What can be done about high gas prices?
High gas prices are affecting Alabamians in more ways than one. With skyrocketing prices at the pump, high gas prices are causing many local families to postpone or cancel their annual vacations. High gas prices are also affecting our everyday day commutes and forcing us to make budget cut-backs to other luxuries and even some necessities. In addition, the high price of gas is causing the price of food to be on the increase. My wife, Caroline, reminds me of this quite often.
This past week, Alabama families and small businesses have paid close to $4 per gallon of gasoline, according to AAA, and I believe that it's time for this trend to end. That price is simply outrageous.
On July 14th, President Bush took a step at addressing this problem by lifting the executive order banning off-shore exploration. His actions proved that Republicans in Washington are listening to the American people's cry for help, since we have been asking for the ability to drill for oil for several months now. But his action alone is not enough, since identical congressional bans remain in place.
Now it is up to Congress to lift restrictions on offshore exploration and provide real solutions to lower gas prices. Our energy problems are all about supply and demand, and as prices at the pump continue to soar, we must take steps to increase the supply of American-made energy sources. We have been dependent on foreign oil for way too long.
Any economist will tell you that in order to affect consumer prices, you must alter the supply and demand. In order for the price of gasoline to come down, the demand needs to decrease and the supply needs to increase. Republicans have great ideas to address this problem, but many in Congress refuse to even debate it.
Here are a few staggering statistics that prove that Americans must decrease our dependence on oil.
According to the Department of Energy, the United States consumed over 15 million barrels per day of petroleum products in 2004, and consumption is expected to increase to nearly 26.1 million barrels per day by 2025. In 2007, the United States consumed over 142 billion gallons of gasoline.
In 2007, the United States consumed over 142 billion gallons of gasoline according to the Energy Information Administration.
As families and small businesses are struggling to pay $4 per gallon of gasoline, some in Washington would rather "pack it up" and go home for the August break than debate the option of increasing American energy production. As of now, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will not allow debate on this subject, even though some of her Democratic colleagues have indicated they would support a plan to increase our energy supply.
I suggest that we seriously look at many approaches that ease the pain at the pump by finding more American-made energy, while conserving the energy that we have. On July 23rd, I co-sponsored the "American Energy Act", a bill that would help reduce gas prices by exploring new technologies, encouraging greater conservation and efficiency, and increasing American energy production in an environmentally-safe manner.
Any steps that can be taken now to increase the future supply of oil, or reduce the future demand for oil in the U.S., can therefore lead to lower prices today.
Many of us in Congress believe we need to use more of the oil and gas that is available here in our country. Over the long run, we believe that America needs to develop and implement new alternative energy sources.
Poll after poll and study after study show that the energy solutions we have proposed obtain widespread public support. It's time to do something and it's time to doing something now.
Over the following weeks, I hope to discuss in more detail some of the options that Congress is considering, in order to drive down the price of oil. As always, I appreciate your thoughts and input.