White House parries GOP criticism over gas prices

Republicans have pounced on rising gas prices in recent weeks, attacking the president’s energy policies and calling for increased domestic oil-and-gas drilling.

But Carney, while stressing recent efforts by the administration to expand domestic oil-and-gas drilling, said there is no simple way to lower gas prices. 

“There are no magic solutions to rising oil prices and the pain that Americans feel at the pump,” Carney said.

Even a dramatic increase in domestic oil-and-gas production would have little short-term effect on gas prices, according to analysts.

Carney took a swipe at Republicans for targeting Obama over gas prices, suggesting that the issue is not really a top priority for the GOP.

“The fact is that the president is very aware of the impact that the global price of oil has on families and this is not something that this administration discovered or rediscovers every spring, as some politicians do,” he said.

Carney said pump prices underscore the need for an “all-of-the-above” energy policy, a term the administration uses for its plan to, among others things, expand domestic drilling and invest in renewables.

“The fact that this is happening only underscores the need, as it did last year when prices went up, and as it did two years before that, underscores the need to have a comprehensive energy policy,” Carney said. “Which this president has been putting into place.”

The administration made two major announcements in recent days aimed at showing in part that the president is serious about expanding domestic oil-and-gas exploration.

The Interior Department approved a key plan that brings Shell closer to drilling in Arctic waters off Alaska’s coast. And the administration unveiled an agreement with Mexico that allows for drilling along the boundary between the two countries.

But GOP criticism of the president’s energy policies is nonetheless reaching a fever pitch, with the Republican presidential hopefuls taking aim at the president over gas prices.

According to AAA, the average regular gallon of gas in the United States costs about $3.57. That’s up from this time last month ($3.38 per gallon), as well as this time last year ($3.17 per gallon).