While many components affect the price of gasoline, two leading factors contributing to the energy crisis the United States is facing are the many years of Democrat-backed anti-fracking policies and President Joe Biden’s pledge to wean America off fossil fuels, says Jerry Simmons, president and CEO of Domestic Energy Producers Alliance.
Before the global energy situation grew more dire following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting blacklisting of Russian oil, most countries around the world were already experiencing pandemic-related shortages of oil.
OPEC+ was restricting oil supply, and despite U.S. calls to increase output, the global body decided to keep supply unchanged given uncertainty over demand due to the ongoing emergence of new COVID-19 variants.
“It has huge impacts,” Simmons said of Biden and his policies. “I believe that we're seeing that now.”
But now, blaming Russia’s war in Ukraine, the Biden administration has in the past few months reluctantly done an about-face on its previous policies, asking U.S. energy producers to produce more oil and gas.
The representative of U.S. energy producers said it wasn't lost on them that this request came only after the Biden administration had already approached the Saudis and the Venezuelans, “maybe even the Iranians,” asking them to produce more oil.
“The idea that you ask some of those foreign countries to produce before you ask American producers to produce. I don't know ... if you look at the Green New Deal, and some of the kind of really far-left green organizations that might have an influence over the Biden administration, they want us to keep it in the ground,” Simmons said.
“But again, if you're concerned about climate change and global CO2 emissions, just because it's produced in another country doesn't mean that it's not going to have the same impact. So it doesn't make any sense.”
He emphasized that U.S. oil and gas producers operate under some of the strictest environmental regulations on the planet and have to meet much higher standards that promote the protection of the environment.
Some of the solutions being put forward now to ease the burden of crippling gas prices are absolutely not going to be much help to American families, Simmons told NTD.
“California is a great example,” he said. “Just a few years ago, Californians were importing less than 10 percent of the oil that they consumed—mostly in transportation. And today I think that number is like 68 percent, and most of that oil is coming from Saudi Arabia by a tanker ... so they're floating boats from the Middle East to the West Coast of this country to refine a product so that Governor Newsom can not have the production in California, which makes no sense at all.
“So the drivers in California, when they pull up and they pay $6 a gallon, they can thank those policies for that. And to offer somebody a debit card for $400? That's a pretty short-term solution,” he said of the financial support currently being offered to Californians to address inflation at the pump.
'12 Million Barrels a Day'Simmons also said that despite the Biden administration’s unfriendly treatment of the industry, American oil companies are trying their best to react to U.S. energy needs in the here and now.
He said domestic companies are already producing more oil than before the request.
“We’re up to almost 12 million barrels a day in this country; our height in 2019 was about 13 million barrels a day. We'll be back to that [next year], that peak production. So it's not that we're not trying.
“The rig count, year over this week, we're up 60 percent in onshore drilling rigs in this country. So we're reacting as an industry, we're trying to do our best. But up until the last couple of months, this administration has done everything they can to stop us from producing.”
To make matters more challenging for domestic energy producers, public opinion on U.S. energy production appears to be weighted in favor of limiting the extraction of fossil fuels.
But not all Democrats have supported the Biden administration's energy policies to date and its approach to dealing with rising inflation.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has urged the Biden administration to partner with the oil-rich neighboring democracy of Canada to remove barriers to a "North American energy alliance" to meet the free world’s energy and mineral demands.
“We should be looking at North America as the energy juggernaut of the world, [particularly together with Canada and Mexico.] How do you evaluate the supply risk from these allies as opposed to somewhere like Russia or China?”