Realistic Energy Policy Long Overdue

Gasoline prices are climbing steadily, with $3.50 a gallon predicted within months and even higher levels – perhaps $5 by 2012 – on the horizon. President Barack Obama’s reaction has been tardy. Congress should not be as slow to take action protecting Americans.

If fuel prices skyrocket to levels predicted by many analysts, the economic recovery will come to a screeching halt. Yet, again, Obama seems more interested in spending taxpayers’ money on unrealistic energy options than on helping Americans deal with the reality of reliance on oil.

It was just on Monday that the administration announced it was lifting a moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. It was put in place in May, after the massive oil spill from a British Petroleum rig in the Gulf.

Clearly, the White House should have lifted the ban sooner to provide indications to investors that more oil will be flowing from the Gulf. Lack of that potential supply affected speculators who hope to profit by an imbalance of supply vs. demand for gasoline.

Congress has delayed establishing a realistic, helpful energy policy for years. In fact, by working with Obama on incentives for “alternative energy,” and penalities for use of abundant fuels such as coal, it has been counterproductive. That needs to change – and the sooner, the better.

Speculators already are driving up the price of oil. Unless they are given some reason to believe supply will increase, the speculators will continue doing that.