Morning Bell: Obama, Not Egypt, is Biggest Threat to U.S. Energy Prices

Conn Carroll /

Last Friday on a conference call with reporters about the Obama Administration’s long-term energy proposals, Energy Secretary Steven Chu responded to a question about the situation in Egypt, saying: “Certainly any disruption in the Middle East means a partial disruption in the oil we import. It’s a world market and [a disruption] could actually have real harm of the price. The best way America can protect itself against these incidents is to decrease our dependency on foreign oil, in fact to diversify our supply.” This is a nice sentiment. Unfortunately, everything the Obama Administration is doing is only increasing our dependence on foreign sources of oil.

Secretary Chu is right: Oil does sell on a world market. But transportation and other distribution factors do segment oil markets somewhat. In fact, the United States is currently paying about $10 less for a barrel of oil than European and Asian nations are. Why? Because of U.S. access to oil refined from Canadian oil sands. Access to these vast natural resources is a great diversification of our oil supply. But now the Obama Administration is trying to make it harder for American consumers to get Canadian oil. The Obama Environmental Protection Agency is stonewalling approval for the Keystone pipeline, which would increase the amount of oil the U.S. receives from Canada by over a million barrels per day. And that is not the only oil the Obama Administration is trying to keep out of American consumers’ hands. (more…)