Simmons: Mid-term elections and higher heating prices arrive
By Brook A. Simmons
Cooler temperatures are settling across North America with voters everywhere paying higher heating bills in great part because of the left’s anti-oil and natural gas holy war.
Gallup’s national October poll showed 85% of registered voters said “the economy,” including “inflation,” is extremely or very important to their midterm vote Tuesday. It is the top issue for Republican and Independent voters, but only a mid-tier issue for Democrats, who rank “climate change” 40 points higher as a concern than Republicans.
According to the survey, Democrats’ top three most important issues are: abortion, climate change, and gun policy. For Republicans the top three are: the economy, immigration, and crime. For Independents: the economy, abortion, and crime. All these priorities are pretty easily guessed based upon partisan mailers, texts, door hangars, emails, and ads.
The Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma remains focused on policies impacting the economic viability of our industry and its benefit to consumers, the state, our nation, and our allies overseas.
Roughly 4% of U.S. households, mostly located in New England, burn a time-tested, diesel-like heating oil to keep warm. The region is easy to find on a color-coded congressional district map because it is a big, blue blotch that directly corresponds to the U.S. Department of Energy’s PADD1A district map.
For years, the industry has warned blue-state policymakers that bureaucratic red tape, pipeline cancellations, refinery closings, capital constraints, climate fearmongering, and open hostility toward hydrocarbons would have negative consequences. They didn’t listen.
Home heating oil and diesel shortages are impacting New England and the Central Atlantic energy districts now with refineries running flat out in an attempt to ease the pain.
The elites these blue-state households send to Washington, D.C., and elect to lead their states are the same climate fearmongers who oppose pipelines to bring abundant, clean-burning Appalachian natural gas to their constituents’ furnaces.
Ignoring that the U.S. leads the world in greenhouse gas emissions reductions thanks to the switch from coal to natural gas for power generation, they vote to cut drilling capital by raising oil and natural gas taxes and choking off investment capital. They double down with policies that will result in the plugging of marginally economic stripper wells, removing roughly 7.4% of U.S. oil and 8.4% of its natural gas production.
They attack the men and women of the U.S. oil and natural gas industry and pretend to fight climate change because their donor base’s renewable investments need it. For 20 years they have rejected the miracle of the U.S. shale revolution only to import Russian natural gas by LNG tanker into Boston-area terminals – natural gas with life-cycle emissions roughly 40% higher than U.S. natural gas from nearby Pennsylvania or West Virginia.
According to the EIA, the average price for residential heating oil in New England was $5.80 per gallon last week and $5.96 per gallon in Central Atlantic states including New York (where hydraulic fracturing is banned) – up roughly 42% over the same time last year.
Meanwhile, based on NOAA’s most recent forecast, EIA’s winter fuels outlook assumes that winter 2022-23 will be “slightly colder than both last winter and the average winter for the previous 10 winters.”
So with more than 100 executive branch actions to curb U.S. oil and natural gas production and a wrong-headed climate law hawked as inflation reduction, the Biden administration and its congressional Democrat allies continue marching low-income and working-class families off a cliff.
They beg for more oil from snickering dictators, terror sponsors, princes, and thugs instead of looking to their own U.S. industry. They call for an end to exports, more tax increases, price controls, higher heating oil subsidies, and a Marxist nationalization of the industry. They create diesel shortages and drain the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Bad policies are bad politics. We’re in for a more expensive winter. Throw the bums out.
— Brook A. Simmons is president of The Petroleum Alliance of Oklahoma.