SAN RAMON, Calif. - Paul Ryan said today the president has gone to "great lengths" to make gas more expensive in this country.
The vice presidential candidate visited Google headquarters in Montainview to hold a Google+ Hangout where he took questions from supporters at campaign offices all over the country, including a question from a senior citizen in Florida named Ruth. She asked him how he was going to "improve the situation" of sky high gas prices.
"This is not just something that squeezes family budgets, it squeezes businesses," Ryan answered. "It also gives us a bad foreign policy in that we are so dependent on other countries for our oil imports, it's the biggest part of our trade deficit and so what's frustrating about the Obama administration's policies are they've gone to great lengths to make oil and gas more expensive."
The average national gas price is $3.82 up from $3.66 just a month ago, according to statistics from the American Automobile Association.
Gas prices have risen despite the fact that, according to the U.S. Energy Information Association, domestic crude oil production increased from 5.0 million barrels per day in 2008 to 5.5 million barrels per day in 2010. That same year marked the first time in 13 years the country imported less than 50 percent of the oil the United States consumed, a trend continued in 2011.
According to the United States Energy Information Association the country consumed 18.8 million barrels a day of petroleum products in 2011.
The House Budget Chairman told the questioner not to "forget" that President Obama "tried to grant, jam through congress, a national energy tax designed to make energy more expensive."
"Don't forget the fact that he has tried lots of things to try and prevent drilling for natural gas and oil on public lands," Ryan said. "Lets not forget the fact that the regulations coming out of the EPA are making it harder for us to harness home grown American energy."
A national energy tax is another term for cap-and-trade legislation that is usually used by opponents of the measure. Supporters say the legislation forces companies that pollute to pay, but opponents like Ryan say it is simply another tax on businesses and makes energy pricier for the average American.
Ryan then moved on to how he would lower gas prices in a Romney/Ryan administration, but stayed away from specifics, instead saying domestic production of energy should be increased, something he mentions on the stump daily.
"We have stores of natural gas, oil, and the technology to get them in a environmentally safe way right here in the United States, lets use it," Ryan said. "We have an all of the above strategy. More oil, more coal, more gas that's clean and more renewable energies, nuclear, all of the above. And if we do this we create more jobs in America, we have more produced in America, it lowers our trade deficit, it makes us less dependent on other countries and it lowers the cost of gas, it lowers the cost of home heating, it lowers the cost of doing business in America so that manufacturers have lower input costs so they're more competitive."
He then accused the Obama administration of "standing in the way" of bringing down energy costs and again said they were "calling for higher prices" because the president supports cap and trade legislation.
"Having a North American energy independent strategy, which is what Mitt Romney and I are proposing, help all these sectors of our economy, but the Obama administration has been standing in the way of it and look no further than the fact that they are explicitly calling for higher prices because they want this national energy tax that they've tried to get through Congress," Ryan said. "Thankfully It didn't pass the Senate, it did pass the house, the president worked hard on it but if he gets another four more years, I shudder to think what kind of horrible energy policy that he'll continue with."
The candidate fundraises in Fresno tonight before traveling to Oregon for his first full day of debate prep ahead of the Oct. 11 vice presidential debate.