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High Gas Prices and the War on Oil

The US Should be 100% Energy Independent By Now


Gas prices have remained at historic highs since President Obama election. There had historically been little change in the price of Gasoline over time. From 1980 through 2005 (yes, a span of 25 years) the average monthly price of gasoline almost exclusively stayed between the $1.10-$1.90 range. During that time, conservative attempts to increase domestic supplies to the point of being completely self-sufficient were blocked over and over again. Today, Americans are paying the price at the pump, and it is causing lasting harm on the economy. While gas prices spiked during the end of George W. Bush's second term, the prices eventually fell under $2.00 per gallon by the time Obama was inaugurated in 2009. But that 6-month reprieve came to a quick end as the most anti-oil administration ever took over. Gas prices immediately soared and have stayed above $3.00/gallon since January of 2011, starting an unprecedented 26-month run of $3+ gas with no end in sight.

America Should be 100% Energy Independent

Every decade, conservatives fight for an increase in domestic oil production and domestic refining capacity. The potential jobs would be a major boom to the economy. In the 1990's, anti-oil politicians opposed increased production citing regularly that it would "take a decade" to see any true benefits. But that decade has come and gone, and the same arguments were used after George W. Bush was elected in 2000. Once again, that "decade" where we could have seen the benefits is also about to expire, with little progress towards true energy independence. Both the government and independent energy experts confirm that their is probably more oil in the United States than all of the Middle East combined.

Democrats Prop Up Expensive "Green Energy"

One of the major excuses for not pushing for the expansion of domestic oil production is that gasoline is viewed as the energy source of the past, rather than the present or immediate future. However, the reality remains that the alternative energy sources of the future are years away from coming close to replacing oil. But most of the efforts of the green-energy activists is to spend billions of dollars in taxpayer dollars to prop up a dream rather than assist a necessity. The costs of green-energy are artificially lowered by the government in the short-term, making them more competitive against the more widely available energy sources. At the same time, the price of crude oil is artificially increased as the government continues to regulate, punish, and oppose domestic oil production. So while green-energy alternatives can be more competitive than in the past, it is mostly as a result of government intervention. In the long run, the government simply couldn't afford to subsidize production if usage became widespread. (Though I realize talking about what the government can "afford" can be a bit of a laughing point by now.)

Instead, ethanol gets "blended" into gasoline mixtures, which manages to both reduce fuel efficiency and increase costs to the consumer. Not to mention all of the taxpayer-paid subsidies that go to the farmers and the companies that blend the mixtures. It's pretty much a triple-whammy of costs all-around for the consumer. And while well-connected allies of powerful politicians get multi-million dollar credits, loans, and grants (even while in bankruptcy, ahem, Solyndra) projects such as the Keystone Pipeline get denied or pushed back again and again.

Fighting Special Interests

The key to energy independence and ending the War on Oil is to get the special interest groups out of the situation and let the market decide when alternative fuels are ready for mass consumption. The economy prospers best when entrepreneurs are able to battle and exist on their own merits. Instead, we have domestic oil production being punished at the expense of not-quite-ready green energy which gets constantly rewarded.

But even special interests who fight for oil companies need to be fought as well. And that takes the rare politician who is not beholden to such groups. For instance, in Alaska, major oil companies often leased land and then sat on the oil supply in order to keep production and costs where they wanted it. Only one person - Sarah Palin - fought the oil industry and forced them to produce on the leased land. That is the courage few politicians have, but one that would be necessary in order to ensure the United States could finally become energy independent.

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