GASOLINE FOR AMERICA'S SECURITY ACT OF 2005 -- (House of Representatives - October 07, 2005)
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Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the Gasoline for America's Security Act and in strong support for the substitute offered by the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. STUPAK) and the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. BOUCHER).
Our Nation is facing a real energy crisis. The people of Connecticut, and millions of Americans, are paying record amounts to fill their gas tanks. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that in the upcoming winter, homeowners in the northeast can expect to pay almost 30 percent more to heat their homes. American families will pay hundreds, if not thousands, more in extra energy costs this year. This will be a hard year for too many Americans.
Yet, in the name of Hurricane Katrina the House majority leadership is pushing a bill that does nothing to reduce our dependence on oil, lower gas prices, or help Americans get through the upcoming winter. We cannot solve high gas prices by throwing money at oil companies. We need to bring some real transparency into the oil industry and shine the brightest possible light on how these companies--making billions in record profits are squeezing every possible dollar out of the American people. It's our American families who are struggling to heat their homes and fill their tanks this winter that need relief, not big oil.
I was honored to join the gentlewoman from New York (Mrs. SLAUGHTER) in offering an amendment that would have ended the practice of wholesale price discrimination by prohibiting oil companies from restricting the source of a dealer's supply of gasoline. This amendment, based on legislation proposed by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, would have gotten straight to the heart of high gas prices by freeing our local gas stations from the hold of big oil companies. The hard truth is that our small local gas station owners are just as much at the whim of big oil companies as the rest of us. They are locked into restrictive franchising agreements that require them to purchase their supply from a single wholesaler. As a result many of these owners, who may own two or more stations in different towns, often have to pay different prices on the same gas on the same day, depending on where their stations are located. Our amendment would have simply freed station owners to find the most competitive and fair market price to purchase their supply and pass real savings on to their customers.
Last night, while I was waiting at the Rules Committee to testify on our amendment, I had the opportunity to listen to many of my colleagues offer amendments that would have significantly improved this bill. From increasing fuel efficiency, addressing the natural gas crisis and making our Nation energy independent, it was clear to me that there are many worthwhile ideas that deserve real debate on the House floor. Unfortunately, as they do time and again, the majority rejected these excellent amendments in favor of pushing a bill that will do nothing for Americans paying high energy costs.
Instead of throwing taxpayer dollars at an industry making record profits, let us debate the real issues that are driving up the cost of energy. Let us take on the price gouging and market manipulation that is happening at all levels of oil production and distribution. Let us have a real discussion on how we can free our nation from dependence on foreign oil and develop the hydrogen and fuel cell technologies that will lead our energy future.
These debates are not taking place on the House floor today. The American people deserve better.
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