My latest at Real Clear Energy.
Is Joe Biden choking the U.S. oil industry in order to advance his electric vehicle (EV) agenda?
Although oil prices have more than tripled since bottoming out in March 2020 due to COVID and a production war between Russian and Saudi Arabia, American frackers are in no rush to meet a demand that is getting back to normal.
Since becoming president, Biden has undertaken a number of actions against domestic oil production, including: cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline; halting new leases for oil and gas drilling on public lands; and reinstating the Obama EPA’s anti-fracking methane rule. Biden has even gone so far as to ban fracking in two Pennsylvania counties where there isn’t even much fracking.
Biden has done all this and more, and plans to continuing to implement his anti-fossil fuel agenda despite the fact that gas prices have risen to a seven-year high.
You might think that a president of a country feeling the economic pain of rising gas prices, would do something about those prices, like encouraging the domestic oil industry to step up production rather than discouraging it.
But not Joe Biden.
Instead, Biden recently asked the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to increase its production. This is truly amazing.
Biden certainly must remember how OPEC had tortured the U.S. economy and consumers since from the 1970s to the 2000s. And he should remember that the fracking industry, which matured during the Obama era, finally relieved us from dependence on OPEC.
Now an American president is back to begging OPEC for oil? Even though our own domestic production capabilities are so prodigious that they actually forced the price of oil momentarily to dip below zero at the beginning of COVID?
In any event, OPEC turned Biden down, yet Biden has not walked back any of his anti-oil policies.
So what gives?
One explanation is the Executive Order Biden issued in early August setting as a national goal that 50% of vehicles produced in America be electric by 2030.
To put it mildly, American consumers are not wild about EVs. Despite 30 years of global warming hysteria and much hype about and incentives for EVs, only about 1-2% of new car sales are EVs. Instead, American car buyers, until recently, have been enjoying low gas prices and buying large, safe, and powerful SUVs. And gasoline cars don’t spontaneously combust.
But Biden seems to wants to bring that to an end.
Biden wants us in EVs although they have very limited appeal on their own. So the way to achieve his goal is to increase gas prices. Since politicians aren’t going to raise gas taxes, Biden figures on limiting supply and leaving American consumers at the tender mercies of OPEC.
Biden is also taking action against gas-powered cars by tightening fuel economy standards. This will raise the price of new cars, furthering his goal of making gas-powered cars less attractive to consumers.
Then there is Biden’s infrastructure package which contains a provision for a pilot program top charge drivers by the mile they drive, which essentially operates as a double tax on gas cars.
By hook and by crook, Joe Biden intends to get us out of the gas-powered cars we love and into (more expensive) EVs that we don’t. By tolerating Biden’s pointless war on fracking and needless increases in gas prices, we are helping him achieve his unpopular political goal.
Steve Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and is the author of “Scare Pollution: Why and How to Fix the EPA.”
September 4, 2021