In Ohio, Romney takes aim at Obama on energy

Romney alleged Monday that Obama wants higher gas prices, a claim the White House has strongly denied.

“While the president now professes a combination of innocence and helplessness in the face of rising prices, the truth is that expensive energy was his plan all along,” Romney wrote.

The former Massachusetts governor took aim at Environmental Protection Agency regulations that Republicans have said will impose huge costs on the economy.

He also criticized Obama for rejecting earlier this year a key permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Obama has said the decision was not based on the merits, but instead on a GOP-backed deadline included in a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut.

And Romney dismissed White House efforts to invest in renewable energy, blasting the administration for its $535 million loan guarantee to failed solar firm Solyndra.

“In place of real energy, Obama has focused on an imaginary world where government-subsidized windmills and solar panels could power the economy,” Romney wrote. “This vision has failed.”

Romney outlined a three-step energy plan to dramatically expand domestic oil-and-gas production and eliminate regulations he says are standing in the way of development.

“America is an energy-rich nation, and it is time we stopped living like an energy-poor one,” he said. “As president, I will unleash American innovation and productivity to make full use of our natural resources.”

Romney called for a “dramatic regulatory reform to accelerate the exploration and development of oil and gas;” an expansion of production both onshore and offshore and to begin drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; and investments in energy technology “without picking winners or stifling the energy sources of today.”

Gas prices are averaging $3.76 per gallon, according to AAA. That’s up about 29 cents from this time last month.

Obama has alleged in recent weeks that Republicans are playing politics with gas prices in order to gain momentum going into the election.

He has blasted GOP calls to dramatically expand domestic drilling, arguing that there is no quick solution to lower gas prices.

Experts say federal policymakers have few options to lower gas prices in the short term. Even a dramatic expansion of domestic oil-and-gas leasing would have little effect on prices, they say.