Tag Archive for: Biden’sWarOnEnergy

America’s Broken Policies Put Our Energy and Environmental Futures at Risk

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

To hear the current administration tell it, the energy crisis is over because gasoline prices have come off near-record highs. They tell us that there is no “there” there when it comes to the fact that America’s energy policy is thoroughly broken and headed down a path that is already risking our economic, national and energy security.

Pay no mind to inflation at 40-year highs and gasoline prices are still well over $1.50 higher than they were in January 2021. Ignore the fact that the fundamentals that caused the problem – lack of supply, bottlenecks in refining, Putin taking advantage of European dependency on Russian oil and gas – still exist and prices are likely to go back up.

Please disregard the fact that our federal government keeps intentionally limiting U.S. energy production to essentially put the Gulf of Mexico out of the oil and gas business, even though it provides 15% of our oil supply.

Nothing to see in the UK’s economic ruin, either, where restrictive energy policies that look exactly like the ones being proposed for the U.S. caused prices to triple and felled former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government. Those same policies are expected to increase utility bills by 80% in October, barring a taxpayer-funded bailout of $172 billion.

What were some of the UK’s first steps toward disaster? Limiting exploration and production in the North Sea and bans on hydraulic fracturing. Do those sound familiar?

That is the very path some in our federal government appear to want Americans to follow. High prices of oil and gas, some argue, are why we should change our energy systems completely. They are the ones who seek to model California’s energy example, while its Europe-style policies can barely keep the lights on, strangle its economy in insane energy prices, all while backtracking on its environmental progress.

No American, regardless of party affiliation, should accept this state of affairs. This is 2022 in the most innovative nation on Earth.  We should expect more. We should expect better policies.

We must demand sound energy policies that keep energy reliable and affordable, and require constant environmental improvement. They must be worked on as a single, three-sided challenge, and not a battle of one against the other.

What we should demand Congress and the White House focus on is creating a national energy program Americans can believe in.

First, we must understand and agree that fossil fuels will play a critical role in our energy mix while we advance toward net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. Anyone who says they must be eliminated fails to understand the science and overwhelming role they play in every facet of our society. No credible study concludes that we can have the energy we need without traditional fuels by 2050 and beyond so let’s work together to advance the technologies and the workforce to build an honest path to net-zero.

Second, we need to stop talking about an “energy transition” as if we are moving away from one energy and toward another. This is a misnomer and implies a pre-determined outcome. Academic studies have shown that changes in energy systems are long-term evolutions, where the most efficient, reliable, and available sources are adopted over time – not legislated into or out of existence. We need them all – traditional sources, wind, solar, hydro, geothermal, nuclear, you name it– because energy depends so much on where it’s deployed and why.

Third, we must supercharge our carbon capture and sequestration efforts. One solution: capture and store carbon dioxide safely underground. The technology to make this happen is already here, and it is one of the fastest ways for us to reduce the carbon footprint of critical industrial sectors like steel, cement and other manufacturing.

Fourth, the government must recognize that its wind and solar power ambitions cannot ignore the elephant in the room: the need for hundreds of billions of dollars of new transmission infrastructure. Our permitting system must be overhauled in a way that speeds projects along while not compromising on safety and environmental studies. It no longer needs to be so complex that it spawned and sustains an entire litigation industry.

While we are at it, our pipeline infrastructure needs attention. Failing to permit energy pipelines makes our environment worse by forcing energy delivery via more polluting means. Permit delays, misguided activist protests and endless litigation are curtailing and not helping carbon mitigation.  Streamline permitting today.

Fifth, we must move swiftly to expand the domestic supply chain for critical minerals essential for many modern technologies, including clean energy innovations, now controlled by China. The Administration has ordered a review of vulnerabilities in our supply chains, but we need to act now if we have any hope of moving forward without Beijing’s blessing or supplies. Like all energy-related issues, this is a clear and present national security issue that must be resolved.

These are a few points that should receive swift bipartisan support for the good of the nation. We need national leadership from Congress and the Administration to deal realistically with our energy and environmental issues. We believe those leaders exist, but it is up to all Americans to send a clear message in November that energy is too important for anyone to mishandle.

*****

This article was published by CFACT, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow and is reproduced with permission.

Gasoline Demand Destruction Accelerates Despite Plunge in Prices: Consumption Drops to August 1997 Level

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Long-term stagnation turns into a sharp decline.

Over the four weeks through September 9, gasoline consumption dropped by 11.7% from the same four-week period in 2019, to 8.56 million barrels per day on average, below the same periods in 2020 and 2021, according to EIA data today.

