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Cheaper Gas is within our Grasp

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Congressman Joe Barton


Do you remember the days of $2 gasoline? It wasn’t that long ago.


When the Democrats took control of Congress the average price for a gallon of gas was $2.33. It’s now close to $4 a gallon, but it doesn’t have to be.


Cheap gasoline is within our grasp.


Joined by my fellow Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee, I recently unveiled a comprehensive energy plan that could nearly cut the price of a gallon of gas in half.


This package of 15 bills promotes American-made energy for American jobs and the American economy. It touches every aspect of the energy industry from the gas you put in your car to the power you use to cool your home.


If the Democrats will follow the road map that these bills lay out we could all be paying less for energy, but so far their energy plans have consisted of just one word – “No!”


The plan starts with the common sense idea of unlocking the energy we have right here at home. We need to be exploring for oil in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska (ANWR) and under the deep oceans on our east and west coasts.


Did you know that the estimated oil reserves under Alaska double what we have in Texas? It would provide a million barrels of oil a day for the next 30 years. Imagine what tapping into that would do to prices on the open market.


And despite the claims of radical environmentalists, oil exploration in ANWR would not destroy the pristine wilderness. In fact of the 19.6 million acres preserved in the refuge only 2,000 would be used for American energy exploration.


My energy plan also promotes the development of liquefied-coal projects and new, emission-free nuclear power plants.


If the U.S. turned its massive coal reserves into liquid fuel we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil by more than 7.5 million barrels per day.


I also believe in a greater reliance on emission-free nuclear power plants. One of the bills encourages more recycling of waste, while another offers scholarships to help develop a highly trained nuclear workforce.


These bills also promote and encourage the responsible development of new biofuel technology, including reducing the unattainable and poorly conceived corn-based ethanol mandates.


Land that was once used to grow wheat or alfalfa is now being planted with corn for ethanol production. 


Because of that the price of corn and wheat has tripled. Corn prices have risen from $2 a bushel just a couple years ago to the record price of more than $6 a bushel last month. That raises the prices for all corn based products and ultimately the increased cost is passed on to you.


By slightly rolling back the current renewable fuel standards and returning to achievable levels, we can ease the corn crunch and lower the rising prices you are paying at the grocery store.


I support incentives for cellulosic ethanol, and other advanced biofuels made from non-food sources.  Cellulosic ethanol can be made from non-food material such as corn stalks, wood chips or other plant material.


The competition between food and fuel could have dangerous effects – increasing world hunger and decreasing American’s food purchasing power. Our current, food-based ethanol should serve only as a transitional product as we develop new, advanced biofuels.


These are just a few of the concrete plans we have laid out in our energy plan. Republicans are also promoting the development of oil shale and oil sands. Plus I am looking at ways to monitor speculators and regulate them if it is determined they are artificially inflating the price of oil and other forms of energy.


I am personally tired of standing around, wringing my hands and watching the price of oil and gas skyrocket while the Democrats leading Congress do nothing.


What Republicans are proposing is American energy, not more excuses.


This will save you money at the gas pump and the grocery store. I hope that Democrats will stop the partisan bickering and help us turn these bills into laws that will help your bottom line.

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