Ad Watch: Obama lauds his energy record
By Nancy Madsen
Published on Thursday, April 19th, 2012 at 12:01 p.m.
President Barack Obama is firing back at ads from the American Energy Alliance blaming him for high gas prices. Obama’s campaign has been running a commercial of its own, tying Republican candidate Mitt Romney to Big Oil.
We examined the president’s ad as part of our effort to fact check national political spots running in Virginia. The PolitiFact network has reviewed four of the claims in Obama’s commercial -- either in direct response to the ad or because similar or identical charges have been made in the past.
Here is a summary of the items checked, with a few updates. To read the complete fact checks, go to PolitiFactVirginia.com.
Ad claim: "Under President Obama, domestic oil production is at an eight-year high"
PolitiFact examined similar statements in January and March, rating each Mostly True.
Oil production in 2011 did reach an eight-year high. The annual totals for the most recent eight years available -- 2004 to 2011 -- show a range from 1,811,817,000 barrels of oil extracted in the U.S. in 2008 to 2,065,366,000 last year.
But there are a few caveats to the numbers. Domestic production is still below levels from the 1950s to the 1990s.
Republicans make some strong points in arguing Obama’s policies have little to do with the increase. Most growth in the last year occurred on private lands, which the president does not control. And Obama’s numbers benefit from drilling policies that came from presidents before him.
Ad claim: Obama "is fighting to end" oil company tax breaks
The president is fighting on this front, but with little success. PolitiFact’s national team said Obama’s campaign promise to eliminate tax loopholes for oil companies has Stalled.
Several attempts to dismantle about $21 billion in tax breaks over 10 years have failed to gain Congressional traction. They include his 2009 budget, the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act in 2011 and the Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act in 2012. The measures would have reinstated royalty payments to the federal government by deepwater drillers in the Gulf of Mexico and ended deductions for a variety of drilling and development costs.
Ad claim: Obama "is raising mileage standards"
Obama signed regulations in 2009 that mandated cars and light trucks average 35.5 miles per gallon of gasoline by 2016. They went in effect in 2010, when such vehicles were averaging 28.3 miles a gallon. The action prompted a Promise Kept ruling from PolitiFact’s national staff on Obama’s campaign pledge to raise mileage standards.
Last year, the White House announced stricter standards for model years 2017-2025, which will require automobile manufacturers to create a car and light truck fleet that averages 54.5 mpg.
Ad claim: "In all these fights, Mitt Romney has stood with Big Oil, for their tax breaks, attacking higher mileage standards and renewables"
When a pro-Obama super PAC said on March 30 that Romney "pledged to protect" profits and tax breaks for oil companies, PolitiFact Florida rated the claim Half True.
Romney never took an explicit pledge, but he has criticized Obama’s plan to end tax breaks for oil companies as a "$4 billion tax increase for oil and gas companies." Romney wants to reduce the 35 percent corporate tax rate to 25 percent. If that gets done, Romney said in an April 2 TV interview that he would be willing to consider eliminating some tax breaks for industries.
Romney has been critical of Obama’s mileage standards, saying they will significantly increase the costs of producing and buying cars. He has said Obama is acting "more on faith than fact" when it comes to promoting renewable energy. "The ‘green’ technologies are typically far too expensive to compete in the marketplace," the Romney campaign says in its energy platform.
Obama for America, "Remember," ad, April 2, 2012.
PolitiFact Virginia, "Ad Watch: American Energy Alliance blames Obama for gas prices," April 16, 2012.
Obama for America, Reducing Oil Dependence and Building a Clean Energy Economy, accessed April 16, 2012.
PolitiFact Virginia, "Barack Obama ad says U.S. oil production is at an eight-year high," March 28, 2012.
Energy Information Administration, U.S. Field Production of Crude Oil, accessed April 17, 2012.
PolitiFact, "Eliminate all oil and gas tax loopholes," May 18, 2011.
Library of Congress, "Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act," accessed April 17, 2012.
Library of Congress, "Repeal Big Oil Tax Subsidies Act," accessed April 17, 2012.
PolitiFact, "Raise fuel economy standards," April 5, 2010.
PolitiFact, "Ad says President Barack Obama put in place ‘historic fuel efficiency standards,’" Jan. 6, 2012.
WhiteHouse.gov, "President Obama Announces New Fuel Economy Standards," July 29, 2011.
The Washington Post, "Automakers, Obama administration agree on fuel efficiency standards through 2025," July 27, 2011.
USA Today, "Obama announces new fuel standards for heavy vehicles," Aug. 9, 2011.
PolitiFact, "Mitt Romney pledged to protect oil companies’ tax breaks, ad says," April 6, 2012.
Romney for President, Energy, accessed April 17, 2012.
Romney for President, "President Obama's Energy Policy is Not Working for America," March 4, 2012.
Greta Van Susteren, "Romney: President Obama is responsible for high energy prices," April 2, 2012.
Researchers: Nancy Madsen
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