Despite record U.S. oil production, and domestic demand for gasoline at its lowest in 13 years, gas prices are at an all-time high for this time of year, averaging $3.58 across the US.
President Obama’s energy policies have diversified national energy sources, and his energy incentives for efficient vehicles, including recently proposed new fuel economy standards and the popular “Cash for Clunkers” program, have helped to lower demand across the country. Yet, ignoring the decrease in demand and the fuel stockpiles steadily growing, oil corporations has been increasing production weekly. A quick look at the correlating increase in U.S. exports likely explains the continued high production. The U.S. Department of Energy recently increased its estimated U.S. exports of petrol products from 2.88 million barrels a day to 3.06 million barrels a day.
The American economy is arguably held hostage to the wild fluctuations of oil prices, dependant as we are on petroleum products for transportation, electricity, and manufacturing. Big Oil’s congressional allies continue to push an “oil above all” energy strategy that boosts oil industry profits but does nothing to lower prices at the pump.
The nation’s most profitable oil companies are still receiving federal subsidies. They’re still spending huge sums to keep sympathetic politicians in office, and they’re still charging $4 per gallon in much of the country. One of the myths circulated by Obama’s opponents is that the dirty Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would increase oil supply and lower gas prices, but as Bill McKibben recently pointed out, the idea that the toxic oil pipeline will reduce gas prices is “nonsense on many fronts.”And as President Obama stated today in his speech on gas prices, “We need to keep developing the technology that allows us to use less oil in our cars and trucks; in our buildings and plants… that’s the only real solution to this challenge."