For far too long Americans have been feeling the pain at the pump. When President Obama took office, the average price of gas was approximately $1.89 a gallon. Under his Administration, prices have nearly doubled, burdening our economy, job creators, and American families due to red tape and regulations that punish American energy sources.
While travelling the 9th district last week, I had the opportunity to visit with a local distribution center and speak with the owners about their top concern - gas prices. On average they spend over $60,000 a week, and over $3 million a year to keep their fleet of 70 trucks on the road -- that is over $1.5 million more coming out of their pockets in just three years.
As a nation, we are faced with a dangerous dependence on foreign sources of oil to meet our increasing energy demand. Our energy markets are held hostage by foreign nations and at home our domestic oil production and refining capacity remains hampered by overregulation and outdated laws. Just this past year, the Sunoco Refinery in Marcus Hook, PA was shut down due to declining market conditions and over reaching policies from the EPA that regulated the plant into the ground.
This week, the House of Representatives will vote on the Domestic Energy and Jobs Act that will not only reduce energy costs for hard working families and small businesses, but also spur badly needed economic growth and job creation. The legislation will require that any draw--down from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve be paired with an expansion of oil and gas leasing on federal lands. It will also streamline the well permitting process, removing government roadblocks and bureaucratic red tape that hinder and delay American energy production and job creation.
We should no longer be so reliant on foreign energy supplies. For years the Obama Administration has been ignoring our own tremendous domestic natural resources. Billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas remain locked away off our shores and trapped in shale rock. The United States has more natural gas than Saudi Arabia has oil. We have enough coal to last 250 years and new technology exists, invented right in our backyard at Penn State, to convert coal to liquid.
President Obama has taken a bad situation and made it worse by rejecting TransCanada's application to build the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Texas. The President's policies are no longer just failing to give us the recovery he promised -- they are actively destroying jobs for American workers. The Keystone pipeline would create some 20,000 jobs immediately and up to 100,000 indirect jobs. A bipartisan, veto-proof House majority has voted to require approval of the popular Keystone pipeline, a project that has been reviewed and studied for years. However, the President actively continues to prevent the creation of thousands of good paying jobs for American families.
High fuel costs are a drag on our struggling economy, hurting families and making it harder for small businesses to hire new workers. We need to increase domestic energy production and decrease the nation's dependency on oil imported from countries that are our enemies and competitors for energy.
House Republicans have a plan to create jobs and lower energy costs, and it's time President Obama and Senate Democrats stop blocking bipartisan jobs bills. American families and businesses need the relief.