Gas prices require better solutions

As Americans face the stark reality of skyrocketing energy costs, we must look for long-term solutions rather than short-term fixes that exacerbate the problem.

Recently, our Sens. Dole and Burr both supported the new Gas Price Reduction Act of 2008, which proposes to lower gas prices by increasing off-shore oil drilling and enabling fuel production from oil shale on federal properties in the West.

Instead of feeding our insatiable addiction to dirty, finite fossil fuels, Congress should prioritize conservation and efficiency measures while sustainable, renewable sources are developed.

Even if offshore oil drilling was not a slow, dirty and expensive process, the Energy Information Administration states that America’s offshore oil resources would not significantly impact oil production until 2030, having only a minimal impact on prices. What about the near-term impacts that offshore oil drilling would have on our beaches and the businesses that rely on visitors to them? 

Better solutions to high gas prices are: increased fuel economy in our vehicles; increased production of biofuels such as cellulosic ethanol; and increased access to mass transit. All would reduce our dependence on oil—foreign and domestic. 

At a time when Congress is finally considering policies to reduce our nation’s global-warming pollution, short-term fixes like this one are costly steps in the wrong direction.

— Jennifer S. Rennicks
Federal Policy Director
Southern Alliance for Clean Energy
Asheville

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