The EIA measures gasoline consumption in terms of barrels supplied to the market by refiners, blenders, etc., and not by retail sales at gas stations. On this moving four-week average basis, it was the steepest decline so far this year, that has seen nothing but declines from the same periods in 2019.

The decline accelerated even as gasoline prices have plunged from the top of the spike in mid-June. This may indicate that the classic economic principle of “demand destruction” – where a price spike triggers a decline in demand that then causes the price to back off – may not just be a blip, but that this demand destruction may have become in part structural.

Peak driving season is in the summer. But this year, gasoline demand in the summer (red line in the chart below) was substantially below the summer driving season in 2019 (yellow line) and in 2021 (gray line), and roughly even with the beaten-down levels of 2020 (green line). And then in August and September, demand fell further, and ended below the levels of 2020:

This demand destruction caused by sky-high gasoline prices is happening on a global scale. It’s where price resistance has set in, and people have changed their behavior a little here and there. They cut out unnecessary trips. They’re prioritizing their most fuel-efficient vehicle in the garage. When they buy a vehicle, fuel economy is moving up as a decision factor. Working from home has become sticky, and fewer people are commuting to work every day. And for vacations, people might have chosen to go places that involve less driving.

This demand destruction pushed down the price.

The average price of gasoline in the US, all grades combined, had spiked to $5.00 a gallon by June 13, according to EIA data. This type of price spike – up 63% year-over-year – sent shock waves through wallets and minds. Everyone was talking about the price of gasoline. But the average price has now dropped to $3.69, which is where it had been for years in the past – and yet, demand destruction accelerated…..

*****

Continue reading this article at  Wolf Street.

Once Again, Senator Manchin Detonates Biden’s Agenda

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Nero Incendiarius!” (“Nero, the arsonist”) Romans called their emperor after most of Rome burned to the ground in 64 AD. The rumor was that Nero wanted to burn down the city as inspiration for one of his poems — a myth started by Nero’s enemies. But most of Rome wanted Nero’s head on a spike.

You have to believe that Democrats are thinking the same thing about their Senate colleague, Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Manchin has single-handedly — literally — set afire the radical, frighteningly expensive agenda of the president and far-left Democrats in Congress. That agenda included ruinous tax increases, massive changes to America’s energy policy, and other items on the radical left’s wish list to transform America. “Build Back Better” was a blueprint for disaster.

It’s been Manchin who has insisted on some kind of fiscal sanity. It’s been Manchin insisting the president’s climate policy include an “all of the above” promotion involving coal, oil, gas, and nuclear power as well as solar and wind energy generation.

Manchin’s vote is crucial given that Republicans are universally opposed to Build Back Better and Biden needs all 50 Senate Democrats to support it if the party wants to use reconciliation to pass it. He derailed the bill last December. He derailed it again when Biden tried to revive it in March.

And now Manchin has reduced Biden’s gargantuan $2 trillion Build Back Better bill to a measure that would extend Obamacare subsidies for two years and reduce drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate with Big Pharma.

Politico:

Sam Runyon, a spokesperson for Manchin, indicated the West Virginian has little concern for how his rejection might affect his party’s overall political prospects, should Democrats ultimately fail to accept the narrow terms he’s outlined.

“Political headlines are of no value to the millions of Americans struggling to afford groceries and gas,” said Sam Runyon, a spokesperson for Manchin. “Sen. Manchin believes it’s time for leaders to put political agendas aside, reevaluate and adjust to the economic realities the country faces to avoid taking steps that add fuel to the inflation fire.”

While radical Democrats prepare the tar and feathers, Manchin has quietly carried out his own personal anti-inflation war against his party. The West Virginian blew up the bill in December, citing inflation concerns. His argument hasn’t changed; Build Back Better is inflationary and raising taxes with the economy teetering on the edge of a recession is madness.

“All of our efforts should be: How do we reduce the gas prices, the high prices of energy, the high prices of food, all of these things: that’s every day living. And everyone’s talking about everything except though things,” Manchin said in an interview earlier this week. “Unless you can get your financial house in order, you’re not going to get inflation under control.”…..

*****

Continue reading this article at PJ Media.

