President Barack Obama on Wednesday rebuked foes who promise “three-point plans for two dollar gas,” aiming to deflect election year attacks sparked by rising US petrol prices.
Obama’s remarks came as he traveled to the swing state of North Carolina to visit a Daimler Trucks plant to tout a new $1 billion plan of incentives and tax credits to spur development of a new generation of clean vehicles.
“This is not the first time we’ve seen gas prices spike,” Obama said, as drivers face pump prices averaging $3.80 a gallon across the country, seeking to ramp up his campaign for a second White House term.
“The next time you hear some politician trotting out some three-point plan for $2 gas — you let them know we know better,” Obama told a supportive crowd.
“Tell them we’re tired of hearing phony election-year promises that never come about.”
The president was likely referring to all of the Republican presidential candidates who argue that Obama privately wants fuel prices to rise to make alternative fuels more attractive in the market.
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich has been the most vociferous in skewering Obama over gasoline costs, saying they are a “direct result” of the president’s energy policies.
Gingrich also proposes a plan that he says would bring down gas to $2.50 a gallon and says Obama is only worried about pump prices because he fears they will damage his hopes of winning a second term in November.
Obama, however, told reporters on Tuesday that no US president seeking a second term would root for gas price increases.
Obama rejects Republican calls for America to drill its way out of its energy woes, saying that an “all of the above” strategy of tapping traditional sources such as oil and gas and new generation fuels is the only solution.
“We’ve got to develop every source of American energy; not just oil and gas, but wind power and solar power, nuclear power, biofuels,” Obama said.
“We need to invest in the technology that will help us use less oil in our cars and our trucks, in our buildings, in our factories.
“That’s the only solution to the challenge, because as we start using less, that lowers the demand, prices come down.”
Obama has proposed removing tax loopholes for US energy firms that rack up huge profits but get subsidies to pursue new sources of supply and said all members of Congress should be put on the record as to whether they support ordinary Americans or oil corporations.
But Republicans argue that effectively raising taxes on energy firms will do little to lower prices, and would be counter-productive.
“If higher gas prices hurt the economy, then why in the world is the administration calling for higher taxes on energy manufacturers?” said Mitch McConnell, the top Republican in the Senate.
“We know these taxes would drive up the price at the pump and send jobs overseas. If the President wants to drive prices down, he should stop calling for them.”
(US President Barack Obama rebukes foes who promise “three-point plans for two dollar gas,” aiming to deflect election year attacks sparked by rising US petrol prices. AFP Photo/John W. Adkisson)