White House: No ‘Silver Bullets’ on Gas Prices

Posted March 29, 2012 at 1:35pm

Does the White House have a plan to lower gas prices? If it does, it’s not telling.

Reporters repeatedly pressed Press Secretary Jay Carney on what the White House’s next step might be now that President Barack Obama’s push to shift $4 billion in oil company subsidies to other energy sources failed again in the Senate.

Carney said releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve remained a possibility and the administration was continuing to look at ways to lower gas prices in the short term and the long term.

“We’ve taken no option off the table,” he said.

But Carney repeated the White House’s contention that there are limited steps the administration or any administration could take to lower gas prices and there are no “silver bullets.”

Republicans contend, however, that there are bullets.

The Obama administration has continued to keep large swaths of the U.S. coastline and areas like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge off limits, much to the GOP’s chagrin.

Carney declined to comment on a new proposal from Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski (R) and Mark Begich (D) that would allow oil companies to drill under ANWR from adjacent state lands, a process known as “drinking the milkshake.”

“I haven’t had a discussion with [the president] about the milkshake principle,” he said. He noted that the Interior Department is moving forward on exploration off the Alaska coast and elsewhere.

“This president is committed to expanding domestic oil and gas production in a safe and responsible way,” he said.

Murkowski on Wednesday tore into ANWR opponents on the Senate floor, noting if they hadn’t been blocking it for decades it would be producing oil now — estimated at more than 1 million barrels a day. That’s roughly the same amount the administration pointed to as progress last year in reducing oil imports. Obama himself voted to filibuster ANWR when he was in the Senate in December 2005.

Carney earlier argued that more oil supplies wouldn’t necessarily lead to lower prices.

“The correlation between greater production and the price is simply not there,” Carney said, pointing out that production in the United States has increased in recent years even as prices have soared.

Carney refused to confirm reports from abroad that the United States was pushing for a global release of oil reserves and denied that a deal to do so had been reached.