Americans hitting the road this week are likely to encounter the highest-ever price for gas at Christmas in history. According to figures from AAA, the nationwide average for regular unleaded is $3.21 per gallon — an increase of 23 cents over last year’s Christmas record.
This marks the second straight year Americans are paying more at the pump during the holidays. The price in 2009 was around $2.60 per gallon and jumped to about $3 per gallon at Christmas last year.
These higher prices aren’t grabbing headlines as they once did, but that doesn’t mean Washington should ignore the issue.
As part of its North American Energy Inventory report, the Institute for Energy Research recently outlined steps that policymakers could take to reverse America’s decline in energy production.
Among the ideas:
- Removing barriers to drilling. Less than 6 percent of federal lands and 2 percent offshore are open to exploration, limiting the potential of Americans to produce energy here at home.
- Developing shale resources. America has the world’s largest supply of shale resources — the oil and gas found in rock formations underground.
- Stopping excessive regulation. The government has slowed down and even halted offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, which supplies 30 percent of domestic oil production.
There’s also the added benefit of more revenue for the federal government with increased energy production, a point Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) stressed on last week’s Scribecast.
Heritage’s Nick Loris recently commented: “Allowing access for exploration and creating an efficient regulatory process that allows energy projects to move forward in a timely manner will not only increase revenue through more royalties, leases, and rent; it will also create jobs and help lower energy prices in the process.”