Republican News

Republican News

High Gasoline Prices May 5, 2004 All these Senators that have come down here to rail against President Bush about high gasoline prices need to take a look in the mirror and blame themselves. I have been down here for months trying to get a comprehensive energy bill passed that will promote a policy of greater energy security and independence and some of these very Senators are blocking those efforts. The Energy Bill is not a silver bullet to lower prices for gasoline, oil or natural gas. No such thing exists. There is no silver bullet. It is disingenuous for Democrats to imply that one does exist. They know better. Our bill is a long-term plan to deal with our supply and manage our demand. That is the only responsible strategy. All else is empty promises. We need to more domestic oil and natural gas production. The Energy Bill provides that. We need alternative fuel resources. The Energy Bill promotes renewable resources like wind and solar; it promotes clean coal technology and nuclear power. We need this broader portfolio to reduce risks of over dependence on one resource. Senator Schumer said “Don’t think there is nothing we can do about high oil prices.” He is right. His suggested remedy – stop filling SPRO - is wrong. But I do agree that we can do something about oil, natural gas and gasoline prices. Changes to our Strategic Petroleum Reserve – the SPRO are short-term, short-sighted, and bad policy. SPRO is a national security asset. It is there to serve us in an emergency situation when there is a severe energy disruption – it is not a price control tool. If we alter our SPRO practices, then we can assume that OPEC will alter their production output. This leads to more volatility in the market – a disastrous result. President Clinton tried to use the SPRO to deal with high oil prices once. He failed. Gasoline prices dropped by one penny. That’s all. A single penny. Risking our national security for one penny on the gallon is not worth it. I know we are all concerned about high gasoline prices. On average, gasoline demand in the United States is about 9 million barrels a day. That is roughly 378 million gallons of gasoline a day. Some parts of the country are experiencing over $2.00 a gallon prices and others have prices in the $1.70 range. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), national monthly average regular gasoline pump prices are expected to peak at about $1.87 per gallon. One of the repeated reasons we hear for high gasoline prices is are the high oil prices demanded by OPEC. In 2003, the U.S. imported 42% of its total petroleum imports from OPEC countries. Supplies from OPEC provide about 26% of our domestic crude needs. Senator Wyden has introduced a Resolution about OPEC. I agree with many points in his resolution. The resolution says that the President should communicate with members of OPEC and maintain strong relations. Well, of course, that’s a given. We need to all work together in a cohesive fashion in our relations with oil exporting countries and send a message that we want reliable supply at fair prices. Senator Wyden’s resolution also says that the Congress should take short and long term approaches to reducing and stabilizing oil prices. Well, if we pass the Energy Bill now – in the short term – then in the long term we will see the benefits of lower oil prices. The last part of Senator Wyden’s resolution lists some things that what can be done to lower oil prices. I particularly agree with “consider lifting unnecessary regulations that interfere with the ability of the United States’ domestic oil, gas, coal, hydro-electric, biomass and other alternative energy industries to supply a greater percentage of energy needs of the United States” – that is an excellent description of the Energy Bill pending before this Senate. If Senator Wyden is serious that he wants those things, he should be voting to pass an Energy Bill that includes the very list in his resolution.