Energy prices had already been rising for months, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has exacerbated the problem, creating powerful ripple effects in the world economy and placing severe pressure on the global energy market.
Behind the United States and Saudi Arabia, Russia is the world’s third largest oil producer, according to the International Energy Agency. Though the United States has been able to meet some of the increased world demand for oil thanks to its prolific production, the disruptions in Russian oil supply have still resulted in a massive distortion of the world energy market.
Despite America’s position as a leading energy producer, the United States is part of that global market, and subject to the rising prices facing the rest of the world, and U.S. consumers are feeling the pain of those rising energy costs at the gas pump and beyond.
As Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) recently told Fox News:
“Yesterday, I was up on the plateau and up in Jackson County, Tennessee talking with the director of schools and we were looking through where these gas bills per month to run have gone – going from $2,500, $2,800, $3,300 and moving on up into over $4,000…$5,000. This is what our counties and our governments and our school systems are up against. It’s what families are up against.”
In 2020, then-presidential candidate Joe Biden proclaimed: “We are going to get rid of fossil fuels.” By undermining the importance and investor confidence of domestic oil and natural gas production, lawmakers have limited the industry’s ability to push production even further.
The fallout from rising energy prices goes far beyond higher prices at the pump.
Airfare costs are expected to rise anywhere between 10 to 15 percent in the coming months, according to industry analysts. Rideshare services are also raising their prices; Uber announced it would be adding a surcharge on Uber fares and Uber Eats deliveries in the United States and Canada due to rising prices at the pump. Lyft quickly followed, announcing on Monday they too would be adding a temporary fuel surcharge.
Chris Spear, President & CEO of the American Trucking Associations (ATA), stated in a letter to President Biden:
“We cannot afford to ignore our nation’s current energy needs in a fog of partisan idealism about the future of energy use. The trucking industry supports an all-of-the-above approach when it comes to securing our energy future.”
U.S. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy also wrote to California Gov. Newsom asking for greater support for oil and natural gas production within the state, pleading the case for the hurting wallets of Californians. The state, which has always suffered comparatively high gas prices, has seen staggering numbers at the gas station these past weeks, with the state average exceeding $5 per gallon. McCarthy wrote:
“As Russia continues to attack Ukraine, it is critical that we actively work to replace Russian oil imports – which total about 6.17 percent of California’s total oil imports – with cleaner American energy that can be produced right here in California by Californians.”
It’s not just Republicans. U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mt.) recently stated:
“We shouldn’t be advancing other countries who don’t share our values. So, I think the opportunity here is to do it domestically, create jobs here, deal with it domestically and also see if we can help Europe out too.”
Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, told NBC News:
“We all agree we need to make progress towards solving climate change, but when we don’t recapitalize the American industry all it does is shift that production to Russia and OPEC, those greenhouse gas emissions don’t go away — they just get shifted from another country.”
There are key actions the Biden administration can take today to help boost oil and gas production for our future, including restarting leasing on federal lands, removing impediments for U.S. energy infrastructure, and encouraging private investment in oil and gas companies.
America has become an energy powerhouse in the last decade thanks to the hard work and dedication of oil and natural gas companies. It’s up to the Biden administration to preserve that hard-won energy security and protect everyday Americans by embracing rational energy policy.
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