BY GUY CARUSO:
Gas prices are surging across the nation with California recently setting new records of consecutive days at nearly $4.70 per gallon. Unfortunately, Americans hoping for some relief at the pump will have to wait a little longer as analysts are predicting the high oil and gas prices will remain for the foreseeable future. Natural gas prices are also expected to remain high, with the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecasting a 30 percent increase in home heating bills this year. The Biden administration is scrambling for solutions, but its Carter-esque approach will only take us backward.
With echoes of President Carter encouraging Americans to wear a sweater to reduce home heating usage, White House press secretary Jen Psaki recently said up was down saying that “Our view is that the rise in gas prices over the long term makes an even stronger case for doubling down our investment and our focus on clean energy options, so that we are not relying on the fluctuations and OPEC.”
There’s much to unpack in that statement. The first being the administration’s apparent embrace of high gasoline prices to push its environmental agenda; never mind the short term financial burden this places on working families, or the long term consequences to our nation’s economy, to include rising inflation.
The second, while Ms. Psaki is correct that the United States shouldn’t have to rely on “fluctuations and OPEC,” is that the current situation is a problem of our own doing. The U.S. has an abundance of oil and natural gas and the capability to extract and transport both in an environmentally safe way. Yet the administration and environmental activists are leading us down a path that all but ensures we remain dependent on OPEC and Russian market management. Whether it’s cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline or throwing legal and bureaucratic roadblocks at the Dakota Access Pipeline and other energy infrastructure projects, our ability to meet the energy needs of the nation economically and efficiently is being hampered.
The demand for oil and natural gas is not going to subside any time soon, especially with Americans on the move again and the economy waking up from its COVID downturn. In its most recent International Energy Outlook, the EIA forecasted that global energy demand will continue to rise through 2050 with liquid fuels like petroleum as the largest energy source. This is not surprising news considering that as the report points out, “the majority of passenger and freight vehicles continue to be fueled by liquid fuel‐consuming internal combustion engines (ICEs).”
The nation must be prepared to satisfy that demand; otherwise, Americans will continue experiencing pain at the pump and higher home heating bills. The US and it’s IEA partners will be subject to supply security concerns for decades. Deleting the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) for short term political gain is short sighted.
This article originally appeared at Real Clear Energy