The Left Is About To Pay For Their Energy Insanity

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Most politicians and activists have strong views on every political issue. Those views grow from their fundamental political philosophies and beliefs. The best politicians know how to balance their political ideals with a keen watch on how they affect the lives of everyday Americans — those who voted them into office. Go too far with your ideological preferences in the face of evidence that it’s hurting the American people, and you will not go far in politics. The Democratic Party seems poised to take a beating for forgetting this fundamental maxim when it comes to energy and climate change. They feel so strongly about the issue that many have lost touch with reality. They have entered a sort of make-believe world. The coming election is going to bring them back to reality.

Republicans are not immune to ideological overstepping. Republicans in general believe in the private sector. They believe that free markets offer more benefits for society than government spending and mandates. The theory has proven correct far more than it hasn’t, but not always. When a so-called private sector line of business becomes so corrupt, so dominated by Washington political favoritism, and so mismanaged that it’s offering worse products and worse prices than government options, then even limited-government free market activists need to take notice. Those who don’t will pay a political price. The private student loan industry is a prime example. Created and supported by Republicans, it became so corrupt and so mismanaged that eventually, it was impossible to defend. The few who tried paid a political price.

On climate change, the Democrats face a similar dilemma, except with politically apocalyptic consequences. Student loans are important; they affect a lot of people. Energy is different; it affects everyone. Skyrocketing energy prices cause widespread economic disruption. In the extreme, they lead to starvation, heat stroke, freezing and death. It’s not a policy area you can get wrong. Yet American and global policymakers have deliberately done just that. The left’s energy policies make zero sense.

Clean energy is a worthy goal overshadowed by lofty expectations that outpace the pragmatism of working people. For large segments of the left, the climate change issue has become more like a religion than a policy debate. Pesky facts like technological limitations and costs are thrown aside in favor of magic. “Ban fossil fuels and utopia will follow” is essentially the mindset. (RELATED: Democrats Look To Sustainable Investing Craze As Means For Pushing Climate Agenda).

In the real world, you have to take into account technological limitations, costs, and other trade-offs. Transitioning energy production too fast can cause real present-day harm. The rich can afford to ignore high prices, slower economic growth, and a reduction in national security. 

President Joe Biden campaigned on “getting rid of” fossil fuels. If there were economically efficient alternatives that would allow this to happen without slamming American families and harming America’s national security, that would be a less radical thing to say. Those things do not exist at scale today.

America became energy independent during the Trump years. This energy independence brought huge advantages. First, America’s fracking boom and the massive expansion of natural gas production that came with it lowered carbon emissions more than any regulation. Second, American energy independence changed the national security dynamic with respect to huge energy-exporting countries in the Middle East and Russia. Finally, the lower energy prices that followed led to massive economic and manufacturing growth. Many dormant small towns in America literally came alive as a result.

Throwing all this away without an adequate and, importantly, cheaper alternative in place is almost unimaginable from a policy perspective, but that’s exactly what happened. By promoting so-called Environmental, Social and Governance, or ESG, investment standards to choke off fossil fuel investments, by canceling pipelines, and by limiting federal oil and gas leasing, the left has reduced American energy production and left America vulnerable to the rest of the world. All this has come with very little emissions benefit to boot. It has just enabled Russia, Saudi Arabia, and others to displace American fossil fuel production with their own foreign fossil fuel production. The result? From Biden’s inauguration to the onset of the war in Ukraine — before the much-discussed “Putin price hike,” in other words — American gas prices went up nearly 50%. Those prices are up another 15% on top of that since the war began.

There have been huge technological strides in solar, wind and other renewable power sources, but primarily due to their intermittent nature and a still-huge gap in energy storage (battery) technology, those forms of energy are not yet ready to make up for lost fossil fuel production without massive extra cost. (RELATED: ANALYSIS: White House Keeps Misleading Public On Oil, Gas Leasing. Here Are The Facts)

Giving away a huge economic and national security advantage is political malpractice. Slowing American energy production while begging the Saudis to increase their own fossil fuel production, as Biden is doing this week, is a botch so foreseeable it should be disqualifying for future leadership. Energy policy under the Biden administration has been insane. With prices booming, everyone now knows it. Those who got us in this mess should prepare to pay a massive political price.

*****

This article was published in Daily Caller was republished with permission.

Leave the Gas Station Owners Out of It

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes

Over the Independence Day weekend, the Biden Administration shifted its blame for rising prices, and specifically rising prices of gasoline, from Vladimir Putin to gasoline retailers. On Saturday, July 2nd at noon, President Biden’s Twitter account inveighed:

My message to the companies running gas stations and setting prices at the pump is simple: this is a time of war and global peril. Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you’re paying for the product. And do it now.

