Weekly Column of U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) - Lowering Gas Prices: Find More, Use Less

Posted on June 27, 2008

Tennesseans are feeling the pain at the pump. Hundreds of Tennesseans have written me with their stories about how record high fuel costs are affecting their family budgets. It’s time Congress took action. This week, I led a group of 22 Republican senators at an event inviting our Democratic colleagues to sign onto legislation to address these high costs. This bill – the Gas Price Reduction Act of 2008 – is already cosponsored by 44 Republican senators and can be summed up in four words: ‘Find more, use less.” “Find more” means we would increase U.S. production by one third through offshore exploration and western states’ oil shale. This will over time produce at least 3 million barrels a day. “Use less” means we would reduce imported oil by one third by making it easier for millions of Americans to drive plug-in electric cars and trucks. This will over time reduce Americans use of oil by 4 million barrels a day. We would also discourage speculation driving up oil prices by putting more cops on the beat in the regulatory agencies that oversee Wall Street oil traders. There are many other proposals for finding more and using less oil, and senators should have the chance to offer those when the Senate resumes the debate on energy – but just these four steps (offshore exploration, oil shale, plug-in electric cars and trucks, and better oversight of oil speculators) will put America clearly on a course toward lower gas prices, more energy independence, and would stop sending billions of dollars overseas to buy oil from countries who are supporting terrorists. This will take time, but now is the time to begin. President Kennedy did not shy away from asking our country to take ten years to go to the moon. President Roosevelt knew it would take years to build a bomb to win a war. We need to start today to make sure our grandchildren ten years from now do not face the same energy crisis that we face today. And from the day we show that determination, speculators will become nervous, oil producing countries will become realistic, and the price of gasoline will stabilize and start to come down. The 44 cosponsors of the Gas Price Reduction Act are Republicans, but we think our proposal deserves bipartisan support. We shouldn’t be begging other countries to explore for oil when the United States is the third largest producer of oil and should make its own contribution to increasing the world supply. Republicans will do BOTH – find more oil and use less—and we intend to work hard and in good faith to find a way to for Democrats to say “yes we can” to finding more oil, as well as using less. The American people don’t want to see us up here talking trash. They want to see us getting results. Otherwise, the price of gasoline will continue to go up and will continue to hurt the American people. Congress must come to a bipartisan result on finding more and using less.