Washington, DC—After years of Republican hand outs to Big Oil, gas prices around the country have skyrocketed, punishing Americans just for filling their gas tanks. For years, Democratic efforts to rein in oil company greed have been opposed by Republicans, but the rising cost of gas has made that obstruction unacceptable.
Today, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Assistant Democratic Leader Dick Durbin sent the following letter to President Bush, urging him to help ease the pain Americans are experiencing at the gas station by putting aside the energy policies he allowed oil companies to write and joining Democrats in their continuing efforts to stop price gouging, rein in gratuitous subsidies to Big Oil, and make America energy independent.
April 25, 2006
The White House
Dear Mr. President –
We are writing to express our continuing and extreme concern about gasoline, diesel and energy prices that are skyrocketing yet again. Consumers are paying more than $3.00 per gallon of gasoline, a 100% increase since 2001; there are rumored to be gasoline shortages in some areas on the East Coast due to poor oil company planning; and oil futures prices for June delivery have reached $75 a barrel. Diesel fuel has also more than doubled in price in the same time period, severely hampering the farm economy and the transportation industry.
The current national energy policy is clearly not working for all Americans, especially those who can least afford it. They are suffering while the oil companies are reporting record-breaking profits and multi-million dollar retirement packages. We need to provide Americans with relief from these high prices as soon as possible. And we need to swiftly transform the country’s energy policy so it delivers affordable, clean and reliable transportation fuels that ensure strong economic growth and stability very soon, not in 30 years. Continuing to leave our nation’s economy and national security entirely at the mercy of the OPEC-controlled petroleum markets is disastrous.
Therefore, we urge you to 1) support relief for American consumers as rapidly as possible; 2) support swift enactment of a new Federal anti-price gouging and anti-market manipulation law, such as S.1735, the Energy Emergency Consumer Protection Act of 2005; 3) call on the major oil companies to exercise good corporate citizenship and refrain from additional price increases; 4) urge the major oil companies to divert some of their enormous profits to pay for installing E85, biodiesel or other alternative fuel pumps at a significant percentage of stations by the Fourth of July; 5) support passage of legislation to expedite market penetration of flex-fuel vehicles and alternative fuels, such as S. 1994, Fuel Security and Consumer Choice Act; 6) direct and support full-funding for Federal agencies to comply now with the energy efficiency, renewable energy, and alternative fuel vehicle procurement requirements in the Energy Policy Acts of 1992 and 2005, as well as the various relevant Executive Orders; and, 7) redouble Administration efforts to stabilize world energy markets and prices rather than exacerbating global tensions.
If the oil companies are reluctant to take the steps outlined herein, we ask you to join with us to pass legislation to eliminate the tax incentives or benefits now enjoyed by the major oil companies and use that money to provide consumer price relief and invest in a real energy independence strategy that works for all Americans. We reiterate our invitation of April 6 for you to join with us in co-hosting a bipartisan national energy summit with representation by all facets of American life, in an open and transparent public forum.
We need swift action and real leadership to address this situation. Thank you for your attention to our concerns.