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Getting a Grip on Gas Prices

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by Congressman Joe Barton


You see the signs everywhere from Mexia to the Metroplex. With summer vacations just around the corner, prices at the pump are at an all-time high and continue to rise. In fact, many experts predict a gallon of gas will soon cost $4.


This historic rise comes on the heels of many in the Democrat-led majority vowing to lower fuel prices.


Around the country, people are starting to call the difference between what gasoline cost when the Democrats took over and what it costs now - regular unleaded is up more than a dollar since then - the “Pelosi Premium.”


When the Democrats took control of Congress, new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said, “Democrats have a common sense plan to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices.” (4/24/06)


Since that statement, AAA reports that the national average for a gallon of gas has risen from $2.33 in January 2007 to a record high of $3.42 this week. As you probably realized last time you filled up, gas prices in our area aren’t far from the record breaking average.


Skyrocketing prices are hitting truck drivers and farmers especially hard. A gallon of diesel is already more than $4 a gallon at some stations, which means filling up a big rig can cost more than $1,000.


So whether diesel fuel is being used to power farm equipment or haul goods across country, increased gas costs are being passed on to all of us through higher product prices.


There are two very different ideas about the future of our nation’s energy supply in Washington. I believe in exploring all energy sources.


We are making great gains in creating and producing renewable fuel sources.


Biodiesel and other bio blends offer great promise and can compliment our current energy supply. However, this change won’t come overnight and we can’t turn our backs on the fossil fuels that drive our economy.


Remember we aren’t the only ones who depend on oil and natural gas. Growing countries like India and China could soon replace the U.S. as the number one oil consumer in the world. Their hunger for fossil fuel helped push oil prices up over $115 a barrel earlier this week. The cost of that crude oil now accounts for almost 70% of the price you pay at the pump.


To offset this problem we must increase our domestic energy production. I have long been a supporter of oil and gas exploration.


We have large, untapped reserves off of the east and west coasts and in Alaska. Some experts estimate that there are more than 100 billion barrels of oil in these areas, enough to supply the U.S. for decades.


But some in the Congress won’t let us find out for sure. I have supported efforts to expand domestic exploration, but each time members of the majority have led the charge to shoot down the proposals.


Often they argue that energy exploration and production would destroy environmentally sensitive areas, but in Alaska’s Artic National Wildlife Refuge, for example, the process would only use 2,000 of 19.6 million acres - that is just .01%.


But as today’s gas prices prove, “NO” is not an energy policy for America.


Some in Congress have recently proposed raising the gas tax by 50 cents a gallon. They say that adding another half-dollar to the price of gasoline will finally force people to cut down on their driving.


I don’t understand this logic. Texans will still need to use their cars, trucks and SUVs to go to work, pick up their kids from school and go to the grocery store. Raising the gas tax will only make these everyday tasks more expensive.


So until some lawmakers change their views, higher gas taxes and an unwillingness to explore and use our own reserves will continue to handcuff working families who are struggling to make ends meet.


We have the knowledge and resources right now to help beat back record prices at the pump; I hope my colleagues in Congress believe it’s time to use them.  

Office of Congressman Joe Barton (TX-06)

(202) 225-2002 phone

(202) 225-3052 fax

Subscribe to comments feed Comments (1 posted)

nandini23 03/20/2012 11:36:16
In the increase in the gas price there would people would be suffering due to the increase in the price and the fuel price and moreover now days many vehicles are being running with gas if such an increase would effect the consumer and so soon the government should take some action to low such fossil fuel price.

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