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View Full Version : Democrats turn up heat on US pump prices



savafan
08-19-2005, 10:58 PM
http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/08/19/MTFH98823_2005-08-19_21-30-55_EIC964467.html

By Chris Baltimore

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Democrats turned up the heat on the White House on Friday to act in the face of record-high U.S gasoline pump prices.

The same day, the Senate Energy Committee set a September 8 hearing on what's behind the prices, which hit a record $2.55 a gallon this week.

That's about 68 cents higher than just a year ago and the biggest weekly increase on record, which has triggered fears that high energy costs could hurt U.S. economic growth.

Lawmakers admit there is no short-term fix to pain at the pump, but are nervous about political fall-out. Gasoline prices are sure to be a hot topic when Congress returns from its recess next month.

Wal-Mart, the world's biggest retailer, warned this week that high gasoline prices have stunted U.S. consumer spending.

"Today's gasoline prices are taking a severe toll on Americans' pocketbooks," said Republican Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico, energy panel chairman. "Consumers are anxious."

The hearing will focus on global oil demand, refinery capacity constraints and the impact of futures market speculation on energy prices, Domenici said.

The panel said it has not set its witnesses.

Meanwhile, Democrats urged the White House to act.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid on Friday said the Bush administration should require U.S. oil companies to disclose their fuel pricing policies and production costs.

In a letter to the White House, Reid also said the Federal Trade Commission should investigate instances where a state's retail prices rise 20 percent in any given week "to determine if the price of gasoline is being artificially manipulated."

Past FTC probes into U.S. oil company pricing policies have found no sign of abuse.

"This one has already being done," White House spokesman Trent Duffy said. "The FTC and the Justice Department have been keenly watching for this type of activity for the past two years."

Duffy also said that Democrats' attempts to prevent oil drilling in the Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, have kept supplies tight.

"Commonsense steps we've tried to take, like increasing domestic oil production by allowing drilling in a small portion of ANWR, have been blocked by Democrats for years," Duffy said.

Separately, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida said the White House should ask oil companies for a voluntary, temporarily freeze on prices that they charge gasoline distributors.

Duffy said that price controls in any form are "terribly toxic to the economy" but added he had not seen the specific proposal.

The American Petroleum Institute, the biggest industry lobbyist, said U.S. oil companies are not benefiting unduly from high energy prices, and said that global crude oil shortages and oil prices near $70 a barrel are to blame.

It costs about $2 a gallon for U.S. refiners to turn crude oil into gasoline before transportation and distribution costs are added, said John Felmy, an API economist.

"When you take all those costs out you're not finding unreasonable profits for everything we have to do to get (gasoline) to consumers," Felmy said. "These requests are just unfortunate."

U.S. consumers use about 9 million barrels of gasoline a day -- about 380 million gallons worth.

Ever penny increase in gasoline prices means that U.S. consumers pay about $1.39 billion extra at the pump each year, according to Senate Energy Committee data.

Unassisted
08-19-2005, 11:49 PM
It's an easy campaign issue for the minority party to squawk about. I don't know that there's anything that the majority party can do about it, however.

Caveat Emperor
08-20-2005, 04:53 AM
Duffy also said that Democrats' attempts to prevent oil drilling in the Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, or ANWR, have kept supplies tight.

"Commonsense steps we've tried to take, like increasing domestic oil production by allowing drilling in a small portion of ANWR, have been blocked by Democrats for years," Duffy said.

What a totally specious response to a valid concern.

Even if the Democrats rubberstamped plans to open the ANWR to oil exploration and drilling for oil, it could be YEARS before oil wells are located and drilled and for the basic infastructure needed to transport pumped oil for processing to be completed.

ANWR and "more drilling" are just band-aid solutions that never get to the real crux of the issue regarding America's energy policy: oil is a finite resource that is needed by more people than ever before in human history. The two largest nations in the world (India and China) are now becoming oil-economies and there simply isn't enough supply to keep prices low with those two giant countries purchasing on the open market as well as the United States and the 1st world nations.

It is inevitable, at this point, that the U.S. will have to move away from a fossil-fuel based economy. Market considerations will eventually dictate this move, as consumers (hurt in the wallet by pump prices) demand cheaper ways to get around than $50-$60 fillups. The only real question now is how much we are willing to allow our current dependency on oil to strangle our economy as prices on EVERYTHING go up without corresponding adjustments to salaries to compensate for the loss?

