Bond Urges Congress to Stop the Gimmicks, Get Real About Lowering Gas Prices to Help Struggling Families, Workers

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Kit Bond today urged his Senate colleagues to get real about lowering gas prices.  Speaking on the Senate floor, Bond pressed for the adoption of the Gas Price Reduction Act to help Americans suffering record pain at the pump.
            “Americans are suffering record pain at the pump and they need real relief now.  I hear it everyday from my constituents back home, farmers, truckers, families all suffering record high gas prices.  They are telling me, they are telling us, stop the fighting, stop the gimmicks, stop the half-measures.  Do something real that will get gas prices down.  This morning, I ask the Senate to get real about lowering gas prices,” said Bond.
            Bond emphasized that any real plan that has a chance to lower gas prices must do three things: increase production, increase conservation, and address speculation.  The Gas Price Reduction Act, which Bond is an original sponsor of, accomplishes all of these goals.
            Too many so-called energy plans, like the Democratic leadership speculation-only bill, focus on only one element of the energy problem.  Unfortunately, these plans are not enough to lower prices. Bond explained that it’s a problem of Economics 101 – prices are high when there is too little supply and too much demand.  The solution is both find more and use less.  Bond emphasized the way to lower gas prices is right here in our own country.  There are up to 18 billion barrels of oil waiting for us off our Atlantic and Pacific coasts – which equals 10 years of supply!  Bond’s Gas Price Reduction Act will open up those offshore areas and allow our nation to put this American oil to use helping America.
            This common-sense plan also includes incentives to conserve oil by fostering the domestic manufacturing supply base for hybrid vehicle batteries. A U.S. manufacturing base that mass produces hyrbid batteries will not only conserve oil, but also lower their price, making them affordable for all consumers – which is good for the environment, consumers, and manufacturing workers. While a lack of new oil supplies is the biggest reason for high gas prices, the Gas Price Reduction Act also ensure speculators are not distorting or abusing markets.  This bill puts more commodity cops on the beat to enforce the rules while protecting farmers, producers and consumers.
            Bond criticized the naysayers of this common sense plan to bring Americans relief from high energy prices.  The Senator debunked the claim that tapping America’s oil would take years to benefit energy prices, stressing that naysayers ignore the immediate price lowering effect of the news of new supplies.  This week is evidence – after the President announced suspension of the Presidential moratorium on offshore drilling, prices fell $10 a barrel.  The same price fall will be even great when Congress repeals the current Democratic legislative moratorium against further offshore oil production.
            The Senator countered the Democrats’ false argument that we need to use the oil leases we have before new leases are issued.  Bond explained that the “use it or lose” principle is already a government regulation and requirement placed on current leaseholders.  Bond pointed out that many of these naysayers must lack a basic understanding of the lease program.  A lease is only permission to look for oil in a certain area.  Most lease areas contain no oil at all, or so little that it’s not worth extracting.  Also, despite claims to the contrary, modern oil technology is environmentally safe.  Hurricane Katrina tragedy serves as an example – not a single oil spill occurred when that hurricane blew over thousands of oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.
            Bond also exposed the Democrats’ other so-called energy solutions.  One Democratic plan is to raid the Strategic Oil Reserve and divert 10 percent of its volume to consumers.  In addition to being dangerous to our national security, this plan would provide only 3 ½ days worth of oil.