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High gas prices need long-term strategy

The Biden Administration’s decision to release 50 million barrels of oil is probably the right step to address rising gasoline prices in the short term — but the administration needs to have a long-term — and perhaps medium-term — strategy.

Part of the Biden Administration’s strategy should include encouraging domestic production of oil and natural gas. While natural gas is unrelated to the price of gasoline, natural gas prices are also rising — according to Forbes magazine, natural gas prices “have surged an astonishing 150%” — and middle-class Americans can not afford to pay more at the pump and also on their monthly home heating bills.

There, of course, will be officials within the Biden Administration and voters within President Joe Biden’s base who are skeptical. But natural gas remains a cleaner source of energy than coal. Petroleum remains an important source of plastics and other materials. Even if solar, wind and hydroelectric power remain the long-term strategy for providing Americans with affordable energy, a shift from coal to natural gas is a medium-term step in the right direction. Even if we reach the point in the long term when Americans heat their homes and power their cars and workplaces with solar, wind, hydroelectric power or some combination, there will be uses and a demand for domestically drilled petroleum.

Just as environmentalist officials and environmentalist voters should be open to a compromise under which there is more drilling, the oil and gas industries should be more open to oversight. The Associated Press reported in Wednesday’s edition of the Sun-Gazette that U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm believes domestic production is being kept artificially low to increase prices and profits. The White House should outline what regulatory steps can be taken to alleviate that factor, and also what steps can be taken to further reduce the environmental impact of drilling rigs and pipelines.

Environmentalists and industry leaders working together and with the White House to compromise for the good of working Americans — that’s a strategy that’s good in the short, medium and long terms.

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