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Prices Peak at the Pump

April 21, 2008
Weekly Columns

Memorial Day and summer vacations are just around the corner for many families.  But this year, Oklahomans may find themselves forced to cut down on their drive time to their favorite vacation destinations.  The source of their holiday headaches is the escalating costs of fuel and energy.  And unfortunately, Congress continues to do absolutely nothing to help make America less dependent on foreign oil.

Nationally, the price for a gallon of gasoline has reached over $3.44 per gallon according to the AAA.  That's a considerable leap, given that only one year ago, AAA's Fuel Gauge Report listed the regular average price of a gallon of gasoline as $2.86.  Drivers who use diesel fuel are suffering even more than the rest of us.  Men and women who serve in our nation's trucking industry have to shell out well over $4 a gallon.  As costs pile up for the trucks, trains and ships to carry goods to stores, manufacturers and retailers simply pass these costs on to the consumer - causing prices to rise in every area of the market.

In 2007, Speaker Pelosi promised to tackle the skyrocketing price of gasoline.  She criticized members of the minority party as being in the hip-pocket of big-oil companies.  She also suggested that her party would offer Americans solutions to our growing dependence on foreign oil and the ever-increasing prices we pay at the pump.  After more than a year of her brand of leadership, which included tax hikes on America's energy producers and a stubborn refusal to increase our domestic production capacity, we now have gasoline prices climbing steadily towards new record highs.  Economics 101 teaches that reduced supply equals higher demand and that higher demand causes higher prices.  Good old-fashioned common sense tells you that when you increase taxes on a manufacturer of a commodity, that cost will be passed on to the consumer.  Evidently, Speaker Pelosi missed out on those classes and American families are paying the price at the pump every single day.

Unless and until Congress decides to tackle this issue in a serious fashion by increasing our refining capacity, opening up ANWR and the coasts for drilling, and incentivizing our energy companies rather than punishing them with higher taxes and more stringent regulatory schemes, American consumers will continue to suffer at the pump.  Knowing the leadership of this Congress, Americans shouldn't hold their breath waiting for that to happen.