On July 1, 2022,  the average price of gasoline in the United States was $5.34 per gallon. That’s down from the high of $5.47 per gallon hit two weeks ago, but still a historically elevated level.  On the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYME), gasoline futures prices are up 57% in 2022. Diesel recently topped $5.75 per gallon and now sits at $5.73 per gallon, its highest price in decades.

The largest factor input for both gasoline and diesel is the price of oil, which has eased back some over the last month. The major reason for the price declines in both oil and products derived from oil are a mounting accumulation of economic data suggesting that an anticipated recession may already be here. (The first calculation of the second quarter US GDP number will be released on July 28th.) But even despite the recent price declines, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) remains up over 37 percent in 2022, Brent Crude up 38 percent.

Both misinformation and disinformation are essential skills in politics, but under the pressure of rising inflation and slowing economic growth the current administration has expanded the practice to new frontiers. The tweet, which was undoubtedly not written by the President but to which he has lent his name, begins with a salvo directed at “the companies running gas stations.”

In fact, of an estimated 145,000 fueling stations across the United States, less than 5 percent (7250) are owned by refiners who would be, as the President says, “setting prices.” But even that small number of gas stations are not ultimately setting the price of gasoline. The prices first derived on world oil markets, a major contributor to which are decisions of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), is the major factor.

Further, more than 60 percent of retail stations are establishments singularly owned by a family or an individual. And while the number has undoubtedly changed over the last decade, 2013 Census data reported that 61 percent of those stations are owned by immigrants. Thus the Democratic administration that rails daily against billionaires and “big companies” has taken direct aim at ‘mom & pop’ stores, in so doing assaulting the newest arrivals to the United States, upon whom it is clear the left and much of the Democratic Party stake their political future.

As for the present time being one of “war and global peril,” how tied the interests of the United States are to either of the combatants in southeastern Europe is a matter of opinion. If indeed peril is to be avoided, adopting a far more neutral stance than that which has tens of billions of taxpayer dollars and lethal weapons being sent 5000 miles would be a wiser approach.

But it is by admonishing gas station owners to lower their prices that what is deep-seated ignorance, profound dishonesty, or both are exposed.

In fact, even at the current prices, most gas stations earn a pittance from, or actually lose money, selling gasoline alone. According to IBISWorld, whereas the average US business has a profit margin of just under 8 percent (7.7 percent), the average gas station scrapes by at less than a quarter of that: 1.4 percent. At $5.34 per gallon, the average national price of gasoline over the Independence Day weekend, a 1.7 percent profit would come to $0.09 cents a gallon.

The Hustle estimates that after overhead (labor, utilities, insurance, credit card transaction fees, and so on), a gas station owner receives on the order of five to seven cents per gallon. Even selling a few thousand gallons of gasoline per day would only generate a few hundred dollars free and clear to the owner. Franchise City estimates that $50 spent at the gas pump goes

$30.75 to the oil company, $7.00 to refineries, $4.00 to the delivery company, $1.25 on processing and transaction fees, and finally right at the end of the chain you get $1.00. And that number can and does change, sometimes even lower, most owners suggesting an average [profit] of 1 to 3 cents net per gallon.

Meanwhile, the Federal gasoline tax of $0.18 cents per gallon yields a riskless, unearned fee to Washington of 3.4 percent per gallon. That’s twice what risk-bearing entrepreneurs, most of whom are small business owners and a sizable portion of whom are immigrants, are receiving. And this doesn’t take into account state gasoline taxes, the highest five of which are found in Pennsylvania ($0.57 per gallon), California ($0.51 per gallon), Washington ($0.49 per gallon), New Jersey ($0.42 per gallon), and Illinois ($0.39 cents per gallon).

And none of this takes into account other costs and headaches which accompany gas retailing. Miniscule profits come with the costs and recordkeeping associated with environmental regulations at the local, state, and federal levels. Competition tends to be fierce, with numerous locations clustering at high-volume transportation junctions. The price sensitivity of many drivers is active at differences of as little as one cent. Many stations operate 24/7 to maximize revenue. And for those which operate as franchises, in return for name recognition and some volume discounts the associated fees can be enormous. (Not only do franchisees have to pay fees to the parent company, they also have to price their product in accordance with national promotions, which can undercut profitability.)

