We all feel the pain of record gasoline prices. Because the price of oil is set on the global market, there is no simple formula for relief.
Our addiction to foreign oil is dangerous to both our economy and our national security. Becoming energy independent is a priority but since the U.S. has an estimated 3% of global petroleum reserves, yet consumes 24% of the world's oil, energy independence requires short-term, medium-term and long-term goals.
Here's what I am doing and here's what I support.
Almost all economists looking at today's high oil prices think that financial speculators are driving up the prices. Estimates are that lax oversight may allow for the price of a barrel of crude oil to exceed what the supply and demand market would dictate. I have a plan to ensure that the federal Commodity Futures Trading Commission has the same authority to detect, prevent and punish price manipulation for traders who operate on foreign exchanges just as the Commission does for U.S. exchanges.
In the short term, we need to produce more energy, including domestic drilling off-shore, and investment in oil shale and tar sands extraction. Conserving energy is another important short-term action. I voted for raising the fuel efficiency standards-boosting to 35 miles per gallon the average that cars and SUVs in this country must meet by 2020.
Long term, we must invest in research and development of new technology. I support efforts to provide funding for R&D of better battery technology and for solar, wind and geothermal enhancements. Energy independence is achievable, but only if we pursue a balanced and comprehensive course of action.