Among the accomplishments cited are new auto efficiency standards requiring an average of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, an increase in domestic oil production of 120,000 barrels a day last year and the approval of 29 onshore renewable energy projects — 16 solar projects, five wind farms, and eight geothermal facilities.
Most of the information in the report is not new, but Obama is scheduled to highlight the findings in a series of interviews with television anchors from cities in electoral battleground states, including Orlando, Cincinnati and Denver.
The public relations blitz underscores the mounting political pressure that rising gasoline prices, now averaging $3.77 a gallon nationwide, have posed for the administration in an election year.
The White House is releasing its report on the same day that Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, who have lambasted Obama’s energy policies in recent weeks, will speak at the Gulf Coast Energy Summit. Gingrich has made reducing gasoline prices to $2.50 per gallon a centerpiece of his campaign.
Obama’s GOP critics have pressed him to take stronger actions to relieve the public’s pain at the pump, demanding that he approve the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline and tap the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to offset the volatility in the global market caused largely by the deteriorating security situation in Iran and the Middle East.
But in a series of recent speeches, including one last week in Mount Holly, N.C., Obama has defended his energy policies and cautioned that there are no “quick fixes” to gasoline price spikes.
Last week, the Senate defeated a measure to expedite the Keystone pipeline after the president personally lobbied several Democratic lawmakers against the bill. The administration had rejected a permit for the project, citing the inability to complete an environmental assessment within a congressionally mandated time frame.
“We can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices — not when we consume 20 percent of the world’s oil,” Obama said in his weekly radio and television address. “We need an all-of-the-above strategy that relies less on foreign oil and more on American-made energy — solar, wind, natural gas, biofuels and more. That’s the strategy we’re pursuing.”
The stakes for Obama in convincing the public of his administration’s efforts are high. Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they disapprove of the way the president is handling the situation at the pump, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Just 26 percent approve of his work on the issue, his lowest rating in the survey.