Gasoline, Oil and the Economy

Richard Olivastro
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Posted: Nov 27, 2008 12:01 AM
Gasoline, Oil and the Economy

Gas prices have been heading down.  That’s the right direction.

AAA reports the “average price per gallon is below $2.00 in 30 states”.  That’s a good sign.

If the price decline levels off closer to one dollar per gallon, Americans will know that the industry and foreign suppliers have regained their collective senses; and the speculators have been routed out. 

But, one wonders if the industry soothsayers - while saying “it is certainly feasible to see prices of 1.60 to $1.70 in the next few weeks” – would really prefer a brake to the price drop, that consumers feel is, to them, a needed break.

At the peak, Americans were paying well over $4.00 per gallon on average nationally. This week, the average price per gallon is running just under $2.00.  As a result, consumers are starting to feel like they can breathe again.

Despite the current gas price relief, growing numbers of Americans remain wary of domestic gasoline supply, gas prices, and fear for their economic future.  They are wary of the OPEC nations, who can throttle supply on political whim; and, they fear that, should they lose their job, how will they be able to buy food, gas, and pay for their home. 

Their worry is understandable.  Perhaps, it is also wise - if their worry serves as a catalyst for demanding specific action by elected officials.

Consider this:

While growing numbers of Americans are overwhelmed with worry, politicians in Congress continue to fiddle with the oil reality while the American economy burns up. 

So-called liberal incumbent’s ‘stuck in the mud thinking’ keeps our nation exposed to foreign manipulation of oil supplies.  If the American people do not, somehow, drag elected officials out of their muddy thinking now, the economic deterioration not only  will continue – it will accelerate. 

So, what to do? 

America’s citizens should demand real change regarding oil policy by officials – elected or appointed – at every government level. 

The people’s dictum: ‘Stop all political games; Start domestic drilling now – inland and offshore’.

That immediate announcement, and prompt drilling implementation, will help ensure the continuing decrease in the price of gasoline at the pump, as well as other petroleum derivative products; and, by taking that action, the United States begins to grow oil independence, and strengthens national security, while shoring up our domestic economy. 

Additionally, the direct and indirect jobs associated with domestic oil drilling will put significant numbers of people to work in good-paying jobs.  Of course, key here, is to let the free market work its ‘opportunity magic’ – with only these regulations: all new employees must be American citizens, and all new business enterprises must be exclusively American owned and based only in the U. S. 

We can expect lawsuits from environmental groups.  To prepare, an ‘express lane’ judicial review process should be setup in federal courts to adjudicate every case in less than 45 days. 

And, bi-partisan congressional leaders should establish - joint House and Senate - ‘judicial monitor teams’ tasked to - within three days of any unfavorable court decision - draft and bring to the floor new legislation to change, correct, or plug any loophole used by special interest groups to stall, or halt, any domestic oil drilling project.

Barack H. Obama is in the unique position to make this happen.  He should telephone fellow Democrats, first asking – and, if necessary, demanding – that they put ‘county first’.

The American people would prefer that Mr. Obama not wait till January 21st to make these necessary calls from the White House.  Rather, the vast majority of America’s citizens would celebrate all the way to next January 20th if the President-elect would pick up the phone, call Speaker Pelosi and Senate Leader Reid, and tell them…     “We’re starting domestic oil drilling now!”