By Rod Nofziger
OOIDA director of government affairs
For the most part, the Bush administration has shown little interest in doing anything to bring down the price of oil beyond asking Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries to increase their daily production. The administration, along with the Republican congressional leadership, believes the price of oil is being driven up by increased global demand and lower global supplies. It’s purely a supply-and-demand issue to them.
Congress has essentially been spinning their wheels on this matter. Though there have been numerous congressional hearings related to oil and fuel prices, lawmakers have not been able to come together to pass any significant legislation.
Pressuring the White House into ceasing shipments of oil into the already well-stocked Strategic Petroleum Reserve was a good start, but only goes so far. For the most part, time and energy is being wasted by Republicans blaming Democrats for oil prices and Democrats pointing their fingers back at the Republicans.
Generally speaking, Democrats believe that conservation, renewable energies and reining in commodity market speculation are the answers to lowering fuel prices and reducing our nation’s dependency on foreign oil. Republicans tend to believe that increased domestic drilling and oil exploration, as well as increased oil refining capacities, are the way to go.
For any legislative effort to have a significant impact on oil or fuel prices, it will most likely have to use, to some extent, all of the aforementioned strategies. For that to happen, Congress and the White House will have to set aside the election year political maneuvering that currently rules their collective mind-set. And for that to happen – well, that’s not likely to happen. LL