?On the record: President asks for vote to end oil subsidies
President Obama took to this week's address to discuss the political back-and-forth over gas, challenging the idea that prices are under the sole control of a president. Rather, President Obama argued that outside factors - such as events in the Middle East and market speculation - are the culprits when it comes to rising prices at the gas pump. When it comes to oil speculation, President Obama noted the actions that have been taken to address fraud:
"The truth is: the price of gas depends on a lot of factors that are often beyond our control. Unrest in the Middle East can tighten global oil supply. Growing nations like China or India adding cars to the road increases demand. But one thing we should control is fraud and manipulation that can cause prices to spike even further.
For years, traders at financial firms were able to game the energy markets, distort the price of oil, and make big profits for themselves at your expense. And they were able to do all that because of major gaps and loopholes in our regulations. When I took office, we did something about it.
The Wall Street reforms I signed into law are helping bring energy markets out of the shadows and under real oversight. They're strengthening our ability to go after fraud and to prevent traders from manipulating the market. So it's not just wrong, but dangerous that some in Congress want to roll back those protections and return to the days when companies like Enron could avoid regulation and reap enormous profits, no matter who it hurt."
The President continued his weeks-long effort to highlight the issue of oil subsidies, challenging Congress to go on the record by voting on whether or not they should continue. For the President, it is a matter of lawmakers proclaiming whose side they're on - big oil, or the people:
"In the next few weeks, I expect Congress to vote on ending these subsidies. And when they do, we're going to put every single Member of Congress on record: They can either stand up for the oil companies, or they can stand up for the American people. They can either place their bets on a fossil fuel from the last century, or they can place their bets on America's future. So make your voice heard. Send your representative an email. Give them a call. Tell them to stand with you.
And tell them to be honest with you. It's easy to promise a quick fix when it comes to gas prices. There just isn't one. Anyone who tells you otherwise -- any career politician who promises some three-point plan for two-dollar gas -- they're not looking for a solution. They're just looking for your vote."
It is not enough, President Obama argued, for America to rely on drilling to solve its energy needs. As for attacks that have accused him of standing in the way of American drilling, President Obama, once again, argued that home oil production is at an an eight-year high, the amount of operating oil rigs have quadrupled to a record high, and that millions of acres of land have been opened to develop energy resources - all under his administration.
The way forward, as President Obama put it, is not to focus exclusively on drilling as a simple solution to the energy debate, but rather an all-of-the-above strategy that invests in alternative energy to meet America's energy demands:
"We can't just rely on drilling. Not when we use more than 20% of the world's oil, but still only have 2% of the world's known oil reserves. If we don't develop other sources of energy, and the technology to use less energy, we'll continue to be dependent on foreign countries for our energy needs. That's why we're pursuing an all-of-the-above strategy. As we develop more oil and gas, we're also developing wind and solar power, biofuels, and next-generation vehicles -- and thousands of Americans have jobs right now because of it. We need to keep making those investments -- because I don't want to see those jobs go to other countries. I want to create even more of them right here in the United States of America."
President Obama argued that such investments in alternative energy, along with increases in fuel economy standards, have created a path towards greater energy independence:
"Since I took office, America's dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year. In 2010, for the first time in 13 years, less than half the oil we used came from foreign countries.
But we can do even better. And we will. What we can't do is keep depending on other countries for our energy needs."
President Obama's Weekly Address: