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Energy Tomorrow Blog

Energy Policies and Potential Impacts on Household Budgets

consumers  consumer products  affordable energy  policy  white house 

Dean Foreman

Dean Foreman
Posted February 16, 2021

Most people get riled up when energy costs rise, especially prices at the pump. It’s understandable; energy represented 6.5% of household expenditures in 2019, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey. Yet, as we’ll see, energy policy choices can affect far more than just what you pay for a gallon of gasoline or your monthly electricity bill.

For example, imagine how you would feel if you learned that U.S. energy policies materially raised the cost of houses and vehicles, in addition to the fuel they require, the costs of which have been on the rise. Those two together plus energy represent more than half of a typical household’s expenditures.

Higher energy costs are a distinct possibility with the Biden administration’s decision to halt new federal natural gas and oil leasing, potentially reducing domestic production, as well as possible moves on the regulatory front and other actions that could limit drilling or hydraulic fracturing. These could put upward pressure on energy costs that then would ripple across various sectors since virtually everything has an energy component.

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Consumer Choice Takes a Back Seat in Federal Push for Electric Vehicles

electric vehicles  consumers  white house  federal government 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted February 2, 2021

Tucked in one of the Biden administration’s executive orders on climate is a directive to use the federal government’s procurement powers to achieve or facilitate “clean and zero-emission vehicles for Federal, State, local, and Tribal government fleets, including vehicles of the United States Postal Service.” The order also requires that fleet electrification fit with the administration’s support for union jobs and conforms to its “Made in America” principles.

Read below for a look at the facts on challenges linked to the size and scope of the directive, as well as concern that U.S. consumers and taxpayers should have over issues including the ownership costs of zero-emission vehicles (ZEV), battery disposal, infrastructure costs and the potential for increased reliance on automotive components made by non-U.S. based workers.

First, we’ll focus on a fundamental concern, which is the government, in a market-based economy, taking policy actions to push the market and consumers toward a specific policy outcome. Basically, it’s the government picking winners and losers for consumers.

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Progress or Retreat

president  white house  oil imports  federal leases 

API CEO Mike Sommers

Mike Sommers
Posted January 28, 2021

Remarks at the United States Energy Association’s 17th annual State of the Energy Industry Forum:

A month into 2021, a divided America faces more challenges than anytime in modern history. But after a year of crisis, everyone can agree on something – we are ready for recovery.

So, we at API were encouraged to hear President Biden’s Inauguration Day call for unity. Even better, he issued that call at a time when Democrats and Republicans alike can rally around U.S. energy leadership. After all, the new president assumes power when America leads the world both in energy production and environmental performance. ...

Poised to build on this energy progress, API congratulated President Biden. Moments after he took the Oath of Office, we pledged to work with his administration when we can and oppose when we must. So, only eight days into his term, it is disappointing to report that we find ourselves in a posture of strong opposition. But we have no choice.

President Biden’s energy policy actions have completely undercut his message of unity and his mandate for economic recovery. Today I’m going to illustrate why. 

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Administration’s Leasing Approach is a ‘Step Backwards’ on U.S. Energy

us energy security  federal leases  white house  policy 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 27, 2021

As the Biden administration takes the first step toward a complete ban on federal natural gas and oil development – including the offshore that accounted for more than one-fifth of U.S. oil production in 2019 – turning America’s energy strength into weakness by launching a new era of increased dependence on foreign oil, let’s see how out of step the approach is with the American people.

From polling of voters last summer in key battleground and other states:  93% said it’s important the U.S. produce enough energy to avoid being reliant on foreign oil; 90% said it’s important to create access to domestic energy; 69% said safe domestic natural gas and oil production makes the U.S. less reliant on foreign energy and has increased U.S. security. (Just 16% disagreed.)

All three viewpoints sharply contrast with where the Biden administration appears to be going with its announced halt on natural gas and oil leasing on federal lands and waters – which many believe will become a full ban on federal development.

Put simply, the White House is advancing an import-more-oil policy – one that would discard the hard-earned security, economic and environmental gains from a decade and a half of domestic energy resurgence. 

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Early Missteps on Energy are Blows to Economy, Security

white house  keystone xl pipeline  federal leases  economic growth  jobs  us energy security 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted January 25, 2021

It’s unfortunate that the Biden administration’s first couple of energy decisions – effectively canceling the Keystone XL pipeline and signaling it will halt new federal natural gas and oil leasing – work against economic growth and could undermine the nation’s energy security.

