President Barack Obama called on Saturday for the development of new technologies to help tackle America’s energy problems and the scrapping of a $4-billion-dollar tax break for oil companies.
“We’ve got to develop new technology that will help us use new forms of energy,” Obama said in his radio and Internet address.
“But we can’t just drill our way out of this problem,” he added. “While we consume 20 percent of the world’s oil, we only have two percent of the world’s oil reserves.”
The comments came as the president faced mounting criticism from Republicans, who have blamed his energy policy for spiking gas prices.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts gasoline prices across the United States could average $4.25 a gallon by May, up from over $3.60 today.
Between 1998 and 2004, prices ranged from $1 to $2.
Prices vary wildly between regions, however, and last week, gasbuddy.com, a website that tracks prices in all 50 states, reported $5.09 a gallon at one Mobil and two Chevron stations in greater Los Angeles.
Given that 76 percent of Americans drive themselves to work, and a trip to the store can often mean a long drive to the mall, higher gas prices are a critical issue — especially in a presidential election year.
Obama pointed out that because of the investments made in the energy sector during his administration, use of clean, renewable energy in the United States has nearly doubled and thousands of Americans have jobs because of it.
“Now we need to keep at it,” he said. “And to do that, we need to make the right choices.”
The president also called for ending the $4 billion a year in tax breaks that US oil companies receive.
“These are the same companies making record profits – tens of billions of dollars a year,” he said. “I don’t think oil companies need more corporate welfare. Congress should end this taxpayer giveaway.”