Michael Whatley

With gas prices at record highs for this time of the year, it’s no wonder there’s been rhetoric from politicians on both sides of the aisle on how to reduce fuel prices. It seems the right and the left have been scrambling to find a silver bullet solution, simultaneously pointing fingers and deflecting blame.

The national average for a gallon of gasoline during March was $3.86, an increase of almost 50 cents in just two months. To put that in perspective, a 25-cent increase translates to a $35 billion price tag for the larger economy over the course of a year. That number doesn’t even take into account additional costs the average family or small business must take into consideration when gas prices rise. While it is good that political leaders in Washington have recognized the significant problems that high fuel prices pose for the American economy, the rhetorical gamesmanship taking place in the nation’s capitol does nothing to help consumers affected most by these untenable prices.

What the American consumer needs is a bold energy policy focused on strengthening our national self-sufficiency. We need our politicians to push for responsible energy production, combined with increased efficiency measures, which will take advantage of the plentiful resources our country enjoys.

The debate over gas prices essentially boils down to supply and demand. To date, there is a finite supply and an ever- increasing demand. We are competing with emerging economies for limited resources while also managing global instability- a recipe that will consistently lead to higher gas prices.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way. The Energy Information Administration indicates the U.S. holds more than 198 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil and 2,118 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas. Still other studies have postulated that North America could be energy self-sufficient by 2030. Clearly, the U.S. has vast resources at its fingertips which, if developed would undoubtedly lead to lower prices at the pump and provide a tremendous boost to the economy.

Michael Whatley

Michael Whatley is Executive Vice President of the Consumer Energy Alliance.