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With So Much Domestic Oil Production, Why Are Gas Prices So High?

Energy

Media Matters for America

America's producing more domestic oil and relying less on foreign oil than we have in years, but Republican politicians and their media allies are falsely blaming the president for high gas prices—while defending tax giveaways to Big Oil and Wall Street whose excessive speculation is driving up prices.

Core Message:

If Republicans really cared about high gas prices, they wouldn't keep us hooked on oil.

Connect: Americans want relief from the pain they're feeling at the pump—not political games.

State of play: America's producing more domestic oil and relying less on foreign oil than we have in years. But the GOP is still trying to shift the blame for high gas prices while protecting Big Oil and Wall Street.

Define: Republicans are using false claims to blame the president—and promoting false solutions that won't lower gas prices, but will raise Big Oil's profits.

Discredit: Republicans are actually claiming that more power for Big Oil and less oversight for Wall Street will help Americans pay less at the gas pump.

Expose: It's no surprise they'd protect Big Oil and Wall Street every step of the way and cheer when gas prices are high—they'd rather see Obama lose than America win.

Tweet: High gas prices—You pay, Big Oil gets paid and the GOP gets paid off. #GetUnhooked

Tweet: Is the GOP seriously claiming that more power for #BigOil=less pain at gas pump for Americans? Seriously?

Attacks and Responses:

Attack: "Gas prices have doubled since Obama took office."

Response:

  • Let's get the facts straight—The summer before Bush left office, gas prices had actually hit a record high of more than $4.10 a gallon. Gas prices had hit bottom when Obama became president because of the economic downturn Republicans helped cause.
  • The truth is that U.S. oil production is the highest in years and America is the closest it's ever been to energy independence.
  • If Republicans really cared about high gas prices, they wouldn't keep us hooked on oil. Americans want relief from the pain they're feeling at the pump—not political games.

Attack: "The Keystone XL pipeline will lower gas prices."

Response:

  • Experts—even TransCanada's own people—agree: Keystone XL is not the solution for how much American drivers pay at the gas pump.
  • That's because the pipeline is designed to transfer the excess of cheap oil from the Midwest to overseas markets. If anything, this will actually raise gas prices in the Midwest, dinging drivers by as much as 20 cents per gallon.
  • TransCanada, the company trying to build Keystone XL, admits foreign Big Oil will rake in an extra $2 billion to $4 billion per year in profits thanks to higher oil prices in the Midwest.
  • With Keystone, Big Oil gets billions, foreign countries get the oil, and Americans get all the risks—including higher gas prices.

Attack: "Drill here. Drill now. Pay less."

Response:

  • Actually, we are drilling—U.S. oil production is the highest it's been in years—and gas prices have still gone up.
  • Oil companies are still raking in record profits, charging us $4 a gallon, and collecting billions every year in taxpayer handouts.
  • The only way to protect American families and businesses—the entire American economy—from volatile gas prices is to kick our dependence on oil.
  • So instead of protecting Big Oil at the expense of taxpayers, let's invest in cleaner, safer sources of energy that will put millions of Americans back to work and won't ever run out.

What You Need to Know

  • Excessive Wall Street speculation is driving up gas prices, but Republicans in Congress keep trying to roll back Wall Street reform and cut funding for the oil market watchdog agency.
  • The U.S. is now closest we've been in almost 20 years to achieving energy self-sufficiency.
  • For the first time in 13 years, America is importing less than half of the oil our nation uses.
  • Domestic oil output is the highest in eight years.
  • The number of oil drilling rigs in the U.S. has quadrupled over the past three years—hitting a new record. Between oil and gas drilling rigs, the U.S. now has more rigs at work than the rest of the world combined.
  • Over the past five years, Big Oil raked in more than half a trillion dollars in profits and laid off more than 10,000 Americans.
  • The five largest, most profitable oil companies in the world—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell—are getting more than $20 billion in taxpayer-funded subsidies even though they are raking in massive profits.
  • Oil and gas companies spent nearly $20 million to elect Republicans to Congress in the last election cycleand almost $150 million on lobbyingin 2010 alone.
  • Republicans in Congress have voted in lockstep to keep tax subsidies for Big Oil even though 75 percent of Americans want to get rid of them.
  • Clean energy is the fastest growing industry in the U.S. today and creates three times as many jobs as fossil fuels. In fact, analysts believe that developing new clean energy technologies like wind and solar could support 20 million jobs by 2030 and generate trillions of dollars in revenue.

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