The awful business economics of gas station ownership is, in fact, why large oil firms and refiners are not interested in it. And it is why they’ve reduced their exposure to the consumer-facing end of the energy sector over several decades. Unsurprisingly it is lousy financial prospects that have pushed fueling stations into retailing food, drinks, cigarettes, toiletries, and a wide variety of other goods travelers may want or need. All of those goods have appreciably higher profit margins than retail gasoline sales, and for many independent, single owner-operated service stations are the key to their very survival.

So why do so many immigrants choose a business with seemingly dismal financial prospects? Trisha Gopal explored that question in Eater a bit over a year ago; kindly remain mindful of Biden’s July 2nd tweet while reading her explanation:

As I speak to each owner, I realize the choice of a gas station is always a utilitarian one. When I ask her why they chose a gas station, Angelina Rizo gives me two answers. The first is one I hear from every restaurant owner I speak to: People need gasoline, so as long as people are driving, the more likely they are to have customers, and the more likely those customers will need something to eat. It’s an explanation rooted in the same immigrant mentality I’ve seen and heard my entire life: Look for opportunities, stay on your toes, and always find a way to be useful. When we wonder why immigrants are so entrepreneurial, it’s because so many of us are taught to first look to see where we are needed, and then, once we are there, go beyond.

There is a darker component to Biden’s redirection of blame as well. It is ironic that an administration built upon an ideological commitment to political correctness and the notion that words should be selected with surgical precision would message this clumsily. Gas station owners, a business community overrepresented by new immigrants to the United States, have frequently been targets of racist and xenophobic ire. Saddling them with blame for a particularly damaging aspect of the ongoing inflation increase is, beyond wildly inaccurate, irresponsible, and morally unconscionable.

No one expects government officials, especially career politicians, to understand any of this. Neither have they any incentives to take real economic, financial, and business details into their static, oversimplified missives. The image of gas station proprietors as richly-compensated corporate executives at the helm of multinational corporations earning is one the Biden Administration has a vested interest in promoting. And there is no better measure of a political body out of ideas than an increasingly frenzied leap from scapegoat to scapegoat.

*****

This article was published by AIER, American Institute for Economic Research, and is reproduced with permission.

Biden Administration Looks To Halt Offshore Drilling In Atlantic, Pacific Amid Energy Crisis

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Biden administration announced a five-year plan Friday that prevents new offshore oil drilling projects in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

The proposed plan will give the administration the ability to hold no new lease sales at all, according to the Interior Department. The plan could allow a maximum of 11 oil lease sales for offshore drilling, ten in the Gulf of Mexico and one in the Cook Inlet off of the south-central Alaska coast over the course of the next five years. (RELATED: Biden Admin Considers Banning All Offshore Drilling As Energy Crisis Worsens: REPORT)

“A Proposed Program is not a decision to issue specific leases or to authorize any drilling or development,” said Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Deb Haaland.

“From Day One, President Biden and I have made clear our commitment to transition to a clean energy economy,” she continued.

The proposal comes amid rising gas prices and inflation and calls for increasing oil production as well as President Joe Biden’s commitment to tackling climate change. Biden also vowed to ban offshore fossil fuel drilling during his campaign.

Any new offshore leases are unlikely to have a short-term impact on fuel prices as it often takes years after a sale is completed for companies to begin drilling.

The announced plan is part of the federally required process to implement a new five-year plan for offshore oil drilling. The DOI last held an offshore oil and gas auction in November, located in the Gulf of Mexico; however, a court order later stopped the sale on the grounds that the administration had failed to properly account for its impact on the climate.

The DOI intends to open this matter to public comment and may reduce the areas they open up for new drilling based on the public’s reaction.

The White House did not immediately respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment. The DOI referred TheDCNF to its statement issued at the time of the decision.

*****

This article was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation and is reproduced with permission.

Energy Shortages and Inflation The New Norm as Refinery Closures Outpace Construction

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

Editors’ Note: Progressives have played a coy game. As they over-regulate the energy business, denigrate the industry, have their allies in the environmental organization tie the industry up with lawsuits, and deny capital for expansion with their friends in the ESG movement; they grin like the proverbial Cheshire cat when energy costs soar far faster than the general rate of inflation. Grinning through their teeth they blame the industry, blame Putin, and blame us for wanting reasonably priced oil and gas. But you can’t shut down capacity as demand is expanding and expect lower prices. That defies all economic logic. Voters need to remember that this strangulation of energy is all part of the Progressive/Democrat plan to control your lives, make you more dependent on them, and reduce your standard of living. Some might say that is unfair on our part; it is the save the environment. If that were true, why would they permit capacity to be built elsewhere? Why are Chinese emissions better than ours? They aren’t and the earth can’t tell the difference. If anything, US energy corporations are more diligent in protecting the environment than most foreign operators. No, the energy crisis is contrived by Democrats for political control, not to save the earth. Further, it leaves us vulnerable to foreign producers, many of whom are bad actors. For a better economy, a better environment, and for national security, we need to get off the back of our domestic energy industry.

