Inflation hit 8.5% in March, the highest it’s been since 1981, and it’s hitting families where it hurts.
One of the price hikes hitting Americans the hardest is the increase in the price of gas. The national average for a gallon of gas has been over $4, and for working families, these rising costs could mean reprioritizing their spending and adding more stress when it comes to making rent and filling the tank. One estimate found that a typical household can expect to pay $2,000 more this year for gasoline alone.
If you ask the Biden administration, it will point to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as the primary cause for sky-rocketing prices in an attempt to deflect from its long-standing assault on domestic energy production. American families and small businesses know better, though they’ve been coping with soaring energy bills since last fall.
President Biden made his attitude toward conventional energy production clear on day one when he cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline, and since then, his administration has tried to make it more expensive and more difficult to tap into America’s abundant energy resources. Rather than embracing homegrown energy, the president has pursued an agenda that is hostile to it. Instead of prioritizing American energy independence, he has focused almost exclusively on alternative energy technologies, including what seems to be an obsession with electric vehicles, which his administration has clearly picked as its preferred winner in the clean-energy stakes.
The fact of the matter is, our nation is not going to magically transition to a 100% zero-emission energy fleet overnight, no matter how much the administration would like it to. From technological advancements and supplying critical minerals to upgrading our electric grid and energy storage, this is going to take time, and liquid fuels aren’t going away in the near term. Right now, consumers need affordable and reliable energy supplies to power their homes and businesses and low-cost fuel options to fill their vehicles.
The conflict in Ukraine is a reminder that energy independence is not only a component of economic security, but it is also critically important to national security. In the United States, we cannot waste another second in terms of getting our energy producers off the bench and into the game. American energy independence, which we had during the last administration, and for the first time in my lifetime, means we don’t have to rely on foreign regimes for energy supplies a reliance that ultimately funds their malign agendas.
This is no time for gimmicks, but that’s what Democrats have considered as Americans pay more at the pump. The White House has reportedly considered mailing people gas cards and sending another round of stimulus checks, which would undoubtedly worsen inflation. The administration has also tapped into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve without any plan to restore it. New leases mean little if government red tape still blocks drilling.
The only acceptable American energy policy is an all-of-the-above energy policy that invests in both clean energy technologies and conventional energy sources, from hydroelectric and nuclear to biofuels and natural gas. That’s the only way to keep energy prices down and ensure that Americans’ energy needs are met no matter what is going on in oil-producing countries around the globe. Americans can’t afford to wait any longer.
• Senator John Thune, South Dakota Republican, is the Senate minority whip, the number two position in Senate Republican leadership. He serves on the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee; the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee; and the Finance Committee. He is the ranking member of the Commerce Committee’s Subcommitteeon Communications, Media, and Broadband and ranking member of the Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on Taxation and IRS Oversight.
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