Greens, not Greed, Fueling Higher Gas Prices

by | Sep 21, 2000 | Energy

"The solution to our current oil shortages isn't more regulation, but less," said Bernstein.

Government regulations, not capitalist greed, are responsible for skyrocketing U.S. oil and gas prices, said a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute.

“U.S. environmental regulations add, on average, 42.4 cents per gallon to gasoline prices at the pumps,” said Andrew Bernstein.

“These taxes alone mean that every licensed driver pays an extra $350 per year at the pumps for gas. But, even worse are the restrictions on oil and gas producers. The United States has huge untapped repositories of oil and gas lying under the Outer Continental Shelf and under Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Because producers are prohibited from developing these sources, America’s gasoline refineries are at the mercy of the OPEC nations…”

Bernstein warned that the energy situation could get worse before it gets better.

He said that because gasoline has been in high demand and crude in short supply, refineries have been forced to curtail their production of heating oil, which will probably mean a significant rise in the price of this commodity this winter.

“The solution to our current oil shortages isn’t more regulation, but less,” said Bernstein.

“If the U.S. government eliminated environmental restrictions on the energy industry, we would witness a significant increase in domestic production of oil and natural gas. This would do more than increase supply and lower prices for American consumers. It could herald a new commitment by the U.S. government to economic freedom and capitalism. The relative freedom of the computer industry has led to an explosion of innovation and productivity. The same freedom in the energy industry will lead to the same result.”

Copyright Ayn Rand Institute. All rights reserved. That the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) has granted permission to Capitalism Magazine to republish this article, does not mean ARI necessarily endorses or agrees with the other content on this website.

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The author is a contributing writer to Capitalism Magazine.

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