API launches new election-year campaign (video)

WASHINGTON — The oil industry’s leading trade group is kicking off a new ad campaign ahead of the November elections to tout the economic power of domestic energy production.

American Petroleum Institute CEO Jack Gerard is expected to formally unveil the campaign — complete with broadcast advertisements and a website — during a presentation in the nation’s capital on Tuesday.

But the ChooseEnergy.org website went live late Monday, offering visitors a glimpse at the trade group’s plan to highlight new jobs, high wages and economic growth as an inevitable byproduct of oil and gas extraction.

Big spenders: Oil and gas spending to hit record in 2014

Video of a TV advertisement on the site says American energy translates to a “strong economy” and domestic “job growth.”

“America, we have a powerful choice to create jobs, to revitalize American manufacturing, to make us more secure by choosing to produce and refine more energy — American energy,” the ad says.

After images of everyday people — and one cheery child — flash by, the spot closes: “This election, let’s join together — Republicans, Democrats, independents — to reenergize America.”

This is not API’s first foray into election-year advertising and political spending. In 2012, its newly formed political action committee doled $199,100 to federal candidates, with 79 percent of it going to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. So far, heading into the November midterm elections, the American Petroleum Institute PAC has contributed $76,000 to federal candidates, with all but 18 percent of it ending up in Republican hands.

Gerard, who is speaking at API’s “State of American Energy” event in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, frequently asserts that energy should be a non-partisan issue. Two years ago, he stressed that the API was looking to ensure energy was part of the dialogue heading into the 2012 elections.

Record-setter: 2013 oil boom was biggest ever

Visitors at API’s new “Choose Energy” website can check out state-by-state data on oil and gas industry jobs and the average salaries those workers are earning.

For instance, in Texas, which tops all other states in both oil and gas production, the average salary for an oil and gas worker (who isn’t employed at a gas station) is $119,191, according to the site.

And, in a bid to grow its grassroots network of oil and gas enthusiasts, the API gives website visitors a chance to join its “Energy Citizens” network and follow the campaign through social media. There’s also a link to voter registration resources.

Also on FuelFix: