Obama's State of the Union Failed to Offer Actual Energy Plan

President Barack Obama disappointed by not offering a concrete way forward on energy.

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President Barack Obama shakes hands with Vice President Joe Biden after the president gave his StateoftheUnion address during a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio is at left.

Gregg Laskoski is a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com

If you've taken a look lately at retail gasoline prices across the U.S. it's not terribly surprising to see high-tax states like New York and California with the most expensive gasoline in the country. But who is paying the least at the pump?

Wyoming. Montana. New Mexico. Utah. Colorado. Idaho. While these states have lower fuel taxes than many others, they are also among those with access to Canadian crude oil which has been selling at a discount to West Texas Intermediate.  

[See a collection of political cartoons on gas prices.]

Canadian crude is essential to the eastern United States. Particularly in the Northeast, where refineries have struggled in recent years and capacity is being further reduced with the closing of the Hess facility in Port Reading, N.J., refining is adversely impacted by exclusion from lower cost crudes and reliance on higher-priced Brent oil. That's why Sunoco recently closed its Marcus Hook, Penn. refinery and sold its 330,000 bpd refinery in Philadelphia.

While the United States gains from cheaper oil out of the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota and Canada's Alberta oil sands, East Coast refineries cannot access it. Ironically, the president's stalling on approval for the Keystone Pipeline has given TransCanada Corp. time to plan a 3,000 mile pipeline east, to the Atlantic Coast where the Canadian crude can be taken by tankers to the Gulf of Mexico, its targeted destination.

The eastern pipeline is among $22 billion in projects TransCanada has proposed or under construction, Bloomberg reported last week. CEO Russ Girling said the eastern pipeline would move as much as 900,000 bpd of western Canadian and U.S. crude to eastern refineries. He said, "Production from the oil sands and U.S. sources is expected to grow a couple million barrels a day which means that we need, as an industry, probably three Keystones to get that oil to market."

[See a collection of political cartoons on energy policy.]

It's important to note here that the only Keystone Pipeline for which Girling has requested approval from President Obama, does not require one dollar of U.S. taxpayer money. Rigid adherence to the green energy orthodoxy may have served a purpose before November's election but today it's simply counterproductive to the president's economic agenda, and inappropriate especially since the environmental protection argument has been nullified by Nebraska's approval of a route change that takes the pipeline away from sensitive areas.

If you were hoping this week that the State of the Union address would offer an actual energy plan, or at least an indication of whether the president is closer to approving the Keystone Pipeline, you're undoubtedly disappointed today.

[Read the U.S. News Debate: Is It Time to Drill in the Arctic Refuge?]

The president said his administration will

keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits.

But I also want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our air and water.

Indeed, much of our new-found energy is drawn from lands and waters that we, the public, own together. So tonight, I propose we use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good.

[Check out our editorial cartoons on President Obama.]

Is that really where federal revenue should go? Haven't we already seen what happens when the president and his advisers "double-down" on green energy plays? Let's have a vote on that too.

  • Read Thomas Pyle: Obama Must Open Federal Land to Energy Development
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