Rising Gas Prices Prompt Calls For Release of Oil From SPR
Rising gas prices are back in the news again. Oil has gone back above $100 a barrel, and gasoline prices are about to push through the $4 a gallon price. This has led to President Obama sparring with Republican Congressional leaders and his potential opponents. It has also led to Congressional Democrats asking for a release of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) in an effort to dodge this issue any way they can. Fellow columnist, Robert Rapier, has often criticized the usage of the SPR as a political tool in an effort to lower gas prices.
Don’t count me as one who thinks that, if only we allowed drilling anywhere, we would suddenly have $2.00/gallon gas. I sat through Newt’s 30 minute speech on energy policy, and it drives me crazy that people actually expect that simply pushing more domestic drilling will fix the problem. I went on the record as supporting Jon Huntsman’s energy policy because it lived in the real world and acknowledged that there were no quick fixes.
Oil prices are a factor of global supply and demand, both currently, and in the future. Prices are being pushed up by increased demand for oil from developing countries, combined with prospects of renewed conflict in the Persian Gulf. I would suggest reading Dr. James Hamilton’s Econbrowser “Crude Oil and Gasoline Prices: Betting on Iranian Tensions” post about what’s driving prices.
I’m excited to join the team here at Consumer Energy Report. This is an excellent website that should be a resource for everyone working in the energy industry or on energy policy. I’m especially excited to join Robert Rapier as a blogger on this page. In only 2 years here (although he’s been blogging for longer than that), he’s made a real name for himself.
I thought it would be a worthwhile exercise for my first blog post to be about how I think about energy. My views about energy come from a very different place than Robert’s – and I suspect many of you readers. By academic training, I am an economist. I graduated with an MSc. in International Economics in 2005. I didn’t even study energy economics: my focus was on trade policy and negotiating strategy in the World Trade Organization. Since then, I’ve worked in Washington on policy issues, first in the Senate as a Legislative Assistant to Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, then as a think-tanker. I came to energy issues in Senator Hagel’s office, and many of my views come from my time there. Working as a Senate staffer is the best education you can get: the smartest people in the world are eager to brief you on the topic of your choice. Since Senator Hagel retired, I’ve been working on policy issues for a couple of think tanks around town, and I’m currently working as the Senior Fellow for Energy and Climate policy at the American Security Project.
Energy Security, Economic and Environmental Stability
Each aspect of my experience informs my views on Energy, Security, and Policy.
I’d originally thought about going through all my views on energy in this first post, but I think I’ll skip that for now. Future posts will focus on the pluses and minuses of different sources of energy. Plus, I’ve written that report: I’d recommend those with the time to browse through the report “America’s Energy Choices” that I wrote for ASP last year (Edit: For those having trouble downloading the report from the above link — it can also be viewed on Scribd). I will only say that every choice we – as a community, a country, or the world – make about energy, we must weigh three qualities: (1) energy security, (2) economic stability, and (3) environmental sustainability. These characteristics are sometimes contradictory, and they are not always self-explanatory, but for the sake of space on this first post, I’ll save a detailed explanation of them for future posts.