NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 20, 2009

Gasoline prices are up since the start of the year, but the summer of 2009 has thus far been a bargain at the pump compared to a year ago when prices exceeded $4 a gallon. However, the respite from sky-high prices is likely temporary, says Ben Lieberman, a Senior Policy Analyst in energy and the environment at the Heritage Foundation.

A return to $4 a gallon gas -- or higher -- will be made even more certain if Congress and the President succeed in enacting a host of proposals to crack down on domestic energy supplies.  Instead, the federal government should support several pending pro-domestic energy measures that would help meet the nation's growing demand in the years ahead:

  • Expand offshore and onshore oil production into previously restricted areas, including Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, where an estimated 10 billion barrels of oil lie beneath a few thousand acres that can be accessed with minimal environmental impact.
  • Reduce the regulatory and legal delays that can slow and sometimes stop production.
  • Allow further progress on oil shale.
  • Prevent costly new anti-energy regulations from being imposed in the name of addressing global warming.

Such principles are contained in bills like the American Energy Innovation Act (H.R. 2828), the No Cost Stimulus Act (S. 570 and H.R. 1431) and the American Energy Act (H.R. 2846).

It should be obvious, but in Washington it is often not: discouraging domestic oil supplies with access restrictions, regulations, fees and taxes will add to the future price at the pump, while streamlining these impediments to increased production will do the opposite, says Lieberman.

Congress and the President should be enacting measures that allow oil and gasoline to be as plentiful and affordable as possible to meet the nation's energy needs. Instead, they are doing the opposite, says Lieberman.

Source: Ben Lieberman, "Five Things Congress and the President Are Doing to Bring Back Sky-High Gas Prices," Heritage Foundation, WebMemo, No. 2587, August 13, 2009.


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