The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Gas prices are zooming past $4 a gallon, and the nation is hardly freer from the grip of imported oil or closer to robust economic recovery. With his approval ratings dropping precipitously, the president is blaming speculators and investigating fraud at the pump, when this mess is the direct result of failed federal energy policies. By word and deed, the Obama administration has sought to limit off-shore oil exploration and development and hasten the commercial viability of solar, wind and alternative vehicle technologies.
At the same time, Secretary Chu has invested taxpayers' money in Solyndra and a dozen other alternative energy projects that independent investment analysts advised were very poor commercial bets. One by one those are failing, but the administration refuses to acknowledge mistakes or relent, and pours money into battery technologies, even though with a $7,500 federal subsidy, Nissan and GM can't persuade car buyers to purchase Leafs and Volts. The facts are, 50 years from now mankind won't be taking oil from the ground on nearly the scale that it does now. Science will have found better ways to capture hydrogen atoms to run more cleanly internal combustion engines, turbines and fuel cells. But oil companies are not conspiring to block the march of science and reckless federal spending won't hurry the pace of discovery and commercialization. In the meantime, whether Americans pay $115 a barrel for oil from Saudi Arabia and Nigeria or obtained from U.S. sources does make a profound difference for the economy. 10 Top Warren Buffett Dividend Stocks The annual trade deficit on petroleum is about $300 billion. Raising U.S. oil production to its sustainable potential of 10 million barrels a day would cut import costs in half, directly creating 1.5 million jobs. Applying administration models for assessing the consequences of stimulus spending, it would indirectly create another 1 million jobs. Overall, attaining U.S. oil production potential would boost GDP about $250 billion. Not bad, considering that it could be accomplished by reducing dependence on foreign oil, increasing federal royalty and tax revenues, and cutting the federal deficit.