Reason Number 581 You Are Paying High Gas Prices

October 7, 2005

Seems to me that the Democratic party always defines itself as the party of the people, or the party of the little guy. If that is the case, can someone tell me why the story below shows their stance to be off base with their rhetoric? I think it’s clear that the largest class of people hurt by higher gas prices are “the little guys.” Democrats (and plenty of Republicans) apparently don’t understand the impact of higher gas prices when it comes to every day life either. If I remember my economics classes correctly there’s a trickle down effect on higher fuel costs, or any product, that is eventually absorbed by the consumer. Higher fuel costs mean greater overhead from the grower or producer to the distributor. From there it snowballs when transporting goods to market. In the end, the consumer takes the greatest hit when they break open their wallet.

The House Republicans have finally put together a plan to construct new oil refineries to cope with the aging plants already in existence. The plan is about twenty years over due, but at least they’re trying. While I have not researched the following claim, it does not surprise me: The last oil refinery built was in 1976. Those that are still in operation after two hurricanes are running at full capacity, with little hope to keep up with America’s future demands. The argument that alternative fuels are the answer is both right and wrong. If you can get me into a truck like the one I have now, that will do the kinds of things my truck does now (speed, towing capability, a reasonable cost compared to what the standard is for the market, and comfort) you got yourself a deal. Otherwise, until you can make such a vehicle, give me my fossil fuel burning truck.

One brilliant piece of wording in the legislation would knock out the ridiculous use of dozens of boutique gasolines that have stifled production since their introduction. Different areas of the country getting different kinds of fuel blends is insanity at the highest level. The environmental nut cases have taken great pains to protect our country, and for that I applaud them. But, you don’t get to be the greatest nation on this planet by holding back construction of new production facilities. I’m not even going to go off on a rant about what has happened in California with the roadblocks, environmental studies that take a decade, and red tape the greenies have thrown up in court to keep new power plants and production facilities from being built. Think about the rolling blackouts in California last summer. That’s all I need to say about that. I’d hate to see that as commonplace across the country. It’s reminiscent of communist countries and their faulty infrastructure….. kind of like our refinery infrastructure right now.

One has to wonder about Democrats and their understanding of economics when they call this the “Leave no oilman behind” bill.” In this case, it really is the economy, stupid! Claiming that this bill would do nothing to alleviate the gas crunch now, and would only benefit the oil industry is short sighted at best. It’s short sighted when you can only carp about the now without understanding what the future holds, and what our demands will be ten or twenty years down the road. I will bet a years salary China and India are planning for it. We should already be producing out of Alaska by now, but again we get smacked across the face with enviro-whacko-thought.

Macro or Micro, it’s always about the economics. If you want to survive and compete in the 21st century, you better have a plan; and this is a good start. More refineries mean more production. More production in any industry means more product available to the buying public. More product available to the buying public means lower prices for all. It’s sad that a high school level concept escapes the Democrats.

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/10/07/D8D3903O1.html

Democrats Attack Bill to Boost Refineries
Oct 07 11:10 AM US/Eastern

By H. JOSEF HEBERT
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON

A new Republican-crafted energy bill, prompted by the hurricane devastation and high fuel prices, came under sharp attack Friday from Democrats who called it a sop to rich oil companies that would do little to curb gasoline or natural gas costs, while hurting the environment.

Supporters argue the measure is needed to spur construction of new refineries. The House was expected to vote on it later in the day.

In an attempt to ease approval of the bill, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, removed a particularly contentious provision Friday that would have implemented clean air regulation changes long sought by the Bush administration. It would have allowed not only refineries, but also coal-burning power plants and other industries to expand and make changes without adding pollution controls even if emissions increase.

Still, Democrats and a few Republicans lambasted the legislation as debate opened on the House floor.

It does nothing to curb oil use by requiring more fuel efficient cars or promoting alternative energy sources, said Rep. Edward Markey, D- Mass. He called it “a leave-no-oilman-behind bill.”

Attempts to add requirements that automakers increase vehicle fuel economy and a measure aimed at producing more natural gas were thwarted by GOP leaders who strictly limited the ability by lawmakers to amend the bill.

“Natural gas is an issue this (Congress) needs to deal with,” said Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa., who was prevented under House rules for the bill from offering a proposal that would have opened offshore natural gas resources to drilling.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita shut down more than a dozen refineries and disrupted natural gas supplies. Gasoline prices soared and huge increases in heating bills are expected this winter for users of both gas and fuel oil.

Barton says vulnerabilities in the fuel supply system exposed by the hurricanes show that the country needs to build more refineries, especially away from the Gulf Coast region. No refineries have been built in the United States since 1976 as the industry has consolidated to fewer, but larger facilities.

The GOP legislation also would limit to six the different blends of gasoline and diesel fuel that refiners would be required to produce, reversing a trend of using so-called “boutique” fuels to satisfy clean air demands. And it would give the federal government greater say in siting a refinery and pipeline. It also calls on the president to designate military bases or other federal property where a refinery might be built.

“The bill weakens state and federal environmental standards … and gives a break to wealthy oil companies while doing little or nothing to affect oil prices,” Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-N.Y., said in a letter Thursday to colleagues.

With prices soaring, “oil companies now have all the profits and incentives they need to build new refineries” without government help, he maintained.

Barton countered that it will give industry more “certainty” that a refinery project will not be delayed “without lessening any environmental law now on the books. … The bill sets in motion a chain of events for lowering gas prices for Americans.”

Among the groups trying to kill the bill were the National League of Cities, nine state attorneys general, most environmental organizations and groups representing state officials in charge of implementing federal clean air requirements. They said the bill would hinder their ability to ensure clean and healthy air.

Environmentalists also have argued that the limit to six gasoline types could jeopardize the requirement for use of low-sulfur diesel fuel. The low-sulfur diesel regulations have been touted by the Bush administration as one of the Environmental Protection Agency’s most significant accomplishments.

In 1981, the United States had 325 refineries capable of producing 18.6 million barrels a day. Today there are fewer than half that number, producing 16.9 million barrels daily. Still, refining capacity has been increasing, though not dramatically, for the last decade. Imports have made up the difference as demand has continued to increase.

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The bill number is H.R. 3893. Additional information can be found at http://thomas.loc.gov

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