US President Barack Obama Monday sought to contain political fallout from rising gas prices, as a new poll showed that pain at the pump was having a direct impact on his reelection hopes.
The president released a report claiming notable successes in weaning America off foreign oil and on cutting energy use with new fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks, and also claimed progress on renewable energy.
"Despite the gains we've made, today's high gas prices are a painful reminder that there's much more work to do to free ourselves from our dependence on foreign oil and take control of our energy future," Obama said.
"That's exactly what our administration is committed to doing in the months ahead," said Obama.
The White House effort came as a new Washington Post/ABC News poll said Obama's recent gains in popularity were being undermined by rising gasoline prices, despite more positive news from the jobs market.
In the poll, Obama's approval rating had slipped to 46 percent, down from 50 percent a month ago.
Two-thirds of those asked said they disapproved with the way Obama was handling rising pump prices which now average nearly four dollars a gallon (3.8 liters).
"The president clearly understands the impact that high gas prices have on middle class families," a White House official said.
But Republicans who see rising gas prices as an important political weapon as Obama seeks reelection in November, ridiculed the president's report.
"With gas prices setting new records, Americans won't stand for more of the same from the Obama White House," Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Republican presidential front runner Mitt Romney.
"This country needs a leader like Mitt Romney, who has proposed bold, pro-growth energy solutions that will create jobs and help secure America's energy future."
The report says the United States cut imports of oil from abroad by 10 percent last year, and also touts a rise in domestic production, new energy efficiency standards for cars and renewable energy projects.
Republicans, however, say that the boom in oil production has come despite Obama administration policies which they say strangle the domestic energy industry in order to encourage new renewable energy sources.
Obama has repeatedly acknowledged that the rising price of gasoline is causing new pain for many American families still hurting following the deepest recession since the Great Depression, but says there is no "quick fix."
The administration argues that the price hikes are cyclical, and says the president has limited power to impact prices, though Obama wants to end subsidies to big oil firms that are making huge profits while prices rise.
The report says that domestic oil and gas production is booming, despite Republican claims that Obama has done too little to expand domestic supplies and is bent on making oil uncompetitive to boost new energy sources.
It says US oil imports were cut by 10 percent -- or one million barrels -- in the last year, an improvement the White House says is down to "booming" domestic oil production and new energy efficiency standards for cars and trucks.
The report says that domestic oil and gas production is at the highest level in a decade while improved energy efficiency measures funded by the administration in over a million homes is also cutting energy use.
Obama will go on the offensive against Republicans hammering him over gasoline prices later Monday by conducting interviews with local television anchors from eight states, including political battlegrounds like Ohio, Florida and Nevada.