High gas prices show need to unleash U.S. energy potential

High gas prices show need to unleash U.S. energy potential

January 13th, 2012 in Opinion Free Press

President Barack Obama's unwise delay of a decision on a large oil pipeline project is coming into even more painful focus with predictions about how high gasoline prices may go over the next few months.

In case you missed it, oil industry experts are saying that by Memorial Day, the American people may be paying $4.50 a gallon for gas.

Do you think that current local gas prices in the $3 to $3.50 range are too low? Do you think the nearly $4,200 that the typical American household spent on gasoline in 2011 wasn't enough?

More to the point, have your wages been increasing enough over the past months and years that you can readily afford to pay a dollar to a dollar and a half more per gallon? That would come to an additional $12 to $18 on just a 12-gallon fill-up!

Of course many factors that affect gasoline prices are largely beyond U.S. control. We cannot guess, for example, what anti-American strongman Hugo Chavez may do in Venezuela, a nation where Chavez's socialist policies have led to great privation despite vast oil reserves. Neither can we predict the next steps radical Iran might take in the Persian Gulf -- from which much of the world's oil is shipped -- in response to sanctions over Iran's nuclear weapons program.

But those uncertainties make it all the more frustrating that the United States is not making full use of our own supplies of oil and natural gas in Alaska and off our coasts -- despite our country's strong record of environmentally safe energy production.

And it is almost as frustrating that the president has postponed a decision on a pipeline that would bring oil to refineries on our Gulf Coast from friendly Canada -- creating thousands of jobs and serving as a counterweight to our troubling dependence on oil from dangerous or unstable regimes. The oil is expected to be sold to Communist China if it is not brought into the United States.

There is no reason -- other than placating his environmental activist backers -- for the president to delay the decision on the pipeline.

And there is certainly no reason to keep so much of our domestic energy supplies out of reach -- and to keep us at the mercy of overseas radicals.