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Gas Prices Got You Down

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Gas Prices Got You Down

Congressman John Boehner
May 31, 2007


With apologies to Benjamin Franklin, there is a third certainty in addition to death and taxes: gas prices will rise when summer driving season rolls around.

Skyrocketing gas prices are a simple lesson in supply and demand: While the demand for gas goes up this time of year, supplies are down because domestic refineries are switching from producing winter fuel to a cleaner-burning summer blend that creates less smog. A good thing for the environment; a bad thing for your wallet.

One of the key components to a balanced U.S. energy policy domestic oil production is currently bogged down by federal rules and regulations, consumers suffer at the pump and families must make difficult decisions about vacations and even day-to-day travel. There is a common-sense solution: we need to boost American-made energy and domestic oil production. There hasn\’t been a refinery built in this country since Jimmy Carter was President but theres a 10-year process just obtain the necessary permits. Last year House Republicans passed legislation that brings the timeline down to two to three years. Add in the construction time plus the inevitable lawsuits from environmental groups and its anyones bet when a new refinery could be built.

Simply put, we are too dependent on foreign oil and we must increase domestic production by opening up areas of the country to exploration in an environmentally-safe and responsible manner. Two years ago, the Republican-led Congress passed the Energy Policy Act the first comprehensive policy in over a decade that calls for exploration on just 2,000 of the 19 million acres in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge. ANWRs untapped energy resources alone could increase our total proven reserves by nearly 50 percent. Keeping this massive supply under the lock and key of federal regulations is strategically and economically unsound. With 21st century environmental technology and Americas strict standards, we can produce energy here at home to decrease our dependency on foreign oil and create more jobs.

We must also be committed to developing long-term energy alternatives that will help reduce our dependence on oil. The benefits of expanding our energy portfolio are not just in reducing prices but increasing opportunities here at home for new family-wage jobs and growing American industries. Ohio is among the largest coal-producing states in the country and we have devoted an enormous amount of resources for research and development. While retaining our position as a national leader on coal, we should seek to become a leader in other energy sectors as well.

Skyrocketing gas and energy prices are hitting family budgets like an unforeseen tax and so the frustrations felt by American consumers are understandable and justified. Whats not justified is that some would seek to take advantage of this difficult situation by artificially inflating prices at the pump. Any attempts at price gouging should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

This is a principle that is shared by Members of Congress and Americans alike. We must be careful, though, not to impose anti-market price controls that will only depress investments here at home, keep supplies tight and have the reverse effect of sending prices through the roof. We need to adopt a balanced energy policy that calls for both an increase in domestic supplies to meet our needs today and a sound financial commitment to boost research on fuels we can use tomorrow.

Boehner represents Ohios 8th District, which includes all of Darke, Miami and Preble counties, most of Butler and Mercer counties, and the northeastern corner of Montgomery County. He was first elected to Congress in 1990.

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