The Best Energy Policy Is To Let Markets Work Freely
America’s ongoing oil and natural gas revolution is delivering big benefits to our economy, our environment and to our nation’s security. As the world’s top energy producer, America is leveraging this position of strength to grow good-paying jobs and economic opportunity here at home while firming up important trading partnership with key allies abroad. The increasing use of natural gas in power generation is also improving our environment at the same time.
This positive shift is a win for the America people and a blow to nations that previously used their energy resources against the U.S. as a political weapon.
Thankfully in Washington, American energy dominance is a central focus of the Trump administration’s policy priorities. With smart, jobs- and consumer-focused policies at the federal level as well as in energy-producing states, our economy and global political muscle will only grow stronger.
Anyone who follows energy trends hears a lot of debate around new pipelines, and how anti-fossil fuel activists want to stop infrastructure development that’s critical to creating jobs and boosting America’s manufacturing sector. We see much less discussion in the energy-related news media about how refineries and existing pipelines are responding to energy revolution’s shifting market dynamics and the benefits these actions bring to consumers.
In the Midwest, refineries have made massive new investments – literally billions of dollars in capital – to expand operations to process more North American crude in recent years. According to Morningstar, these refiners can now process 300+ more mbopd today compared to 2010. And it’s a trend that will likely continue forward.
The result? More affordable, domestically-produced fuels – gasoline and diesel and jet fuel – for American consumers.
But more competition can be a scary thing for companies that fear change and have not planned for the future , and some are working aggressively to stop this positive progress from benefiting more Americans.
Throughout 2015, we saw aggressive push-back from some refiners during the debate to lift the decades-old ban on American oil exports. Prices will spike at the pump and jobs will be lost, they claimed. However, since that Jimmy Carter-era ban was lifted two years ago – on a bipartisan basis, no less – none of those claims have played out. In fact, that policy shift has now resulted in the United States becoming a major player in the international crude markets for the first time, enhancing our government’s leverage in negotiations with other countries.
With Midwest refiners ramping up output, current and new pipelines are adjusting accordingly because, well, that’s what free markets do.
In Pennsylvania, state regulators this week are considering one such commonsense, market-driven pipeline proposal that should be a no-brainer for approval given the clear consumer benefits it will provide.