WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday vowed to keep developing new sources of energy, blaming instability in Middle East and increasing demand from emerging markets for the recent gas price hike.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), the U.S. average retail price for a gallon of regular gasoline was 3.591 dollars on February 20, 40.2 cents up from a year ago.
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich seized on the issue to try to re-energize his campaign. He asserted that if becoming president, he could drive gasoline prices as low as 2 dollars a gallon.
"The biggest thing that's causing the price of oil to rise right now is instability in the Middle East," said Obamain Miami, Florida, adding that "over the long-term, the biggest reason oil prices will rise is growing demand in countries like China, India, and Brazil."
America was pumping more oil than it had in the past eight years thanks to a surge in onshore drilling. And Americans' gasoline consumption is at an 11-year low, the EIA data indicated.
In 2010, the U.S. dependence on foreign oil was under 50 percent for the first time in 30 years and in 2011, the country relied less on foreign oil than in any of the last 16 years.
Obama attributed the increased energy independence to his energy strategy which had made the use of clean, renewable energy in the country nearly doubled.
"There are no short-term silver bullets when it comes to gas prices," said the U.S. president. The America needed a "sustained, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy, oil, gas, wind, solar, nuclear, biofuels," said Obama at the University of Miami, pledging that he will not "cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany."
In 2008, Miami became the first major American city to power its city hall entirely with solar and renewable energy.
Obama also proposed to end subsidies to oil industry and to " double-down on a clean energy industry that's never been more promising."
In addition, Obama stressed the importance of fuel efficiency that would help achieve in average 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade, nearly doubling the current level.