By Congressman Michael Turner
The impact of rising energy prices is felt in nearly every sector of our economy. The increase in the price of gasoline has made everything from the drive to work to the cost of groceries more expensive. Many residents of our community have contacted my office to express their concern and frustration about the high cost of gas and its effect on their daily lives. I am greatly concerned about the effect rising energy prices are having on our economy and on our community. I believe there are steps our government should take to help alleviate the crunch we are currently feeling at the gas pump. One important step is to immediately begin domestic drilling for oil in a safe and environmentally conscious way.
I have consistently voted in support of legislation that encourages the exploration and development of available domestic petroleum resources to help increase our energy supply. I am confident that oil exploration can be accomplished in an environmentally safe manner through strict regulatory supervision and 21st century technology. Unlocking this untapped resource will put America on the path to energy self-sufficiency and make us less dependent on foreign sources of oil. The increased supply will bring down the high cost of gasoline over time. While drilling alone is not a complete answer to high gas costs, it is a crucial element of a larger effort to move toward energy independence.
Our country should immediately begin constructing new refineries to help increase the pace and efficiency of gasoline production. We must also continue to invest in alternative energy sources such as hydrogen, ethanol, solar power, wind, and clean coal, an abundant domestic natural resource found right here in Ohio.
In addition to increasing our energy supply, our nation must continue to become more efficient in our energy consumption. We must recycle used materials and take common sense energy efficiency steps like turning off lights in unused rooms. All of these efforts and more must be employed while our nation continues to invest in scientific research and experimentation.
The need to change America’s energy policy by beginning domestic drilling is very real. Crude oil prices have doubled in the past 16 months as growing demand in a global market has far exceeded the world’s production capacity. As demand for a product increases, and the supply remains steady or even decreases, the price of the product will surely increase. Unfortunately, the Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives opposes a comprehensive energy policy that includes domestic drilling. According to the Department of Energy’s Information Agency, the average price of a gallon of gasoline has risen from $2.33 in January of 2007 to $4.09 as of the first week of June of 2008. If nothing is done to expand our domestic energy supply our dependence on foreign sources will increase and threaten both our economic and national security.
Families across Southwest Ohio and our nation are feeling the impact of rising gas prices. I am greatly concerned about this issue and will continue to advocate for common sense energy solutions like domestic drilling and continued investment in renewable energy. I believe adoption of these policies will improve our nation’s economy and allow Americans to better meet the needs of their families.