US President Barack Obama called on Congress Saturday to invest more money in clean energy technologies and end multi-billion-dollar subsidies given each year to oil companies.
The comments came as the president faced mounting criticism from Republicans, who have blamed his energy policy for spiking gas prices.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts gasoline prices across the United States could average $4.25 a gallon by May, up from over $3.60 today.
Between 1998 and 2004, prices ranged from $1 to $2.
Prices vary wildly between regions, however, and last week, gasbuddy.com, a website that tracks prices in all 50 states, reported $5.09 a gallon at one Mobil and two Chevron stations in greater Los Angeles.
Given that 76 percent of Americans drive themselves to work, and a trip to the store can often mean a long drive to the mall, higher gas prices are a critical issue — especially in a presidential election year.
The president said that under his administration, domestic oil production has been on the rise and the number of operating oil rigs has quadrupled.
But he argued the United States won’t be able to solve its energy problem just by drilling more oil wells.
He noted that his administration had already put in place new standards that will make sure that American cars average nearly 55 miles per gallon (88.5 kilometers per 3.8 liters) by the middle of the next decade – nearly double what they get today.
The president also called for ending the $4 billion a year in tax breaks that US oil companies receive each year.