With the U.S. economy struggling to recover from the pandemic, there could hardly be a worse time for actions that kill jobs, potentially increase energy costs and cause the U.S. to import more oil.

Sure, the president promised these things during the campaign. Yet, it’s disappointing nonetheless that thousands of U.S. workers associated with building the Keystone XL are now without jobs and that a federal leasing ban could start a new era of increasing U.S. energy dependence. Coincidentally, the administration just unveiled its “Buy American” initiative. What about energy? How about “Buy American Energy”?

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Ethanol and Honey Bees 2.0

renewable fuel standard  rfs34  white house  ethanol  blend wall 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted December 28, 2015

The White House has honey bees – an estimated 70,000 of them that call a hive near the South Lawn home. Yet, nationwide bees are struggling. Researchers have warned of declining numbers of bees and other “pollinators” – to the point that last year the White House set up a task force to develop a bee strategy to help reverse the trend. From the White House blog:

Increasing the quantity and quality of habitat for pollinators is a major part of this effort—with actions ranging from the construction of pollinator gardens at Federal buildings to the restoration of millions of acres of Federally managed lands and similar actions on private lands. To support these habitat-focused efforts, USDA and the Department of Interior are today issuing a set of Pollinator-Friendly Best Management Practices for Federal Lands, providing  practical guidance for planners and managers with land stewardship responsibilities.

We acknowledged the bee situation in a post nearly a year ago, noting that the large-scale conversion of grasslands to grow crops for a number of uses was crowding out bees, butterflies and others – including increasing acreage being devoted to ethanol production. Now a new, comprehensive study by University of Vermont researchers underscores the point – that U.S. wild bees are disappearing in many of the country’s most important farmlands and that increased demand for corn to use in biofuel production is a significant part of the problem.

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Time to Get Policy Right on Oil Exports

crude oil exports  congress  economic growth  oil production  white house 

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted December 15, 2015

That Congress soon may act to end the United States’ 40-year-old ban on domestic crude oil exports is signaled in the number of reports and posts on exports-related themes.

The Wall Street Journal has a report that talk of lifting the export ban is narrowing the difference between U.S. and global crude prices. The Council on Foreign Relations’ Michael Levi has this post discussing the impact of an exports deal on markets, the recent climate deal and geopolitics. National Journal reports on the legislative horse-trading some think could be part of lifting the exports ban. And there’s more.

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White House Politics Versus The American People

crude oil exports  economic growth  jobs  white house  ghg mitigation technologies  oil and natural gas development 

Kyle Isakower

Kyle Isakower
Posted October 8, 2015

These things are true:

  • The U.S. gets the majority of its energy from oil and natural gas, and is projected to continue to do so for decades.
  • Since 2005 U.S. production of natural gas is up 43 percent.
  • Since 2008 U.S. production of crude oil is up 88 percent.
  • U.S. air quality continues to improve, with concentrations of carbon monoxide down 60 percent, ozone down 18 percent, lead 87 percent, nitrogen dioxide 43 percent, particulate matter 35 percent and sulfur dioxide 62 percent since 2000.
  • The federal U.S. budget deficit for FY2015 was $435 billion.
  • The U.S. trade deficit rose in August as exports hit a three-year low.
  • Since 2008 our working age population has grown by over 16 million, while employment is up 8.5 million, leaving the U.S. at odds with trends in other countries.
  • U.S. poverty and wages are stagnant, and it is getting harder for people to move beyond a minimum-wage job.
  • Americans' trust in the federal government's ability to handle domestic problems has reached a new low.

These things are true, and thus, when presented with bipartisan legislation to reduce consumer fuel costs and the trade deficit while increasing U.S. investment, domestic crude oil production, GDP and government revenues and creating good paying jobs – all via U.S. crude oil exports – the White House obviously had no choice but to … threaten to veto it.


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A Policy of Unemployment?

domestic energy  energy policy  obama administration  over regulation  taxes  white house jobs summit 

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted January 13, 2010

Considering unemployment is at its highest level in almost 30 years, "you'd think the Obama administration would do everything possible to save existing jobs and create new ones," says op-ed author Jim Constantopoulos, a professor of Geology at Eastern New Mexico University in his recent Sun-News op-ed

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