President Obama was not shy about taking credit for low gasoline prices, touting the booming oil and natural gas production that has occurred under his administration.
“We believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet. And today, America is number one in oil and gas,” Obama said Tuesday night during the State of the Union. “And thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards, the typical family this year should save $750 at the pump.”
Gas prices have fallen more than $1.20 from one year ago, from $3.28 per gallon to $2.05 as of Tuesday, according to AAA Fuel Gauge. Prices have fallen due to plummeting oil prices from high production levels and weaker demand. Much of the increase in global oil supplies has come from hydraulic fracturing operations in the U.S.
Since 2009, domestic oil production has gone from only 5 million barrels a day to more than 9 million barrels per day thanks to fracking and horizontal drilling. The U.S. is now set to overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer — the country has already beaten out Russia as the world’s top natural gas producer.
But virtually all of the increased oil and natural gas production has come from private and state lands, where Obama has no jurisdiction over approving drilling permits. Meanwhile, oil production on federal lands has floundered under Obama. From 2009 to 2013 oil production on federal lands fell by 11 percent and natural gas production fell by 28 percent.
During that time, oil and gas production on state and private lands surged. Oil production on non-federal lands rose 61 percent and natural gas production jumped up 33 percent.
Obama has in the past bashed Republicans for arguing that drilling for more oil will lower gas prices — which is exactly what happened.
“And you can bet that since it’s an election year, they’re already dusting off their three-point plans for $2 gas,” Obama said in 2012. “I’ll save you the suspense: Step one is drill, step two is drill, and step three is keep drilling. We heard the same thing in 2007, when I was running for president. We hear the same thing every year. We’ve heard the same thing for 30 years.”
“Well the American people aren’t stupid,” Obama added. “You know that’s not a plan — especially since we’re already drilling. … You know there are no quick fixes to this problem, and you know we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices.”
But Obama didn’t just stop at taking credit for low gas prices, he also urged Republicans to drop their push to pass the Keystone XL pipeline — a pipeline that would bring oil sands from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
“21st century businesses need 21st century infrastructure — modern ports, stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest internet. Democrats and Republicans used to agree on this,” Obama said. “So let’s set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline.”
Republicans are on the verge of passing a bill to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which Obama has threatened to veto.
“Let’s pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than thirty times as many jobs per year, and make this country stronger for decades to come,” Obama said.
Obama also took time during his speech to tout green energy production during his tenure.
“America is number one in wind power. Every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008,” Obama said.