Memorial Day is over and the start of summer is fast upon us. Many families will be headed out onto the roads this summer to visit Grandma, try the rides in amusement parks, roast marshmallows on a camping trip, and search for seashells on the beach.
Unfortunately, like prior years, American families will also face rising gas prices throughout the summer.
The American Automobile Association (AAA) predicted that a record number of Americans, approximately 36.1 million, would hit the roads over Memorial Day after a long, harsh winter. For the past several Memorial Days, gas prices have been averaging $3.64 gallon, which seemingly did not affect the long holiday weekend travel.
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Yet every July, as I am filling up the gas tank, a question always comes to mind: “Why do we let these countries hold us over a barrel – literally – when it comes to our gas prices?”
Every summer, gas prices increase and American families and consumers complain, but we arrive at the same result. We are being held hostage by these prices as if there are no alternatives. But there are.
Energy independence is often discussed, but rarely put at the top of our national agenda, thus always putting us at the mercy of worldwide events.
[sharequote align="center"]We are being held hostage by these prices as if there are no alternatives. But there are.[/sharequote]
Notwithstanding a global conflict, which can erupt any minute, the relative steady gasoline prices have been attributed to steady crude oil prices. Sometimes considered the world’s third largest oil exporter, Iran’s output has been significantly reduced through sanctions. Libya is still experiencing turmoil, and recent events in the Ukraine demonstrate Russia’s oil leverage, as evidenced by the silence from our European allies.
The truth is that alternatives do exist which can put America on the path to energy independence. While this administration’s success with renewable energy is sketchy and mired in corporate cronyism, fracking has emerged as a viable option for strengthening our energy security.
The Hollywood film industry and activist groups continue to paint fracking as an environmental disaster, but filmmaker Ann McElhinney, in the documentary FrackNation corrects the leftist narrative and reveals the truth about fracking for natural gas as a way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.
Large hoses go from one hydraulic fracturing drill site to another as horses graze in the field Sept. 24, 2013, in Midland, Texas. The drilling method known as fracking uses huge amounts of high-pressure, chemical-laced water to free oil and natural gas trapped deep in underground rocks. With fresh water not as plentiful companies have been looking for ways to recycle their waste. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)
The success of fracking can be seen in Wyoming, Colorado, and North Dakota, the latter of which boasts an unemployment rate of 2.6 percent, while our national average hovers at around 6.3 percent. Many argue that fracking has the potential to be the center point of a national energy plan which can create economic growth, reduce unemployment, provide much needed government revenue and lower gasoline prices for families and consumers.
This summer, I wonder if Americans will get tired of feeling the “pain at the pump” which is sure to come just as their high school children spend more and more time at home because summer jobs are being filled by college graduates; or as their recent college or master graduates return to the home basement because they cannot find gainful employment.
It is hard to examine U.S. economic policy without considering our place in the world. If we want to continue down the path of energy independence, we need to take advantage of fracking technology and leverage resources in the rest of North America, namely Canada and Mexico. Ensuring our own energy security helps us mitigate the dynamics in the Middle East and worldwide.
Lacrosse Mom.Lawyer. Former Senior Counsel on U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Follow me on Twitter @HarleyLeBon
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