The US Needs Oil Independence ASAP

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has brought disaster to people around the world. Despite no wars being fought on US ground, Americans still feel the consequences of this quarrel. Since Russia is a top-three global oil producer and many feared disruption in the oil supply, demand for oil skyrocketed, and gas prices have reached some historical highs. 

Even without the conflict overseas, gas prices have been on the rise ever since the Biden Administration assumed their position. The Department of Labor reported a 40% increase in the cost of gasoline in President Joe Biden’s first year in office due to inflation, and by the looks of it, he has no plan to put an end to the gas crisis. As opposed to seeking domestic solutions to this issue, Biden is utilizing this dilemma as an excuse to push his clean energy agenda, which is proving to be detrimental to American families.

         The argument against domestic oil drilling is rather ironic, seeing as the goal is to promote cleaner emissions. As an alternative to Russian oil, the US has turned to nations including Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela. However, the importation of oil from these overseas regimes is in fact much dirtier and worse for the carbon footprint as opposed to drilling and importing in North America.

The cry for domestic drilling is not a one-sided issue. According to a HarrisX poll, 69% of voters answered in favor of the allowance of more natural gas and oil exploration in the US, including 53% of democrats. The Biden Administration is trying to commence a transition towards electric vehicles, but even the top figures in the electric car industry understand the gravity of the nation’s current dilemma. Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, exploited the flaws of this transition in a pair of tweets where he calls for an immediate increase in oil and gas output, claiming, “extraordinary times calls for extraordinary measures.” Musk recognizes that an increased oil output would negatively affect Tesla and other electric car companies, yet it is necessary because “sustainable energy solutions simply cannot react instantaneously to make up for Russian oil and gas exports.” By no means is this country experiencing something routine; the US needs to adapt to these unconventional times as opposed to using a global conflict as justification for pushing a political scheme.

It is no secret that Biden is against fracking; canceling the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and disposing 11,000 American jobs on his very first day in office told the American people everything they needed to know about his stance. Fracking, an oil extracting method proven to be safe by the Western Energy Alliance, has provided the nation with a plethora of economic benefits in the past. A 2016 study by the Institute for Energy Research found that a national ban on fracking would decrease jobs, increase energy prices, and increase overall living expenses, and this past year has certainly fortified those claims. 

So, the question remains: why haven’t they started drilling?

Press Secretary Jen Psaki has often pointed to the 9,000 unused and approved oil leases that oil companies could tap into. The only issue: this is simply not true. The statement alludes to the fact that oil companies have permission to utilize these leases whenever they want, yet the truth is that these companies have never received approval from the Biden Administration to use the leases.

At the end of the day, the current administration needs to halt their agenda and focus on the issues at hand. This is no ordinary situation, and we should not treat it as such. With living expenses and jobs on the line, the Biden Administration must do what is best for the average American; forcing people to transition to $50,000 electric vehicles is not a realistic solution to this predicament. It does not have to be permanent, but oil independence would certainly only benefit the US at this time.