"Thank you all for joining us today for this oversight hearing on the current and near-term price expectations and trends for gasoline at the pump. As we all know, Americans are facing high prices as they go to fuel up their cars and trucks and are struggling with the impact of those prices. We've organized this hearing to learn more about what's contributing to these higher prices and what we can expect to see in the coming months as we approach the summer driving season.
"As I've said on several occasions in recent days, I believe it is important to use accurate facts when we work on these important energy policy issues. That is a major reason I've asked this panel of expert witnesses to be with us today -- to provide what these key facts are.
"Before we hear from the witnesses, I would like to note a few key points that I have made before, and that I think are beyond dispute.
"We know that the price of oil is set on a world market and that changes in our domestic oil production do not have a major impact on the price of oil in that world market. We do not face cycles of high gasoline prices in the United States because of a lack of domestic production, lack of access to Federal resources, or because of environmental regulations getting in the way of us obtaining cheap gasoline.
"We also know that there are many factors that can impact world oil markets. We hope to hear more about these today.
"I also hope that we can take what we learn and use it to focus on policies that can actually lead to more stable gasoline prices over time. This Committee did good work on those issues in 2007 in developing the bipartisan energy bill we passed that year. That bill has delivered more biofuels for transportation, and more efficient vehicles on our roads. It already has helped to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. We need to continue our work to find ways to use less oil and to be less dependent on the volatility of the world oil market. I hope today's discussion will provide information useful on how to do that."