The steadily increasing price of gas is placing a great strain on our families. Since President Obama took office, the average gas price has increased over 100%, now averaging $4 a gallon throughout South Florida.
In 2011, the typical U.S. household spent 8.4% of its income at the pump. Today's high, and rising, gas prices are squeezing family budgets and making it hard for our economy to recover. Every 50 cent increase in the price of gas costs the economy $70 billion a year. Congress must enact energy policies that will address these debilitating energy prices and enhance our national security by promoting energy independence, including developing new, clean and renewable, energy sources for the future.
The House has taken an all-of-the--above energy strategy that will cut red tape blocking energy production and finally harness American resources. With 68% of the price of a gallon of gasoline derived directly from the price of oil, this has never been more essential. Threatened, disrupted, and restricted oil supplies in the Middle East due to political turmoil in producer nations have driven up the price of oil, yet domestic energy production on federal land is down 40% compared to a decade ago.
Addressing the energy challenge facing our country must begin with increased energy independence. American energy means creating American jobs. There are large oil shale reserves in the United States. The United States Geological Survey estimates that U.S. oil shale reserves could be greater than 1.5 trillion barrels of oil, half of the world's oil shale resources. This is 5 times larger than Saudi Arabia's proven reserves. Rather than continue to be held hostage to unstable, hostile foreign countries we need to harness this resource and partner with our North American neighbors who also have vast energy resources. The Keystone XL pipeline project, which would extend a pipeline from the Alberta, Canada oil sands into the U.S., would give us access to the second largest oil reserves in the world, and is projected to produce as much as 1.4 million barrels of oil. Unfortunately, progress on the Keystone XL pipeline has been stalled by the administration and the State Department, which still has not granted the permits for construction to proceed. Together with increased development of alternative energy sources we can create new American jobs, expand domestic energy supply, and bring down the price at the pump.
Rising energy prices don't just affect families at the pump though. This past year American families' incomes fell on average yet the overall cost of products and goods they consume every day continued to increase. There is a direct correlation between changes in energy prices and changes in the price of food and commodities. Rising energy prices increase the cost of producing, transporting and processing agricultural commodities. All non-energy goods and services consumed by households rely, to some degree, on energy for their production. It takes energy to run a plant, and gasoline to fuel the mode of transportation responsible for distributing these goods to stores in order to be sold.
I believe in American resilience and ingenuity, and I know we can increase American-made energy in an environmentally safe way; addressing today's rising energy costs through a common sense energy policy. Both parties must work together to help get our economy moving and creating jobs -- and that starts by addressing our energy crisis.
Member of Congress