies and refineries only sell to this country. Oil is traded on the international market so the price will fluctuate for a variety of reasons and the Keystone XL pipeline is not one of them! Heck, tar sands oil is less desireable for gasoline refining and would most likely be sold to China and other countries that use diesel more then we do. Americans should be more concerned with who their 2 state senator and congress member is, they have more to do with actually crafting energy policy into law. And let’s not forget the highpoint of the 2005 Energy bill passed by the GOP majority and signed by President Bush extended daylight savings time, something that had no effect on energy consumption as a whole and was not needed here in Texas where our hot summer days are long enough!

  37. clr55 says:

    Every president since Nixon has railed about foreign oil dependence. None, including this, one have made a dent in it. Electric cars are not the solution; hybrids are not the solution; biofuels are not the solution. The quickest and cheapest solution would be conversion of autos to CNG. The technology is there and the problems have been worked out (unlike the Volt with its limited range and fire issues). There is more infrastructure in place for CNG than there is for electric cars. Of course no one is resurrecting the issues around the EV1 and why they were all crushed ten years ago even though they were somewhat successful.

  38. Karen says:

    Obama was very clear when he said he wanted to fundamentally change the United States of America, and he is doing it. If the media would have properly vetted Obama we wouldn’t be in this position. They still cover for this buffoon. Why?