Patrick Murphy Fights to Lower Gas Prices
Through Tax Cuts, Increased Domestic Oil Production, and Investing in Renewable Energy, Murphy Pursues Short- and Long-Term Solutions to Drive Down Fuel Costs
When President Bush took office in 2001, a gallon of gas cost $1.47. Since then, the price here in Bucks County has skyrocketed past $4. With working families struggling to keep up with these record prices, Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-8th District) said this week - with the Fourth of July approaching - that America must declare its energy independence. In order to lower gas prices for families and businesses, as well as end our dependence on foreign oil, Rep. Murphy believes we need both short- and long-term solutions. These solutions include tax cuts, increased domestic production and a commitment to investing in renewable energy. At a press conference at the Bristol Food Mart - where gas is over $4.15 per gallon - Murphy was joined Tuesday by union members and small business owners who explained that rising gas prices are making it more difficult for them to earn a living. In the short term, Murphy believes we must put more oil on the market and provide tax savings for consumers and businesses. In the long-term, America must end its dangerous dependence on foreign oil by investing in renewable energy and requiring oil companies to "use it or lose it" on the 68 million acres of land they currently have access to but are not drilling. Unfortunately, efforts to lower gas prices and promote green energy have fallen victim to partisan gridlock in Washington. On Tuesday, Murphy called on Democrats and Republicans to work together on behalf of working families being pinched at the pump.
"Families here in Bucks County are paying record prices and its time for some relief. We need to end our dependence on foreign oil so we can finally declare our energy independence," said Congressman Patrick Murphy. "By putting more oil on the market, providing important tax breaks to families and businesses and committing ourselves to green jobs and alternative fuels, we can secure our energy future."
"The truth is, we cannot simply drill our way to lower gas prices, but we cannot allow oil companies to sit on their hands while families are struggling. We need both short- and long-term solutions to this problem and in order to help those being hit hardest, Democrats and Republicans have to work together," Murphy added.
While our country needs to pursue an aggressive long-term energy strategy that will position us for an energy independent future, Pennsylvania families need help now. With Congressman Murphy's support, Congress temporarily stopped filling the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), which is already at its highest level ever. With plenty in reserve for national security emergencies, the temporary stop is estimated to put another 70,000 barrels of oil on the market every day, lowering prices up to $.24 per gallon. Murphy also supported a paid-for federal gas tax holiday. This could save an additional $.18 per gallon and does not borrow from the Highway Trust Fund. Recognizing that energy costs were preventing the growth of small businesses, Congressman Murphy voted to cut taxes on their fuel purchases. He also co-sponsored the PUMP Act, which would crack down on speculators who are manipulating oil prices to make millions in profits on the back of working families. The legislation could cut in half the price for a barrel of oil.
Although it would take longer to see the results, Congressman Murphy understands that increasing domestic production of oil is an important part of lowering fuel prices. Right now, oil companies are sitting on 68 million acres of land that is leased for drilling. Murphy voted for legislation that would force oil companies to "use it or lose it." That legislation that would spark production by forcing oil companies to use the land they already have. Unfortunately for consumers, partisan politics defeated this measure Washington but Rep. Murphy is determined to keep fighting.
Murphy also believes that increasing production through drilling must be matched by a national commitment to increase energy production through innovation. He is proud that Bucks County is home to the fourth largest solar field in America and that the old U.S. Steel site in Fairless Hills has become a green energy hub. While it was already a local priority, Congressman Murphy helped make it a national effort by supporting the Renewable Energy and Job Creation Act, which would provide $20 billion in tax incentives for investing in and developing renewable energy. Congress also passed legislation to increase automobile efficiency to 35 miles per gallon. It is estimated that, in the future, this bill could save families up to $1,000 a month at the pump.