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How Democrats Are Largely Behind America’s Energy Crisis

granholm mccarthy regan haaland

I don’t identify as a Republican or Democrat.

But as an energy expert I must say this: had Democrats spent the last 3.5 years liberating US oil and gas investment, production, and transport instead of strangling them, energy would be far cheaper. —Alex Epstein

America is experiencing our worst energy crisis since the 1970s.

High oil prices are making driving expensive, while high natural gas prices are making heating and electricity far more expensive—above all in the Northeast, where some ratepayers might see prices more than two times last winter’s.

Here’s a chart of residential natural gas prices over the last several winters from the US Energy Information Administration. Notice the massive spike projected for this winter—meaning record heating bills for many.

Democrats are claiming there’s nothing they could have done about today’s oil and natural gas prices. These prices, they say, are outside America’s control because they are largely set by global markets.

In fact, had Democrats been pro-oil-and-gas, our prices would be much lower.

Democrats could have ensured far lower oil-and-gas prices despite global tumult had they, upon taking power in 2019:

1) Liberated oil investment, production, and transport.
2) Liberated natural gas investment, production, and transport.

Instead, they systematically strangled oil and gas.

How Democrats could have made oil prices lower

By supporting the liberation of oil investment, production, and transport, Democrats could have unleashed our vast resources and industrial ingenuity to dramatically add to the global oil supply—putting major downward pressure on prices.

Energy Secretary Granholm’s statement “that oil is a global market; it is controlled by a cartel…called OPEC” captures the view that US policy has little effect on global markets. But as the shale revolution proved, American industry can have a huge effect on global markets.

American oil producers can only have a huge effect on global markets if investors are free to invest in oil production.

But Democrats have sabotaged oil investment by 1) supporting various “ESG” policies that call for reduced oil investment and 2) threatening oil producers’ existence.

Since Barack Obama ran for President declaring “the age of oil must end in our time” and continuing through Joe Biden’s “guarantee” that “we’re going to end fossil fuel,” US Democrats have threatened the future of oil production—a major deterrent for investment.

Leading Democrats like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders constantly threaten US oil production and make good on those threats by trying to prevent crucial oil infrastructure projects, such as pipelines. Having these kinds of politicians in power drives investment away from oil.

Is it any wonder that threatened incessantly by US Ds and other anti-oil forces, global investment in oil declined dramatically despite growing long-term demand? Between 2011 and 2021, oil/gas exploration investments declined by 50%.

Less investment = less supply = higher prices.

High post-pandemic demand for oil would normally be a great opportunity for oil producers to rapidly increase their capital expenditures and profit from higher prices.

But today’s hostile environment, overwhelmingly from Democratic politicians, makes companies reluctant to invest.

Another Democratic position that has increased oil prices is hostility to pipelines, especially Keystone XL. This has inhibited Canada from bringing oil to market, which prevents Canada from using its vast oil deposits to their full potential—meaning lower global supply and higher prices.

Summary: If Democrats, upon taking power in 2019, had liberated oil investment, production, and transport, we could have led the world in rapidly ramping up production post-pandemic. Instead, we’ve been considerably slower than OPEC+, which actively avoids fast ramp-ups in production.

Alex Epstein is an energy expert bringing clarity to energy, environmental, and climate issues. He is the author of the NYT bestseller The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels and his latest, Fossil Future.

Read rest at Energy Talking Points

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