DON’T KNOW MUCH ABOUT ENERGY…. Sarah Palin recently said her state of Alaska produces 20% of the “U.S. domestic supply of energy.” John McCain added that Palin has “been governor of our largest state, in charge of 20 percent of America’s energy supply.” McCain added that Palin “knows more about energy than probably anyone in the United States of America.”

These two really don’t know what they’re talking about.

While Alaska is a leading producer of crude oil, it produces relatively little natural gas, hardly any coal and no nuclear power. Its share of oil production has been declining sharply, and the state now ranks lower than Texas and Louisiana. Alaska is the ninth-largest energy supplier in the United States, accounting for a modest 3.5 percent share of the nation’s total energy production.

After nonpartisan pointed out Palin’s error in her interview with Gibson, the governor revised her statement somewhat, limiting it to oil and gas. But data compiled by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) contradict her claim that she oversees “nearly 20 percent” of oil and gas production in the country. According to authoritative EIA data, Alaska accounted for 7.4 percent of total U.S. oil and gas production in 2005.

It is not even correct for Palin to claim that her state is responsible for “nearly 20 percent” of U.S. oil production. Oil production has fallen sharply in Alaska during her governorship. The state’s share of total U.S. oil production fell from 18 percent in 2005 to 13 percent this year, according to the EIA.

What’s especially interesting about this is, if state energy production is key to understanding energy policy, George W. Bush entered the White House as the country’s foremost authority on the issue — Texas ranks first in the nation, producing 15.6% of America’s energy, more than quadruple Alaska’s ninth-best 3.5%. Dick Cheney’s Wyoming is second, producing 13.1% of the nation’s supply.

And as has become obvious, coming from an energy-producing state does not make one qualified in energy policy.

What’s also noteworthy is the way the campaign’s message has evolved, from one untruth to another. They started with Palin overseeing “nearly 20% of the U.S. domestic supply of energy.” That’s false. The line then became “20% of the U.S. domestic supply of oil and gas.” That’s false, too. As of yesterday, the new line is “20% of all our oil” coming from Alaska. And that’s false, too.

The Washington Post concluded, “The McCain-Palin campaign did not respond to a request for an explanation.”

What a surprise.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.