AAA announced today that the national average price of gasoline reached $3.72 per gallon-- the highest price on record for August 20th and a 12 percent increase since July 1st. Unfortunately, gasoline prices aren't the only thing increasing, so is our Nation's dependence on foreign oil. The New York Times recently reported that:
"The United States is increasing its dependence on oil from Saudi Arabia, raising its imports from the kingdom by more than 20 percent this year, even as fears of military conflict in the tinderbox Persian Gulf region grow."
As families and small businesses continue to struggle with rising prices at the pump, the Obama Administration continues to send American dollars and jobs overseas by blocking production of U.S. energy resources on federal lands. For example, President Obama's proposed offshore lease plan will keep over 85 percent of our offshore areas off-limits to American energy production for the next five years and was rejected by the House of Representatives in a bipartisan vote. We have the resources here in the United States to increase our energy independence, but instead the Obama Administration is choosing to keep those resources under lock-and-key while continuing our dangerous reliance on Middle Eastern oil.
Instead of increasing production, the Obama Administration is once again contemplating tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which is only intended for emergency situations, not short-term political gains. As Chairman Hastings noted in June of 2011 when the Obama Administration released 30 million barrels of oil from the Reserve:
"Rather than tap the SPR, weakening our domestic security should a real supply disruption occur, we should look to develop our true oil reserves in the Gulf, Alaska, the Outer Continental Shelf and our public lands in order to create jobs, lower prices, reduce our dependence on unstable foreign energy, and strengthen our national security."