The oil market is globally integrated and global consumption is at an all time high. Accordingly, the cost of imported oil has not only risen, but continues to be subject to large fluctuations due to developments in the Middle East and elsewhere. It is imperative that we do all that we can to achieve energy security to insulate the U.S. economy from the uncertainty of global oil prices--a threat to both our economy and national security. The United States must increase domestic production of oil and reduce costly regulation.
The United States imports about half of the oil needed to meet domestic demand. We must make greater use of American-made energy sources. I strongly support expansion of off-shore oil drilling, expanded drilling for natural gas in upstate NY through hydraulic fracturing, approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, and the opening of Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to drilling. These steps will enable America to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and help create good-paying jobs at home. The oil we would get from ANWR alone would be more than we import from Saudi Arabia.
It is clear that we must reduce the cost of regulatory burdens that have prevented us from building a new oil refinery for more than 25 years. Current and future regulations being considered by the EPA, such as New Source Performance Standards targeting emissions from refineries and new regulations mandating ultra-low sulfur gasoline, have contributed to several recent domestic refinery closures.
We should also increase conservation, encourage nuclear energy in areas of the country that do not have evacuation concerns, and pursue alternative forms of energy such as wind, solar, hydropower and bio-fuel. I have a long standing record of supporting energy tax credits for individuals and businesses investing in alternative and renewable energy, including for expansion of natural gas vehicles and refueling infrastructure. Natural gas is a cleaner alternative to diesel fuel that is plentiful in the United States. Expanding our use of natural gas is a win-win situation that reduces our dependence on foreign oil, helps consumers save money, and creates jobs.