Six months ago today, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, sending global energy markets into an uncertain and volatile period. In the months following, oil and crude prices rose rapidly, contributing to the record levels of inflation seen here in the United States and Europe. The energy effects here at home have been particularly painful. This summer, gasoline prices reached a national average of $5.016 per gallon, natural gas prices hit a fourteen-year high, and home heating oil prices have touched levels never seen before.
It’s an unfortunate reality that has directly affected the wallets of all Americans.
While prices have decreased in recent weeks, the national average today is still roughly $1.80 higher than it was two years ago. The U.S. attempted to curb rising energy prices by releasing crude oil from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve, increasing the share of ethanol in gasoline, and asking foreign countries to export more oil to America. These short-term actions may have brought down the cost of energy to some extent, but it is not a solution to keeping prices low long-term. And while gas prices have receded, some experts believe costs may start to rise again.
Instead, President Biden and lawmakers would be wise to embrace fossil fuels as part of the solution. The Biden administration should work with Congressional lawmakers to lift production restrictions of federal lands and waters, amend outdated permitting laws, and support energy pipeline infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines. Producing more U.S. natural gas will relieve some of the upward price pressure for both American families and our European allies.
The GAIN Coalition implores elected officials here in the United States to promote the domestic production of energy as a means to fortify our own energy supply in the face of uncertainty. Prioritizing energy projects, specifically in the production, transportation, and refining sectors, is a critical step towards securing our energy independence. Russia’s invasion demonstrates the clear vulnerability when countries aren’t energy independent, and that is a scenario our country cannot afford.