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$2.50 per Gallon Gasoline, Energy Independence and Jobs

To hear the White House and President Obama tell it, high gasoline prices are here to stay and we better get used to them. If Americans would quiet down and accept $4.00 a gallon gas, it would certainly make the President and his environmentalist allies happy—but it would also require us to forget everything we know about American energy.

During the years I was speaker the average price for a gallon of gasoline was $1.13, and when President Obama took office in January 2009 the average price nationwide was $1.89 a gallon. Three years into the Obama presidency, the average is $3.47 a gallon.

Today, prices like those we enjoyed three years ago seem like a fantasy, and under the president’s current policies, they are. But these were prices Americans paid in the recent past. We can achieve $2.50 a gallon gasoline if we want to.

Listening to the president, you would never know the United States is sitting on more oil than there is in all of Saudi Arabia. In fact, we could have more technically recoverable oil  in the U.S. than the entire world has consumed since the first commercial oil well was dug before the Civil War.

In spite of these resources, President Obama has opposed policies at every step that could lower the price of gasoline.

He has stubbornly prevented the development of American of oil and gas resources that could be used to meet greater demand with increased production. He has shut down the Gulf of Mexico and blocked offshore drilling in the Atlantic, Pacific and Alaska coasts, where there are an estimated 86 billion barrels. Only 2.2 percent of federal offshore land is currently being leased for production, and the president is refusing to allow more.

On land, the administration’s obstruction is just as damaging. Among the 30.5 billion barrels of oil located on onshore federal lands (not including oil shale), 92 percent of them are inaccessible or under restrictions above and beyond standard regulatory and administrative hurdles. The Obama administration rescinded 77 oil and gas leases in Utah and stalled oil shale research and development  in Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming, where the federal government owns most of the world’s oil shale reserves on lands estimated to hold 1 trillion barrels of oil.

In addition to  stonewalling new production of domestic energy resources the President has proposed a $40 billion tax hike on oil and gas production in his budget every single year, which would reduce production and increase prices, and he rejected the Keystone XL pipeline to appease his ideological base. Meanwhile, he’s eager to spend hundreds of billions in taxpayer money on risky green energy startups like Solyndra and have the United States be Brazil’s best oil customer.

Clearly, President Obama is more interested in playing favorites with environmental extremists than in embracing the “all-of-the-above” strategy that would achieve energy independence and help all Americans now.

With gasoline prices higher today than they have ever been at this point in the year, the president’s actions are unacceptable to the American people.

Implementing a bold American energy plan will bring down the cost of gasoline, eliminate our dangerous dependence on overseas oil and ensure that no American president is forced to confront Iranian threats to close the Straits of Hormuz or ever again bows to a Saudi king.

As president, I will  dramatically expand leasing of federal lands for oil and gas development, with the goal of increasing production as much as possible. I will move aggressively to put the Gulf of Mexico back to work, open up new areas like Atlantic Coast and the Chukchi Sea in Alaska, and remove regulatory hurdles to development of the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska and our vast oil sands deposits. We won’t have to wait until the actual supplies come online to see lower gasoline prices. A credible and significant commitment to expanding American energy supplies can put downward pressure on prices today.

I would approve the Keystone XL pipeline on my first day in office, and work to condense regulations to make it easier to build new refineries. I would eliminate the capital gains tax to promote investment and move to 100 percent expensing for new equipment so companies could write it off in one year, making it easier for companies to build new extraction sites. And I would replace the EPA with a new, economically rational Environmental Solutions Agency since the current bureaucracy is so hostile to businesses it can’t be fixed.

$2.50 a gallon gas is not a dream. It’s achievable with the right policies. If we take these and other steps, we will  reduce the price of gas by tapping America’s incredible oil and gas resources to increase supply. Doing so will  mean more money in Americans’ pockets, lower costs for millions of businesses, and tens of thousands of jobs across the country in an industry poised to take off.

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