Specifically, the Biden administration decided to cancel seven oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The Department of Interior has also just proposed a new rule blocking leasing in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, which is a massive area on Alaska’s North Slope. The agency proudly boasted that the proposed rule “would establish an outright prohibition on any new leasing in 10.6 million acres, more than 40% of the NPR-A.”
The administration should be trying to remove obstacles that hinder the supply of oil, not take actions that drive up the prices at the pump. Based on data from the Energy Information Administration, regular retail gas and diesel prices over the last two Augusts reached levels not seen in about 30 years. In fact, they are almost certainly the highest August fuel prices ever.
As the public knows from firsthand experience, gas and diesel prices have been consistently high. The national average of regular retail gas prices has been $3.50 per gallon or above for 15 of the last 19 months.
High gas prices not only tighten household budgets but also restrict the travel options of individuals and families. Driving is not a luxury but a necessity for most Americans. Cars are essential for commuting to work, buying groceries, taking children to school, and carrying out normal daily tasks. The impracticality of carpooling everywhere, especially for rural residents or those outside of major urban cities with public transportation, forces people to bear the brunt of increased fuel costs. In addition, lower-income people are especially hurt by these higher prices since higher fuel costs take a larger portion of their budget than others with larger incomes.
High gas and diesel prices also have a ripple effect on the cost of all goods and services. For example, transportation is an integral part of the supply chain, and when these prices rise, so do shipping costs more broadly. This has effects across the economy, including driving up the prices of goods people buy in stores.
Between canceling existing oil and gas leases in ANWR and proposing a rule that would block new oil and gas leasing in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, the administration is clearly communicating that energy affordability is not one of its priorities.
The administration is disregarding the direct harm these policies are having on people and the future effect they will have as businesses are disincentivized from investing in the projects necessary to increase the supply of oil and thereby drive down prices.
Read the full article on the Washington Examiner.