Last Thursday, oil prices increased $5.50 per barrel in one day. Last Friday marked the biggest single-day surge in oil price history, rocketing $11 more to $138 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In just two days, oil costs increased 13 percent.
Average Americans literally are driving to the poorhouse on financial fumes. With gas at $4 per gallon, roughly two cars in every household, and the average annual gas usage at 700 gallons, you do the math. Americans are being forced to use their hard-earned money that once put food in their stomachs to put petroleum in their tanks and to drive the exact same distances they drove a decade ago for four to five times the price.
As oil and gas prices skyrocket, Congress continues to play the blame game. In April 2006, with the Democrats poised to take over Congress with Nancy Pelosi at the helm, she released a statement saying, "With skyrocketing gas prices, it is clear that the American people can no longer afford the Republican Rubber Stamp Congress." She followed that with a commitment, "Democrats have a commonsense plan to help bring down skyrocketing gas prices by cracking down on price gouging." So, has the Democrats' common-sense plan worked? Average gas prices were about $2.50 a gallon at the time. Now they're $4 a gallon and rising. Some crackdown plan.
Look at the energy chaos that our government has allowed. While we remain at the mercy of oil companies, cartels and OPEC, our government has tied the hands of states and citizens to tap even temporary energy relief from our own land. Here are a few key vistas on the oil and energy landscape:
-- Though we have more oil in the shale of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming than there is in the Middle East (800 billion barrels), liberals and environmentalists have made it illegal to touch it.
-- It's illegal to drill in northern Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or off the coasts of Florida or California.
-- It's illegal to explore the Atlantic Ocean for oil.
-- It's illegal to explore the Pacific Ocean for oil.-- We're not receiving leases anymore to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, while China, Venezuela and Cuba are.
-- We haven't built an oil refinery in more than 30 years and have reduced in half those we have.
-- American airlines are in danger of going out of business.
-- American truckers are being stranded on the sides of roads.
-- American commuters are going bankrupt trying to travel back and forth to work and are being forced to work locally for lower wages.
-- There's enough natural gas beneath America (406 trillion cubic feet) to heat every home in America for the next 150 years, but we can't tap it all.
Bill Clinton once said, "We just have to slow down our economy and cut back our greenhouse gas emissions 'cause we have to save the planet for our grandchildren." That is the type of mentality that got us in this trouble. We're saving the planet but killing our economy and nation.
Congress needs to take some practical steps now to stop the insanity at the pumps, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, open up some temporary energy production avenues for economic relief (such as shale development), and focus more on developing alternative energy (coal, natural gas, hydrogen, solar, nuclear, wind, etc.). There is simply no reason or justification for us to be dependent on foreign fuels that we can produce in our country.
Our message: It's time to drill here and drill now! The petition is simple. It states, "We, therefore, the undersigned citizens of the United States, petition the U.S. Congress to act immediately to lower gasoline prices (and diesel and other fuel prices) by authorizing the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries."
Speaking of unstable countries, did I mention that Iraq's oil minister just reported oil production is at prewar levels (2.5 million barrels a day), yielding earnings for Iraq of $28.5 billion in just the first five months of this year? What that means is soon we likely will be dependent and in debt to yet another Middle Eastern oil-producing country that we've helped stabilize and become wealthy while ours is going straight down the tubes.
Congratulations, Congress; you're failing us completely.