Oil prices drop below $30, President Obama criticizes oil in State of the Union

It was a rough day for the oil industry on Tuesday thanks to the continuing fall of crude oil prices and the State of the Union address from President Barack Obama.

During the daytime trading hours on Tuesday, crude oil prices took another hit. The price of crude oil fell below $30 a barrel for the first time since last 2003. The price was again over $30 by the end of the day and opened at $31.71 on Wednesday.

On Tuesday night, President Barack Obama presented his final State of the Union address and spoke briefly on the oil and energy industries. At one point Obama praised gasoline prices at $2 a gallon.

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“Gas under two bucks a gallon ain’t bad, either.”

Many in the oil and gas industry took to Twitter and other social media outlets and criticized his quote. Many were upset that he would make light of this as the domestic oil industry is laying off thousands of workers because of the low price of crude oil.

It wasn’t all bad though. Later in his speech, the president announced that the U.S. has cut imports of foreign oil by nearly 60 percent during his time in office.

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“We’re taking steps to give homeowners the freedom to generate and store their own energy — something environmentalists and Tea Partiers have teamed up to support. Meanwhile, we’ve cut our imports of foreign oil by nearly 60 percent, and cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth.”

According to information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, however, the decline in dependency on imports actually began in 2006, after peaking at 60.3 percent the year before.

As of the fourth quarter of 2015, net imports were down 62 percent. In the first 11 months of last year, the U.S. imported only 24.3 percent of the petroleum and refined products that it consumed.

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Here are other quotes from Obama on the oil industry during the State of the Union.

“Now we’ve got to accelerate the transition away from dirty energy. Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future — especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels. That’s why I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.”

“None of this will happen overnight, and yes, there are plenty of entrenched interests who want to protect the status quo. But the jobs we’ll create, the money we’ll save, and the planet we’ll preserve — that’s the kind of future our kids and grandkids deserve.”

The president also spoke of, and praised, other forms of energy such as solar and wind, vowing to move the country toward that route in his final year in office.

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