 

With worldwide refinery closures outpacing new construction, shortages and inflation are likely to be the new norm that inflicts regressive expenses upon those that can least afford it, as control of the worldwide refining industry shifts to Asia and Europe.

As the world has become impassioned with increasing its electricity generation from wind turbines and solar panels from breezes and sunshine, the world is silently slipping into a future of shortages and inflation as society’s demands for all the products and fuels manufactured from crude oil are exceeding the supply available from the dwindling number of refineries.

There were almost 700 oil refineries in the world as of January 2020, but as a result of continuous over regulations, permitting delays, aging equipment,  and the worldwide support of the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) to divest in fossil fuels, the right operating model and level of integration will be crucial for survival and sustained profitability of refineries.

In 2019 there were 135 refineries in the U.S.  but five facilities were shuttered during the last two years.

Each refinery location is a business that needs to make business decisions. Consequently, one in five oil refineries is expected to cease operations over the next five years. One in five is 20 percent, or almost 140 refineries expected to be shuttered worldwide, resulting in a 20 percent decline in the products manufactured to meet the ever-increasing demands from society.

There are over 100 new refineries under construction, with most of them in Asia with 88, Europe with 12, and North America with 10. Asia is the region with the greatest number of future petroleum refineries. As of 2021, there were 88 new facilities in planning or under construction in Asia. By comparison, Europe is set to see an addition of 12 petroleum refineries, and North America is set to see an addition of 10. The amount of oil fed through refineries in Asia has significantly increased in the past three decades as demand for petroleum products surged in developing countries such as China and India. China is on track to succeed the United States as the country with the greatest oil refinery throughput.

While worldwide demand for the products made with oil derivatives and fuels manufactured at refineries continues to increase, the upcoming closures of manufacturers over the next five years will significantly reduce the supply of those items and place tremendous pressures on continuous shortages and inflation.

Renewables can only generate electricity, and intermittent electricity at best. The undisputable science is that renewables CANNOT manufacture any of the oil derivatives that are the basis of the thousands of products that are the foundation of societies and economies around the world. In fact, renewables cannot exist without crude oil as all the parts of wind turbines and solar panels are made with oil derivatives manufactured from crude oil.

Here is a reminder of what is manufactured from oil that did not exist before 1900 that is needed to support the growing demands of the world’s economy and for the health and well-being of the world’s eight billion residents:

Fuels for the:

  • 50,000 heavy-weight and long-range merchant ships that are moving products throughout the world.
  • 50,000 heavy-weight and long-range jets are used by commercial airlines, private usage, and the military.
  • The 290 million registered vehicles in the U.S. as of 2021, were comprised of about 56 percent trucks, 40 percent cars, and 4 percent motorcycles.
  • The cruise ships now move twenty-five million passengers around the world.
  • The space program.

Oil derivatives to make thousands of products such as:

  • Tires for the billions of vehicles.
  • Asphalt for the millions of miles of roadways.
  • Medications and medical equipment.
  • Vaccines.
  • Communications systems, including cell phones, computers, iPhones, and iPads.
  • Water filtration systems.
  • Sanitation systems.
  • Fertilizers that come from natural gas help feed billions.
  • Pesticides to control locusts and other pests.
  • Wind turbines and solar panels are all made with products from fossil fuels.

With worldwide refinery closures outpacing new construction, shortages and inflation are likely to be the new norm that inflicts regressive expenses upon those that can least afford it.

*****

This article was published by CFACT, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow and is reproduced with permission.

Democrats’ Disastrous, Capricious Energy Policy

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Democrats have spent decades warning that the United States must stop using the most efficient and affordable energy sources or it will be consumed by heat waves, fireballs, and cataclysmic weather events.

Every flood, every hurricane—every natural event, really—is now blamed on climate change. We have burdened our children with an irrational dread over their future. Then again, many in The Cult of Malthus won’t even have children.

So, why, if we’re on the precipice of this apocalypse if saving the planet trumps every other concern, is President Joe Biden begging everyone to drill? On the days Democrats aren’t blaming Russian President Vladimir Putin for rising gas prices (a cost the president not long ago argued was worth paying for “freedom”), they’re blaming oil companies for profiteering.

