American Petroleum Institute: Obama Thinks Americans Don’t Pay Enough for Gas

By Barbara Hollingsworth | February 8, 2016 | 4:07pm EST
(AP photo)

( -- President Obama’s proposal to impose a $10 per barrel tax on oil “increases the hostile campaign the administration is waging against the American consumer,” Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute (API), told reporters during a conference call on Monday.

“It’s almost as though the administration doesn’t think the American people pay enough for gasoline,” he said.

During a press briefing on Friday, Obama admitted that low gasoline prices “can be a good thing for the economy.”

However, the president went on to say that the estimated $300 billion raised by his proposal is needed to pay for transportation infrastructure and the development of green energy sources.

 “The basic proposition is that right now, gas is $1.80,” Obama told reporters. “And gas prices are expected to be low for a while, for the foreseeable future. That overall can be a good thing for the economy," the president said.

"But what is also important is that we use this period when gas prices are low to accelerate a transition to a cleaner energy economy because we know that’s not gonna last….

“Then 10 years from now, 20 years from now we’re going to be in a much stronger position when oil starts getting tight again and prices start going up again. We will have further weaned our economy off of dirty fuels.”

But Gerard countered that the proposed per-barrel tax would “destroy jobs, reduce revenue, make the U.S. more dependent on outside sources of energy, and prevent America from reaching its potential.”

“The energy resurgence has created jobs, cut fuel imports and delivered tangible benefits to American families and businesses – with average savings of $1,200 per year per household.” he told reporters.

Without the “energy renaissance” made possible by high-tech techniques such as fracking, “the economy under this administration…would be in considerably worse shape," he said.

“If you are pursuing a true energy policy objective, why would you choke off America’s energy renaissance?” Gerard asked, adding that the president’s ideological “head in the sand” strategy will “drag America back to energy dependency.”

“It’s counterproductive,” he said. “This will make us weak. Why would we do that?”

Jack Gerard, president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute. (API)

“If we want energy security as a nation, we should be doing everything we can to make us competitive, not raise our costs 30 percent,” Gerard said, pointing out that even the administration’s own experts agree that oil and gas will continue to be the major sources of energy in the U.S. until at least 2040.

“I don’t think they thought this through before they rolled it out,” he told reporters.

Domestic oil and gas companies have already invested some $90 billion in zero-carbon emission technologies, Gerard continued. Emissions are “at a 20-year low” due to the ability of the industry to extract clean-burning natural gas, he pointed out, noting that it’s “produced right here at home in rich abundance.”

API, a national trade association representing more than 650 oil and gas companies, estimates that the proposed $10 per barrel tax would harm consumers by raising the cost of gasoline by 25 cents a gallon and make U.S. energy producers less competitive worldwide.

Related: Obama: Tax Every Barrel of Oil Imported and Exported, Use the Money for Transportation

Related: Obama: My Budget 'Will Double Funding for Clean Energy Research and Development by 2020'

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