Just in time for summer vacation, gas prices are rising and American families are bracing for sticker shock. OPEC is doing its part to keep prices high by cutting production, and the Biden administration continues to hobble domestic production.
That trip to Yellowstone National Park (or Destin, Fla., for that matter) is about to get a lot more expensive. But it doesn’t have to. Unleashing Texas energy production would bring down gas prices and help address the inflation pressures being felt at every kitchen table now. It might come at the expense of President Biden’s progressive base, but for a president who has often been desperate to distance himself from the pain at the pump, it could be a grand bargain.
On Sunday, Saudi Arabia said it would cut oil production by 1 million barrels per day. OPEC and its allies (known as OPEC+) are worried about a looming recession and decreased demand, which would push crude prices lower. The last time OPEC+ cut production, the Biden administration was livid.
“The OPEC+ decision last year drew a rebuke from the U.S., which at the time had requested that Saudi Arabia and its allies increase production to help lower energy prices and tame high inflation,” The Wall Street Journal reported. “The White House called the OPEC+ decision shortsighted and suggested the group was actively supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
Biden warned that the Saudis would suffer “consequences,” but he never followed through.
Even so, Biden at least acknowledges that progressives are living in a fantasy world with their dreams of boundless energy from windmills and solar panels.
“I say, ‘We’re going to need oil for a decade and beyond that,” Biden said in his State of the Union speech in February.
Yet Biden’s incoherent approach to fossil fuels production has led to a frustrated domestic energy industry. Pioneer Natural Resources CEO Scott Sheffield says the industry now lacks refining capacity. Meanwhile, as Texas Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian notes, “To make matters worse, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing is choking off necessary investment in cheap and reliable natural gas infrastructure, while taxpayers continue to subsidize unreliability with massive handouts for wind and solar energy.”
A House Oversight Committee in March found that “President Biden has conducted an unprecedented assault on our nation’s ability to produce energy by shutting down the Keystone XL pipeline, implementing a moratorium on oil and gas production on federal lands, draining U.S. oil reserves, and enacting energy policies that increased costs for Americans and killed thousands of high-paying American jobs.”
It also found that “secure and reliable pro-U.S.-energy policies allow for lower prices and a higher quality of life for all Americans.”
Biden’s energy policy has not weaned the U.S. from oil — rather, it has shifted production overseas. Why not turn inward again and unleash domestic producers? The Lone Star State is the nation’s top energy producer, with 1.5 billion barrels of crude oil and 11.2 trillion cubic feet of total gas extracted just last year, according to the Texas Railroad Commission. And there’s plenty more waiting to be recovered.
What could that mean to families planning their summer vacations? Lower gas prices, to be sure, and that’s a start. A Yellowstone vacation costs an average of $5,441 for a family of four, industry observers say. A break of a couple of hundred dollars may not seem like much, but inflation has squeezed every family’s finances. Abundant, reliable and affordable energy would also slow inflation, as fuel prices have proven to be a driver of overall inflation.
American and especially Texan energy producers are ready to drill and produce. American families are ready for relief. Is the Biden administration ready to make it possible?