On the campaign fundraising trail in Florida recently, President Barack Obama addressed the rising cost of gasoline by talking up his own energy policies — taking credit for increased oil and natural gas production.

This is a cyclical rise. It has nothing to do with politicians or campaign promises.

Any decrease in the cost of gasoline will be the result of market forces, as well.

But rising gasoline prices will have an effect on attempts at economic recovery in this country. And Obama has missed several steps that might have buffered that blow.

His rejection of a permit for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline likely caused at the least a delay in efforts toward energy independence, and squashed the creation of possibly thousands of jobs.

And, for all Obama’s talk about increased production, the trend actually began during the George W. Bush presidency, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The agency projects that by 2020, oil production will hit a level last seen in 1994.

Touting his alleged success in developing a greater mix of energy sources will not hold much water for Obama, either. Honest efforts by those who are working to develop renewable energy sources are, of course, admirable. But the percentage of cars on the road today powered by anything other than gasoline is minuscule.

Even his own staff quietly admits there is very little a president can do to affect gasoline prices in the short term. And Obama clearly has done nothing to increase oil production in the long run. To the contrary, through opposition to new drilling in many areas of the country, his administration has had a negative effect.

But that is not stopping Obama from using a little coal smoke and solar mirrors on the campaign trail.

Parkersburg (W.Va.) News and Sentinel (March 1)