Senate Democrats

Reid Calls on Bush to Find Real Solutions to America’s Energy Crisis

With oil prices approaching record highs and gas prices continuing to hover around record levels, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) released the following statement today on the president’s energy plan:

“It’s as if the president doesn’t understand the problem. Families are paying record prices for energy, and our country’s dependence on foreign oil continues to grow. Yet the President has an energy plan that does nothing to relieve the strain on America’s families or move us closer to energy independence.

“We need to find real solutions to America’s energy crisis, not continue more of the same mismanagement of the nation’s energy supplies. We cannot drill our way out of this problem. It will take real American know-how to break our reliance on foreign oil. It is in our economic interest, our security interest and our national interest to recognize the challenges before us and work together on this goal.”

RECORD HIGH ENERGY PRICES HURT CONSUMERS AND THE ECONOMY:

For the Fourth Week in a Row, Gas Prices Last Week Set a New All-Time High. On April 11, 2005, the average consumer paid $2.28 for a gallon of gasoline. This represents a 56 percent increase in the price of gasoline since 2001. (Based on EIA’s Monthly Energy Review March 2005, p. 126, and This Week in Petroleum for April 11, 2005)

Families With Teenagers Are Paying $1,215 More Per Year on Gas Since Bush Took Office. With the increase in gas prices, families are paying on average $1,215 more per year on gasoline than they did when Bush took office. They will pay $3,336 this year on gasoline. [Department of Energy, Household Vehicles Energy Consumption 1994, Table 5.2, August 1997; AAA FuelGaugeReport, 4/19/05]

Farmers Will Spend $3.8 Billion More For Fuel This Year. Farmers in America are paying as much as $3.8 billion more in annual fuel costs now than they were when Bush took office. This year farmers will spend $9.4 billion on fuel alone. This includes the increased price of both gasoline and diesel for agricultural needs. [EIA price data, 4/19/05; Off-Highway Transportation Related Fuel Use, April 2004, Stacy C. Davis and Lorena Truett]

The $0.63 per Gallon Increase in Jet Fuel Since 2001 Could Cost the Struggling Airline Industry $11.3 Billion More This Year. Jet fuel is the second largest cost for the airline industry and every penny increase in fuel prices costs the industry $180 million year. Jet fuel prices are $0.63/gallon higher than when Bush took office – potentially costing the industry $27 billion this year. [Air Transportation Association, Q&A on the Impact of Rising Fuel Prices, 5/14/04; EIA, Historical Spot Prices of Jet Fuel, New York, NY]

The $0.82 per Gallon Increase in Diesel Since 2001 Could Cost the Trucking Industry $24.6 Billion. According to the American Trucking Association, the industry uses 30 billion gallons of diesel per year and one penny increase in diesel prices adds $300 million per year to industry costs. The $0.82 per gallon rise in the price of diesel fuel will cost the trucking industry an additional $24.6 billion. Many truckers are owner/operators who pay this cost out of their own pockets. [Letter from ATA CEO Bill Graves to Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, 3/9/04; EIA, Weekly On-Highway Diesel Prices, Historical Data]

BUSH’S FAILED LEADERSHIP ON ENERGY:

Oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). The SPR is already 98 percent full. With consumer paying record gas prices, the Bush Administration has continued to adhere to its policy of taking oil off the market and placing it in the SPR. The Administration should defer deliveries to the SPR until oil markets stabilize and gasoline prices decline. [Department of Energy, Office of Fossil Energy]

The White House Promised Their Energy Plan – Developed in Secret – Would Reduce Pump Prices Yet Their Own Administration Said It Would Have Negligible Impact. “Question: How will it lead to lower prices at the gas pump now? THE PRESIDENT: Because we recognize that we need more supply. And when you read the report, you’ll see that we’ve laid out constructive ways to make sure that there are more supply available.” But, the Bush Administration’s own Energy Information Administration found that the effect of the bill would be “negligible” with respect to production, consumption, imports, and energy prices. [Remarks by the President on National Energy Policy, 5/16/01; EIA, “Summary Impacts of Modeled Provisions of the 2003 Conference Energy Bill” 2/04]

BUSH’S ONLY ENERGY POLICY CREATES MORE DEPENDENCE AND PROFITS FOR BIG OIL:

Record Profits for Big Oil Companies While Consumers Are Gouged at the Pump: The higher overall gasoline prices have cost the American consumer a net of over $25 billion since George Bush took office. This money has gone directly from consumers pocketbooks into the hands of oil companies and oil producers, including OPEC. Oil companies reported record profits in the fourth quarter of 2004: ExxonMobil up 218%, ConocoPhillips up 145%, Shell up 51%, ChevronTexaco up 39% and BP up 35%. [Based on EIA Monthly Energy Review; company financial reports]

America Has Become More Dependent on Foreign Oil. Over the past four years, America has become increasingly dependent on foreign oil. In 2000, 58.2 percent of the oil consumed in the United States was imported. That has increased to 61.7 percent today. [EIA, “Overview of US Petroleum Trade”]

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