1 October 2012


Josh Freed and Ryan Fitzpatrick


  • Continued partisan gridlock in the United States means it is unlikely that major congressional action on energy will occur after the 2012 US presidential elections. However, this could change if there is a deal to address the budget deficit or if one party makes significant gains in seats.
  • Domestic oil and natural gas production will continue to grow under either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney.
  • A second Obama administration would be likely to seek to accelerate the commercialization and deployment of clean energy through a mix of tax incentives, encouraging private financing, and regulation of conventional and climate pollutants.
  • A Romney administration would be likely to focus on increasing domestic conventional energy production by reducing environmental regulation, particularly on coal-burning power plants, and opening more public land to oil and natural gas development. Excluding basic research, government incentives for clean energy would be likely to be eliminated.

This paper is part of the US Election Note series.
Other Notes focus on: Economic Policy, The Military vs Development Aid, Trade Policy, and China, and Middle East Policy after 2012.