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It's Time for a Bipartisan Plan to Lower Fuel Costs

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

It's Time for a Bipartisan Plan to Lower Fuel Costs

Congressman John Boehner
April 25, 2008

We recently marked the two-year anniversary of congressional Democrats saying they had a "commonsense plan" to lower fuel costs. Problem is, that plan has never been revealed and gas prices are, on average, $1.25 per gallon higher than in 2006.

The rising costs are having severe effects not just on family budgets but on industries and local governments. The Richmond Palladium-Item reported on April 2 that surging gas prices forced that city's police department to have fewer patrol cars. Some school districts in Bowling Green, KY, are looking at cutting bus routes and even, as reported by WKBO News, "going to four day school weeks" because fuel prices are so high.

In Texas, volunteer fire departments are reducing their equipment budgets to be able to afford gas, and the U.S. Department of the Interior recently noted that the trucking industry is poised to spend $135 billion on fuel this year - a $23 million increase from 2007.

To put the true extent of this into perspective, consider that the average American family consumes 1,143 gallons of fuel per year, according to the Energy Information Administration. Based on the $2.33 price per gallon of gasoline when the Democrats took control of Congress on January 4, 2007, a family would have spent $2,663 per year on gas. But based on today's price - a whopping $3.56 per gallon - that same family would spend about $4,069 per year - that's $1,406 less for summer vacationsÂ… $1,406 less for necessities like food and clothesÂ… and $1,406 less for retirement or college savings.

Memorial Day weekend - the traditional start of summer travel season - is just around the corner. Until we begin to address our problems with regard to domestic supply, we will remain at the mercy of foreign fuel suppliers and you will continue to pay higher and higher costs. A recent study by Canadian bank CIBC states that the price of oil is expected to soar to $225 a barrel by 2012 as supplies tighten. The cost of a barrel currently hovers around $120.

Enough is enough. Empty rhetoric and political promises have done absolutely nothing to lower fuel costs. So far in the 110th Congress, not one energy bill brought to a vote in the U.S. House has contained a single watt or gallon of new domestic energy, despite assurances from Democratic leaders that they have a "commonsense plan." It's time to see that plan. But if there is no such blueprint that will take real action to reduce costs without raising taxes, then it's high time they stop playing partisan games and work with House Republicans to develop a plan that will work.

The best way to bring down prices is by increasing all forms of energy - such as biofuels and nuclear - and especially by increasing our domestic supply of oil in an environmentally responsible way. The U.S. Geological Survey recently announced that the Bakken Shale that stretches across Montana and North Dakota may hold as much as 3.7 billion barrels of oil. The irony is that we have plenty of oil right here at home - more than 10 billion barrels in Alaska, 30 billion barrels offshore and an incredible 1.3 trillion barrels in the Rocky Mountains. We just can't go after it because of extreme environmental regulations.

We can - and we must - find a balance between being responsible stewards of the environment while producing our own energy. In the midst of a slowing economy, falling home values and soaring costs of living, these fuel costs are a heavy premium for working families, particularly those in suburban and rural communities who are paying more and more just to drive to work each day. Isn't it time for a bipartisan, comprehensive plan to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy, lower costs here at home and invest in all forms of energy to provide relief to working families, create American jobs and grow our economy?

Boehner represents Ohio's 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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