API chief economist John Felmy told reporters during a Friday
press conference that while US energy costs are down, more
can be done from the nation to help its consumers.
His remarks were as follows:
The recent surge in domestic energy production on state
and private lands―brought about by hydraulic fracturing
and horizontal drilling―has helped put downward
pressure on prices for gasoline, diesel and natural gas
. But production on
federal lands―where the administration has
control―has fallen dramatically," said Felmy.
US Gasoline prices are $3.22/gal today as we approach
the Thanksgiving week, according to AAA. After falling for
much of the summer and fall, prices have recently been pushed
up by increases in world crude oil prices and rising US
However, the US Energy Information
Administrations latest driving season forecast project
s that gasoline and diesel
prices will hold steady through at least the first half of
2014 (STEO, November 13, 2013).
US refineries continue to produce record amounts of
gasoline. In fact, APIs monthly petroleum statistics,
being released today, show that refineries produced a record
amount of gasoline and distillate year to date.
With the right government policies that open up federal
lands and waters for responsible development while speeding
up the permitting process, we can do more to help consumers.
Increasing oil production would add supplies that could help
put additional downward pressure on gasoline prices. And it
would mean more jobs and more revenue to our government to
help pay for education and hospitals.
We also have concerns that government regulations
threaten to increase costs. One major concern is ever
increasing biofuel mandates under the Renewable Fuel
Standard. These mandates could drive up gasoline costs by 30%
and the cost of diesel by 300% by 2015, according to a study
by NERA. EPAs recent proposal to trim next years
mandate is a welcome stopgap, but ultimately Congress must
repeal these ever increasing biofuels mandates to protect
consumers in the long run.
Also, duplicative new federal regulations being
considered for natural gas
fracturing could jeopardize the shale energy revolution.
States are already regulating effectively; adding another
layer of regulation is unnecessary and counterproductive. .
The good news is that energy costs are for the most
part down. But there are specific policy changes the
administration and Congress should make to help put downward
pressure on prices. There are also small changes consumers
can make that will save them over the course of a year.