U.S. Congress can keep gas prices falling; boost domestic energy output

·3 min read
Gasoline prices are shown at the Sheetz on Raeford Road in Fayetteville, NC, on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. The average price of gas in Cumberland County was $3.49 as of Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022.
Gasoline prices are shown at the Sheetz on Raeford Road in Fayetteville, NC, on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022. The average price of gas in Cumberland County was $3.49 as of Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022.

Americans are paying more for everyday essentials. Fuel prices are still out of control even as prices have recently begun to cool. North Carolinians are paying more than a dollar per tank of gas compared to 2021.

The good news is that U.S. Congress can help. Sens. Thom Tillis and Richard Burr can support expanding America’s domestic energy supply to help drive down costs for consumers and businesses. These types of solutions would offer concrete relief to struggling Americans.

However, other lawmakers on Capitol Hill have voiced support for burdensome taxes, such as a windfall profits tax, that would hurt the domestic energy production and threaten to result in higher fuel prices.

Bobby Hurst
Bobby Hurst

High energy prices affect all aspects of our lives. Our daily commutes, heating and cooling our homes, and our businesses’ operating costs all depend on affordable fuel. Rising gas prices strain North Carolinians’ budgets, adding to the economic uncertainty of the past few years. We need Congress to fix this problem, not worsen gas prices by passing new taxes on the very industry that can help.

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I have worked to advocate for North Carolina through our local, state and federal elected officials for decades. Here in Fayetteville and across the state, I have seen what solid, actionable policy looks like. I understand how harmful inflation can be for our rural and urban communities.

High prices fall heaviest on the residents who can least afford these types of disruptions. Having worked with both Sen. Tillis and Sen. Burr on important issues, I saw firsthand how committed our senators are to fighting for North Carolina and bettering our communities.

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With elected representatives that are so devoted to improving North Carolina, their decision should be easy: Support our domestic energy production to drive down costs and grow our economy. By allowing the energy sector to sustainably tap our vast domestic resources, we can ease residents’ fiscal strain and spur an important sector in our state’s economy.

The energy sector helps support over 235,000 jobs across the state and pays out $13.5 billion in wages. Some steps Congress could take include opening federal lands to leasing, supporting pipeline approvals, and expediting permitting for energy projects.

Unfortunately, some federal lawmakers have instead called for a windfall profits tax that would hurt our state’s economy and workers. Advocates claim that this burdensome tax is intended to drive down prices. However, a windfall profits tax would prevent the industry from making the necessary investments to reduce fuel prices.

As one industry insider puts it, a windfall tax portrays “high pump prices as a result of greed rather than plain old supply and demand.” This is not the answer Americans need—we need solutions that reduce prices for everyday North Carolinians.

Investing in energy will offer relief for North Carolinians now, and help grow our economy moving forward. Senators Tillis and Burr must support policies that help Americans struggling under high gas prices. The energy industry is a major economic driver, and can offer significant opportunity now and in the future. Now is the time for smart solutions to pressing economic problems. Expanding our domestic supply of energy and opposing windfall profit taxes will help improve our communities in North Carolina and across the country.

Bobby Hurst is a former member of Fayetteville City Council.

This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: U.S. Congress can keep gas prices falling; boost domestic energy output