Blaine's Bulletin: Attacking Record-High Gas Prices

Just about everything costs more nowadays. Each dollar in your pocket gets you less than last year, and gas prices in particular seem to rise with every trip to the pump. This week, AAA released data signaling the average cost for a gallon of gasoline in the United States has reached the highest summertime levels in over a decade.

Still, the price to fill up your vehicle varies from state to state. At just under $3.50 per gallon, Missouri has more affordable fuel than most of the country. Motorists in California pay around $5.35 per gallon.

While even $3.50 certainly leaves a sting, it’s no accident Missouri has managed to curtail gas prices. Along with our neighbors to the south, Missouri represents the benefits of American energy independence. Nearby refineries in Oklahoma and Texas can affordably transport fuel around the U.S. while lessening our dependence on foreign oil.

Though not an oil-producing state, Missouri contributes to the cause with 300 million gallons of ethanol from a robust corn crop. American farmers send approximately 40% of their corn to become ethanol.

Just like skipping the café and brewing your own morning coffee, homegrown fuel is an affordable means of meeting our nation’s demands. It’s also safer. Giving foreign entities control over such a critical product breeds national security concerns and impacts our global relationships.

The House of Representatives has produced three bills to address this crisis, provide American families with relief and secure our energy independence. Unfortunately, the Senate has so far refused to take them into consideration.

First, the Lower Energy Costs Act would cut away red tape and allow for more practical production and permitting of critical minerals. The United States is blessed with plentiful resources, including oil from Alaska and the Gulf, natural gas, coal, nuclear power, and alternative sources such as wind, solar, geothermal, and hydropower. We should utilize all these domestic fuels rather than outsourcing the work and profits overseas.

Second, the Strategic Production Response Act would prevent depleting the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), the world's largest supply of emergency crude oil, without increasing federal lands for energy production. The use of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is supposed to be, well, strategic. That has not been the case over the last couple years. The Administration has used reserves with the hope of offsetting its own terrible energy policy. The result has been high energy prices, low production levels of American energy, and a depleted reserve that we could need in the case of a future emergency. We must put sensible projects in motion now to prevent handing our children and grandchildren an otherwise preventable energy crisis, and this bill would certainly help that cause.

Finally, the Protecting America’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve from China Act is an important measure for our national security and economic stability. It would bar the Secretary of Energy from selling from the SPR to entities owned, controlled, or loyal to the Chinese Communist Party. The CCP’s aggression toward the rest of the world and financial support for Vladimir Putin has proven the Chinese government to be undeserving of our cooperation, and they should absolutely not benefit from our strategic reserves.  

Crisscrossing Missouri’s Third District over the past month, I’ve heard from countless concerned constituents about unacceptable inflation and month-to-month uncertainty. Gas prices are one of many issues plaguing our communities and businesses, and I am committed to finding solutions.

As I return to Washington next week to resume session, I urge you to reach out with your thoughts, needs and stories. While at work on Capitol Hill, I rely on you for updates on life back home.