The president has boasted that domestic oil production has risen since he took office in 2009 but fails to mention that operations on private lands are responsible for the increase. The amount of petroleum extracted from federal lands - under White House jurisdiction - actually fell 13 percent in 2011, according to the Institute for Energy Research. Tumbling in tandem is oil yield from the Gulf of Mexico, dropping from a third of the nation’s total to a quarter since Mr. Obama clamped down on offshore drilling following the 2010 BP oil spill. His overall approval rating likewise has skidded 9 points in the past month to a dismal 41 percent, according to a recent New York Times/CBS News survey.
Mr. Obama has taken to charging that his GOP presidential challengers act as if they can wave “a magic wand” and provide an endless supply of cheap gas. Meanwhile, he has conjured some magic of his own, pressuring Saudi Arabia to sell the United States more petroleum, and the kingdom has responded by boosting shipments by 25 percent since the beginning of the year. Increased supply is meant to lower gas prices by easing oil-market jitters over potential disruptions arising from Iran’s nuclear program. So far, it hasn’t worked.
March 20, 2012