House Natural Resources Committee Convenes to Talk Gas Prices

[Keep Following this feed over here at House Natural Resources Committee Talks Gas Prices, Part II]

10:46 Harbert and the Chamber seem uninterested in fuel-efficiency, which would save businesses a lot of money.

10:45 Better than releasing oil from the strategic petroleum reserve would be the ability to save oil in a hurry. Consumers deserve more energy choices (like pluggable cars) as well as mobility choices such as bus rapid transit and telecommuting, so we can cut our 19 million barrel habit quickly in response to high prices, sending the strongest possible signal to OPEC and Big Oil.

10:41 Investments in renewable energy create 3-5 times as many jobs as similar investments in fossil fuels.

10:39 Fox just talked about substitutes for oil. This is a key point. Transportation is 95 percent dependent on oil. We need to get off oil.

10:38 Graves and his association are in favor of increasing the tax on fuels.

10:37 Harbert is fooling herself -- or dissembling (fancy word for lying) -- when she claims we can control the global price of oil. OPEC has the trump cards in this game.

10:35 Graves finally mentions conservation as the first thing we should do. There's a big opportunity there -- only two out of every 10 gallons in your tank actually moves your car, the rest is wasted or idled away.

10:34 Just to clarify how much drilling we already do -- We have more than a half-million producing oil wells, more than all other nations combined.

10:33 Retailers are taking it in the teeth, just like consumers. Big Oil and OPEC are the only ones who profit when prices spike.

10:32 A 60 mpg by 2025 car standard would save 1.5 million barrels daily. Offshore and drilling in the Arctic Refuge would produce just 1/2 that amount in 2025, barely affecting gas prices (one cent per gallon!).

10:30 Energy independence is impossible without tackling our addiction to oil.

10:30 No mention from the panel of the best places to drill -- in Detroit, where companies are building more fuel-efficient cars that save more oil than we can get by drilling, and on Main Street, where we can build more rail and bus rapid transit and save a lot of oil. We consume an eye-popping 19 million barrels daily, we need to tackle that.

10:23 The farm bureau opposes the use of natural gas in transportation.

10:22 What the Chamber rep is not saying about Canada is that while they produce much more oil than they consume and have almost ten times as many proved reserves as the U.S. consumers have been hit hard by high fuel prices. We're all shackled to a global oil price rollercoaster and need to get off.

10:21 The Chamber rep just glossed over the fact that oil production has jumped substantially, it is almost at a ten year high (a jump from production under the Bush Administration).

10:20 The Chamber of Commerce has undermined efforts to pass responsible energy policy for years. They represent big business, not consumers.

10:16 Graves is opposed to the Pickens plan which would use natural gas in trucks.

10:15 Bill Graves is talking now. The American Trucking Association is an interesting group. Trucks consume a lot of oil, of course (second only to our cars, SUVs and pickups). The association favors higher fuel economy standards, which will do more to protect truckers from high prices than new drilling here ever could. Let's see if he talks about that.

10:12 Markey just said, rightly, that the Committee isn't interested in "all of the above" but "oil above all."

10:10 Rep. Markey just pointed out that this committee has held seven hearings on oil, oil, oil. Reminds me of a book written by a friend of mine "Oil on the Brain." We need to get off oil, as even former oilman and President Bush said in his 2006 State of the Union.

10:08 Not very hopeful after the Chairman's opening salvo, which was indeed about continued use of fossil fuels. However, ranking member Markey is on the money when he pointed out that OPEC holds the trump cards in the global oil game (they control 40 percent of production capacity).

10:05 This hearing is important because it shows Congress, just like the President in his speech yesterday at Georgetown University, is focussing on this important issue. The question is what the focus will be -- simply more drilling when we can't drill our way out of this, or using all of the tools in our toolkit.

10:03 We'll be watching the House Natural Resources Committee hearing on gas prices with Chairman Doc Hastings, who just opened the hearing.

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