Gas prices are nearly 40 cents per gallon higher than what they were last year and show no sign of falling any time soon. Although there are plenty of ideas that could help lower prices, the Obama Administration is doing much more harm than good.

We’ve written in great detail about the Obama Administration’s attack on offshore drilling. They announced that the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic and Pacific coasts will not be part of the government’s 2012–2017 Outer Continental Shelf program, effectively banning drilling in those areas for the next seven years. Permits in the areas we can drill are down considerably, and the President’s oil spill commission report recommends new fees and tighter regulations moving forward. As a result, our financially strapped government is unable to collect billions in potential oil revenue.

But the news onshore doesn’t get much better. Federal leasing of oil and gas exploration in the western United States has dropped significantly in the past two years. According to data compiled by the Western Energy Alliance:

• Bureau of Land Management (BLM) offices in Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming issued 531 leases in fiscal year (FY) 2010, a 79 percent drop from the 2,499 leases issued in FY2005;
• Since FY 2005, BLM has offered 60 percent fewer parcels and 70 percent fewer acres;
• Leasing revenue dropped 46 percent, from $189.6 million in FY 2005 to $101.6 million in FY 2010;
• Since 1984, total leases in effect in the West declined 52 percent and acreage declined 61 percent;
• BLM sold 75 percent fewer acres in FY 2010 than it did in FY 2005;
• In the first two years of the Obama Administration, DOI issued 76 percent fewer acres than the first two years of the Clinton Administration and 71 percent fewer acres than the first two years of the Bush Administration; and
• Revenue from onshore federal royalties, rents, and bonuses declined from $4.2 billion to $2.8 billion between 2008 and 2010, a 33 percent decrease.

A logical energy policy that would expand supply, create jobs, and bring in revenue to federal and state government would remove the government restrictions that prevent making full use of the oil, natural gas, and other energy resources onshore and offshore in the U.S. How high will gas prices reach before the Administration reverses its destructive energy policies?