As the national average hit $5.01 last Wednesday (nearly $2 higher than a year earlier), Biden sent letters to refining companies threatening to once again abuse his executive powers if they do not immediately alleviate high prices—a political appeal to the imaginary “greedflation.”

Biden, who promised a 100% “clean-energy economy” with “net-zero emissions” in a couple of decades, now demands energy companies, already at utilization rates above 90%, invest tens of billions more in new drilling infrastructure, when everyone knows that tomorrow when prices recede, Democrats are going to go right back to passing laws and regulations that undercut their business.

Today, Democrats demand CEOs spend more; tomorrow, they will promise to “hold oil executives accountable” and drag them in front of congressional committees where they will be scolded by economically illiterate windbags.

That future is baked into today’s price. Because Democrats’ energy policy is a schizophrenic mess, oscillating from puerile to pernicious. You can’t spend decades working to undercut production and campaign on the promise of destroying industry and then demand it turn on a dime when it’s politically convenient.

Democrats will argue that this is a unique emergency as prices have spiked to historic highs. Guess what? Energy prices will always be at historic highs when you create shortages, which is exactly what progressives have been advocating we do for years.

Virtually every left-wing energy proposal in the past two decades, if not longer, has been designed to create false scarcity, either through fabricated marketplaces and stringent regulations or by putting caps on production. This is what they wanted.  

“No more drilling on federal lands,” Biden promised during the 2020 presidential campaign. “No more drilling, including offshore. No ability for the oil industry to continue to drill, period, ends, No. 1.”

Not No. 2. No. 1.

“No more—no new fracking,” the president also said.

Blue states across the country have either banned fracking or are in the process of banning fracking projects.

And, on the first day of his presidency, Biden rejoined the Paris Agreement—an accord he is now working hard to break—revoking permits for Keystone XL, a 1,700-mile pipeline that was going to carry approximately 800,000 barrels of oil a day into the United States (also baked into the price).

Biden signed a slew of executive orders prioritizing climate change over energy production, halting oil and natural gas leases on all public lands. When a court blocked him, the Biden administration appealed the decision, even as indications of an energy spike were clear.

Rather than threatening price controls, the president should just rescind all his executive orders.

Of course, until some new technology is devised, implementing any policy that resembles the Green New Deal—the plan Biden says is the “framework” for his own efforts on “environmental justice”—would hold approximately the same economic consequences as having coronavirus economic shutdowns for 30 years straight. That’s merely if we followed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommendations on carbon emissions.

Last year, with inflation already looming, Biden preached that it was a “moral imperative” to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50% from 2005 levels by 2030 and 100% by 2050. That’s a policy that will have us fondly reminiscing about $5 a gallon.

Energy policy can’t be capriciously implemented and then abandoned every time the Democrats’ poll numbers flail. This is just a little taste of the Green New Deal. There is no sentient being that could accept the notion that Democrats are the party that is in favor of abundant fossil fuels.

Hopefully, the price—even in small measure—for Democrats’ green policies is so politically severe that they will moderate. Because we all have unattainable dreams.

*****

This article was published by The Daily Signal and is reproduced with permission.

Record High Diesel Prices Threaten Domino Effect To Other Goods

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Record high diesel fuel prices are yet another driver of rising costs for Americans, and those costs could get even higher this year.

Diesel gas prices hit another record high Thursday at $5.79 per gallon, according to AAA. That is a spike from $5.57 a month ago and much higher than the average of $3.22 the same time last year.

Diesel gas prices have continued to hit new records this week even as regular gas has leveled out, at least for the last couple of days.

Those higher prices are one of several factors raising costs for businesses, costs that are often passed down to consumers.

Food prices have soared in recent months. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 10.1% increase in the food index in the previous twelve months, “the first increase of 10 percent or more since the period ending March 1981.”

Food prices have been hit hard by Russian President Valdimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine since Ukraine is a major exporter for food and chemicals used in fertilizer, but several other factors have played a part, including inflation. BLS’ producer price index rose 10.8% in the past 12 months, and consumer prices are rising at the fastest pace in four decades.

Many of the food production costs that are hitting farmers now will not be felt by consumers until the crops are harvested and sent to market later on.

“We have not yet begun to see the cost of Biden’s war on energy, on food prices because we have not yet harvested,” Turner said. “It’s only late spring, and we are still eating last year’s wheat. Wait until late summer and early fall and we will see painfully high prices across the board, and we are woefully unprepared.

