Thursday, November 6, 2014

Carpe navitas: Seize the energy

You’ve probably noticed the lower gas prices by now. Experts say prices will go still lower through the end of the year. One of the reasons they expect prices to fall is because retailers can switch back to winter gas blends which are cheaper. Some of the mainstream media reports only nibble around the edges as to the primary reason for the low prices. Most ignore the truth altogether.

The reason oil prices are low — and, subsequently, gas prices — is because of what’s going on in North Dakota, Texas and now Ohio. North Dakota is home to the enormous Bakken shale reserves. They’re in the midst of an oil boom, with the lowest unemployment rate in the country. Thanks to innovations in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, oil companies are able to get at oil that, just a few years, was too expensive to find. And this has been primarily on private land.

The Obama administration loves to brag about our newly-found energy but all of this is happening in spite of them. Texas is now producing more oil per day than the entire country of Iran, mostly on private land. In fact, while we’re surpassing Saudi Arabia in oil production, the oil we’re getting from federal land is down six percent since 2009. Natural gas production on federal land is down a whopping 28 percent.

According to J. Winston Porter at The Hill, 87 percent of federally-controlled offshore oil reserves are off limits to oil and gas exploration. Imagine how our economy would come roaring back if we were able to get at all that oil. Experts say we could be completely energy independent inside of five years.

To put things into perspective as to how gas prices affect our economy, for every one-cent drop in the price at the pump there’s an extra $1 billion in consumers’ wallets, according to a study by Deutsche Bank. That’s $75 billion extra since just this past spring.

The irony is Barack Obama could lay claim to probably the most robust economic recovery in a generation if he would stop his war on oil. Instead, he continues to pump billions into green energy initiatives, many of which sink like the Titanic with our tax dollar aboard.

I have no problem with alternative sources of energy. In fact, as featured in our documentary, An Inconsistent Truth, I’ve made my own biodiesel. But there is simply not enough of the alternative energy to even come close to replacing oil and natural gas. It would make sense for us to squeeze out every drop of energy we can from the sources available while we wait for alternative technology to catch up. That’s how it’s done in a free economy but this administration has no interest in a free economy.

Now that the mid-term elections are behind us, it’s time for the congress to start focusing on energy, which has a real impact on us all, especially those at the lower end of the economic spectrum. The drop in gas prices just since spring means an average of $15 each time we fill up. If the average person fills up once a week, that’s an extra $780 a year that can go to buy something else besides gas. Certainly this administration sees how beneficial that is to lower-income households.

While oil prices have dropped, electricity prices have risen, primarily due to Obama’s war on coal. Let’s face it, this administration’s war on affordable energy is a war on the American economy and it’s time congress fought back.

Phil Valentine is the host of the award-winning, nationally syndicated talk radio show, The Phil Valentine Show.

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