Pain at the Pump
March 17, 2011
Pain at the Pump
Filling up at the pump is becoming an unbearable experience. Since January 2009, the average cost of gasoline has increased 67%. At this rate, the average American family can expect to spend $700 more this year than we did last year to fill up our tanks.
Ironically, the President has advocated for major infrastructure improvements that include road and bridge construction, but he is unwilling to do anything positive about the costs of energy. Why “invest” in new roads if it is increasingly unaffordable for people to run their cars on them?
Fortunately, solutions to the problem exist. Though it certainly contributes, rising costs can’t be blamed exclusively on current turmoil in the Middle East. We need to fix our system so that a revolution in one part of Northern Africa does not disrupt our energy supply. We simply can’t allow our energy costs to be dictated by unrest or political problems in countries that hate America.
Though the President claimed to have lifted the knee-jerk ban on drilling in the Gulf that he implemented after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, only one permit for drilling has been issued. Significantly increasing the number of permits available for drilling would reverse the loss of nearly 300,000 barrels of oil production every day. It would also help to stimulate the economy of the shores where more than 12,000 jobs have been lost since the President’s ban.
On the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, offshore production could be increased, but first it has to be allowed. The bicoastal ban on drilling first and foremost limits our supplies, but also sends business abroad. Instead of drilling on U.S. shores, where American jobs could be created and the American economy stimulated, rigs are headed elsewhere.
In America’s heartland, the oil industry plays a critical role. Washington needs to cut through the red tape on drillers – not add more as the EPA and the President are recommending. Independent producers in Kansas are the backbone of the industry in the Sunflower State, and their contributions to the state’s economy create jobs and help our energy independence.
One idea that will not reduce gas prices is increasing taxes on energy. Whether it is the proposals from the President to hike income taxes on oil and gas companies or the EPA’s regulatory attempt at a massive carbon tax, American consumers will simply pay more to Washington for less energy. Higher energy taxes are not a solution to higher energy prices – it is simply a recipe for more taxes for Washington to spend.
So long as we rely on other nations – who don’t share our values – to meet our energy needs, we simultaneously allow ourselves to fall victim to painful experiences at the pump and permit our economy to be held hostage by foreign powers. As we attempt to climb out of an economic downturn, let’s not make it more painful for Americans to take care of their families and businesses. Instead, let’s turn loose our American energy entrepreneurs to meet our own needs.