Rojo
08-21-2005, 01:18 AM
Maybe the Democrats should just open up ANWAR, take away the Republicans canned response. "OK, prices have dropped 2 cents a gallon, now what geniuses."

George Foster
08-22-2005, 11:51 PM
Maybe the Democrats should just open up ANWAR, take away the Republicans canned response. "OK, prices have dropped 2 cents a gallon, now what geniuses."

Bush has about a much control over the oil prices as he does over milk prices. It is a free market.

If Washington said tomorrow, " OK we just passed a law and by 2008 all cars made or imported into the US will be Hygrogen powered", our economy would crumble over night. OPEC would see that it only had 2 1/2 years to make money off of us and gas would go up to $10-$12 a gallon. It is a no win situation. Darned if we do darned if we don't. I have no answers except finding more of our own oil, but no one will vote for it, because they will be voted out of office. There is a ton of oil in the gulf of Mexico, but the oil rigs will "screw up" the view of their million dollar homes on the beach.

Rojo
08-23-2005, 03:14 AM
OPEC would see that it only had 2 1/2 years to make money off of us and gas would go up to $10-$12 a gallon.

Like nobody would try to undercut OPEC's price. It is a free market.

Show of hands, who here is willing to take a chance on our
economy "crumbling overnight" because we instantly cut our dependence on foreign oil.

RBA
08-23-2005, 06:26 AM
If we went to Hydrogen in 2 1/2 years, the gasoline powered vehicle would not go away over night, it would take at least 10 years to get the majority off the road and 10 more after that to get 95 percent off the road, so we are talking at least 20 years.

zombie-a-go-go
08-23-2005, 06:26 AM
Like nobody would try to undercut OPEC's price. It is a free market.

Show of hands, who here is willing to take a chance on our
economy "crumbling overnight" because we instantly cut our dependence on foreign oil.

Pick me, teach.

Caveat Emperor
08-23-2005, 07:31 AM
Pick me, teach.

You're spared the wrath of a rant because I happen to think Maxwell Smart is America's finest hero. :beerme:

RBA
08-23-2005, 07:37 AM
You're spared the wrath of a rant because I happen to think Maxwell Smart is America's finest hero. :beerme:

A new Get Smart movie is in the works for 2006. The actor from The 40 year old Virgin is playing the part.

Dan
08-23-2005, 08:42 AM
If we went to Hydrogen in 2 1/2 years, the gasoline powered vehicle would not go away over night, it would take at least 10 years to get the majority off the road and 10 more after that to get 95 percent off the road, so we are talking at least 20 years.

So what you're saying is if we'd heeded calls from those horrible, environmentally conscious, panty-waisted, communistic liberals for development of non-fossil fuel alternatives 25 years ago we wouldn't be facing this crisis now?

fielder's choice
08-24-2005, 08:50 AM
Why not drill our own oil until other cars are made better, and we don't need gas anymore?

registerthis
08-24-2005, 10:06 AM
Why not drill our own oil until other cars are made better, and we don't need gas anymore?Because we couldn't produce nearly enough to meet our demand.

As to the Dems attacking the Republicans over fuel prices...hey, we all share the blame on this. Where, I ask, were the tremendous advances during the CLinton administration to ween us off of Middle East oil? The entire government, and both sides of the political spectrum, deserve equal blame for our current condition. It was foolish of Bush to imply that his woeful energy policy would affect fuel prices, but it's equally foolish to believe that anything Bush has done has had a direct causal effect on fuel prices. This problem is greater than anything one man--or one party--has done. Someone needs to step forward and propose solutions to this problem, political bantering ain't gonna get it done.

Rojo
08-24-2005, 12:19 PM
Where, I ask, were the tremendous advances during the CLinton administration to ween us off of Middle East oil? The entire government, and both sides of the political spectrum, deserve equal blame for our current condition.

You're absolutely right, most of these SUVs hit the roads in the Clinton years. But, Jimmy Carter taught us that don't ask the American people to sacrifice. They whine like babies and vote for the "optimistic" candidate.