Thursday, August 9, 2012

Gas Prices

Few issues have more practical impact on our daily lives than gas prices. As the world develops, the demand on the supply of energy is expected to increase. We cannot expect the situation to fix itself.

"Wall Street speculators" are frequently blamed for the rising cost of fuel. While they play a role in our access to a supply of energy, that is only half the story.

Those who trade energy futures work with two sides of the transaction: how much is available, and how much people and nations want. To blame them for the cost going up based only on increases from the demand side of the transaction is to ignore the other half.

The other half is the supply side. According to a report by the Congressional Research Service, "the United States remains among the top nations in proved reserves of all fossil fuels taken together."

And by "among the top," they mean the United States is at the top, according to the accompanying chart on page 17. We easily beat the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Only Russia comes close in terms of total supply available using "only proved reserve numbers."

In other words, there are more of these energy resources in the United States than anywhere else in the world.

Therefore, the United States has another option readily available for addressing our energy needs and costs: increase supply.

Virginia has taken a leading position on this issue. Senators Warner and Webb have introduced the Virginia Outer Continental Shelf Energy Production Act (S. 1331). Addressing our energy needs and putting more people to work can begin right here off the coast of Virginia.

As Governor Bob McDonnell said, "Allowing environmentally-responsible offshore energy development off the coast of Virginia will help move our nation closer to energy independence, while bringing much needed jobs and revenue to the Commonwealth."

Speculation can drive the cost of energy down. Let's give the world something to speculate about.

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