U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today discussed the significant benefits of rising American oil production at a hearing held by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The purpose of the hearing was to consider gasoline prices, including a number of factors that could be affecting them, and broader changes taking place in the petroleum industry.
In her opening statement, Murkowski highlighted high fuel costs in Alaska. She spoke of the need to increase oil production on federal lands, which has fallen in each of the past two years, and suggested Alaska as the perfect place for that to happen.
Consistent with the principles and recommendations laid out in her Energy 20/20 blueprint, Murkowski also called for additional steps to be taken at the federal level to lower gasoline prices.
"I continue to believe that we should take every step possible to reduce and stabilize fuel prices for American families and businesses. That will include increasing production on federal lands, increasing the efficiency of our vehicles, and increasing the use of alternatives," Murkowski said. "It will mean rejecting, rather than seeking, punitive tax hikes. It will require the timely approval of needed projects -- including the Keystone XL pipeline -- and the prompt adjustment of any regulation that comes in conflict with our desire for abundant and affordable energy."
Murkowski asked the panel of six witnesses at Tuesday's hearing whether they shared her belief that rising domestic oil production was having a positive impact on crude oil prices, which constitute the largest component of prices at the pump. Not one witness spoke up to disagree.
Murkowski reiterated her call to reform the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), and questioned several witnesses about the potential economic consequences of rising "RIN" prices, which are a compliance mechanism for the RFS, as the country approaches the ethanol "blend wall." RIN prices have spiked from just a few cents each at the start of this year to as high as $1.32 yesterday, representing a significant and increasing burden for many parties that are obligated to comply with the RFS.
Murkowski is the lead Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.