President Barack Obama is defending his energy plan against opposition Republican claims that his policies are driving up fuel prices. The president is also demanding an end to government subsidies for oil companies.
As gasoline prices continue their steady climb, President Obama is working to control the potential political damage.
The president took his campaign for a comprehensive energy policy to the northeastern city of Nashua, New Hampshire on Thursday.
He again called for more government support for solar, wind and other alternative energy industries, and an end to subsidies for the oil industry. He called the subsidies outrageous and inexcusable.
“Every time you fill up your gas tank, they are making money - every time. Now, does anyone really think that Congress should give them another $4 billion this year? Of course not,” Obama said.
Republican presidential candidates and opposition leaders in Congress have attacked the proposal, saying the administration should do more to increase U.S. oil production.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, began his Thursday news conference by saying gasoline prices have doubled since Mr. Obama took office.
“Now, we have seen some positive economic news lately, but it is being overshadowed for many families by soaring energy costs that are increasing the cost of living. So we must work together to find both energy and economic solutions,” Boehner said.
Oil prices have risen nine percent this year, largely due to higher global demand and disruption in supplies. Retail gasoline prices have increased 11 percent in the past five weeks.
However, the president says the United States is producing more oil today that at any time in the past eight years.
“Under my administration, we have a near-record number of oil rigs operating right now - more working oil and gas rigs than the rest of the world combined,” he said
Obama also said his administration has helped the U.S. to use less foreign oil.
“Six years ago, 60 percent of the oil we used was imported. Since I took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year,” he added.
This was the president’s second visit to the small but politically important state of New Hampshire in recent months.
Public opinion polls show Obama comfortably leading all major Republican candidates in New Hampshire. But Republican contender Mitt Romney owns a vacation home in the state, and Republicans scored big wins in statewide elections in 2010.