Diesel, though, is used to transporting all kinds of goods, not just food. Right now, businesses are paying more than ever to transport via diesel trucks while the market also deals with a truck driver shortage.

Those higher costs are one more supply chain issue facing the U.S. economy right now as prices on all kinds of goods rise.

Experts say higher energy costs will only make that worse if they remain elevated for an extended period of time.

“By the economics textbook, higher costs work themselves up through the supply side of the market and raise prices,” said Roger Cryan, chief economist at the American Farm Bureau Federation, as previously reported by The Center Square. “The prices are especially high right now because of the sudden lack of access to Black Sea grain, but if these energy prices stay high in the long run then they will entirely work their way into food prices.”

Biden has taken heavy criticism for his energy policies from detractors who point to his policies that held back oil leases and pipeline development.

Biden has tried to deflect those critiques, pointing to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which disrupted global oil markets. 

“Biden has got a case that there is a Russia shock, but the other side has also got a case that if the United States were producing more, the Russia shock wouldn’t be such a big deal,” said Desmond Lachman, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute.

*****
This article was published by The Center Square and is reproduced with permission.

Here’s How Gas Prices Rank Around the Country

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes

Gas prices have hit record highs day after day in recent weeks, breaking the $5 mark over the weekend for the first time ever.

Those higher prices have put many Americans in a bind as they also deal with the highest inflation in decades.

The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas hit a record-high $5.01 Monday, up from $4.43 a month ago and much higher than the price of $3.08 this time last year.

All 50 states around the country have seen major price hikes, though some more than others.

With average prices varying by state, here is the breakdown, from highest to lowest, of the regular gas price for every state in the nation.

Gas Prices State Ranking

State Current Price Price One Month Ago Price One Year Ago
1. California $6.44 $5.87 $4.23
2. Nevada $5.66 $5.14 $3.66
3. Alaska $5.57 $4.82 $3.37
4. Illinois $5.56 $4.81 $3.35
5. Washington $5.55 $4.92 $3.62
6. Oregon $5.54 $4.90 $3.47
7. Hawaii $5.53 $5.31 $3.97
8. Arizona $5.32 $4.72 $3.12
9. Indiana $5.22 $4.41 $3.05
10. Michigan $5.22 $4.35 $3.17
11. Idaho $5.10 $4.50 $3.29
12. Maine $5.08 $4.46 $3.06
13. Pennsylvania $5.07 $4.58 $3.18
14. New Jersey $5.06 $4.50 $3.07
15. Ohio $5.05 $4.29 $3.03
16. Massachusetts $5.05 $4.48 $2.95
17. Vermont $5.05 $4.48 $2.99
18. New York $5.04 $4.68 $3.11
19. Rhode Island $5.02 $4.46 $2.97
20. Maryland $5.02 $4.41 $2.99
21. Utah $5.02 $4.48 $3.37
22. New Hampshire $5.00 $4.40 $2.94
23. Delaware $4.99 $4.40 $2.97
24. Connecticut $4.98 $4.40 $3.09
25. Wisconsin $4.92 $4.20 $2.92
26. West Virginia $4.91 $4.24 $3.00
27. Montana $4.91 $4.27 $2.96
28. Florida $4.89 $4.47 $2.97
29. Colorado $4.88 $4.12 $3.22
30. Virginia $4.86 $4.27 $2.93
31. New Mexico $4.83 $4.28 $2.97
32. Kentucky $4.80 $4.22 $2.91
33. North Dakota $4.77 $4.11 $2.89
34. Minnesota $4.76 $4.10 $2.86
35. Wyoming $4.76 $4.24 $3.14
36. Nebraska $4.76 $4.09 $2.91
37. Iowa $4.74 $4.13 $2.87
38. South Dakota $4.72 $4.14 $2.93
39. Missouri $4.68 $4.03 $2.76
40. North Carolina $4.67 $4.21 $2.88
41. Kansas $4.66 $3.99 $2.85
42. Texas $4.66 $4.11 $2.76
43. Tennessee $4.64 $4.17 $2.88
44. Oklahoma $4.64 $4.00 $2.75
45. Alabama $4.63 $4.14 $2.82
46. South Carolina $4.61 $4.13 $2.80
47. Louisiana $4.55 $4.09 $2.72
48. Arkansas $4.54 $4.01 $2.77
49. Mississippi $4.52 $4.02 $2.72
50. Georgia $4.48 $3.95 $2.91

*****

This article was published by The Center Square and is reproduced with permission.