As summer kicks off, Americans have a lot of reasons for hope. With the worst of the coronavirus pandemic in the rearview mirror, people can finally leave their houses and catch up with friends and loved ones we have been separated from for so long.
Unfortunately, with gas prices at their highest point since 2014, it is costing everyone a lot more to get there. Concerning statistics released by the Department of Labor show the red warning lights of inflation are blinking brightly. Gasoline prices have surged 56.2 percent over the past year, with the energy index overall is up 28.5 percent compared with May 2020.
Soaring fuel costs hurt everyone, but especially those in lower income brackets who rely on their gas-powered vehicles to get to work. Many in the working-class cannot afford newer and more efficient vehicles or shell out the extra dollars it requires to fill up at the pump.
Yet, even against this backdrop, some are pushing policies that would drive costs even higher. Recently an op-ed in the Boston Globe called for the Biden administration to punish private energy companies for doing their job and providing a resource that runs our entire economy.
Their motivation is almost always grounded around the imminent threat of climate change – something President Biden labelled the "greatest threat" to our security during his trip to the United Kingdom.
But a call to weaponize government to punish private citizens is not a solution; it is a worrying trend that should concern everyone equally.
As a New Hampshire resident, avid triathlete, and brand-new grandfather, I want a clean planet just as much as the next person. I love swimming in our lakes and running on our coastlines.
During my recent stint as the ambassador to New Zealand, I lived in a country with some of the most breathtaking natural beauty in the world.
But I have also seen the consequences of the other side of this debate. As a remote island in the Indo Pacific, New Zealand is heavily reliant on foreign nations for their oil. They import almost half of their oil supply, the majority coming from the Middle East, a number poised to head even higher after the last remaining offshore exploration permit was surrendered earlier this year.
This means the incessant turmoil in the Persian Gulf intimately impacts the lives of every day New Zealanders.
Meanwhile, a gallon of gas costs Kiwis more than six dollars, almost double the American average.
All the while, our geopolitical competitors are taking steps to increase their energy output. China continues building three times as many coal-fired plants as the rest of the world combined. Russia, with aid from the Biden administration, is moving forward with its Nord Stream 2 pipeline to export fuel to Western Europe.
On the domestic pipeline front, it’s a much different story. President Biden followed through on his ill-advised pledge to halt the Keystone XL project, costing good-paying jobs and alienating our ally Canada in the process. Environmental groups cheered and encouraged him to go even further. Outside special interest groups target private companies in our energy sector, demonizing the industry that allows us to enjoy a quality of life which is the envy of the world.
I have always supported the renewable energy industry as part of an all-inclusive approach toward energy independence and the desire to find fuel that has the smallest carbon footprint. Punishing ourselves now by making energy expensive does not hasten the arrival of this new technology. America has never advanced by attacking an industry or by government choosing winners and losers.
The future is not ushered in quickly by attacking the present. In this sense, the Biden administration is short sighted. Yes, let us always be open-minded to new and different technologies, but attacking private entities during this pivotal moment in our post-pandemic recovery, especially the energy industry that powers our entire economy and military, is not the right answer.