Op-Ed: High Price of Gas Hurting Families, Businesses & America

At a time when our country’s economy is still struggling to get off the ground, high gasoline prices are hitting everyone hard.  At over $4 a gallon, filling up the tank takes a serious bite out of the family budget.  When a trip to the gas station costs $60…$70…even $80, hardworking families have to cut back other places.  Maybe pizza at home replaces the weekly meal out with the kids or your shopping list gets paired down to the essentials.  We all have to get to and from work, the kids have games, practice and lessons several times a week, and there’s always an errand to run.

Families are not the only ones feeling the pinch.  Businesses are hurting, too.  Gas prices can send expenses soaring and at the same time, we – their customers – are cutting back and buying less.  It’s a vicious circle leaving everyone feeling strained.

President Obama and Kathy Hochul aren’t solving the problem and are ignoring the pain of hardworking families and business owners.  They are sitting on their hands and lecturing us to drive less.  Tell any mom with a few kids to drive less and you’ll find out exactly how unrealistic that strategy is.  Everyone talks about energy independence and it’s a necessary goal.  But instead of just using it as a sound bite as President Obama and Kathy Hochul do, why doesn’t this country actually work toward achieving it?

While the Obama White House touts domestic oil production at recent highs, the fact of the matter is that under this administration drilling on federal land has gone down drastically.  Worse yet, President Obama single-handedly stopped the Keystone Pipeline project from moving forward.  The pipeline currently transports Canadian crude oil to a distribution hub in Oklahoma.  But planned extensions that would connect the pipeline to the Gulf Coast of Texas and allow American crude oil to enter the pipeline have been blocked by Washington politics.  Not only are we wasting a valuable opportunity to increase domestic oil production, the Keystone Pipeline extensions would have created thousands of new, private sector jobs, mostly in construction, at a time when unemployment remains far too high.

Our leaders in Washington are also failing when it comes to tapping the potential of this country’s natural gas supply.  As a country, I also believe we have to get serious about producing more nuclear energy if we ever want to achieve energy independence.

None of these suggestions with help bring down the price of gas at the pump this week or this month, and none are a stand alone silver bullet.  It will take time for America to achieve energy independence and finally get firm control of oil prices in this country.  Today, American families continue to pay gas prices that are largely set on the world stage – a stage dominated by Middle Eastern nations who laugh at us all the way to the bank.

We can’t afford elected leaders like Kathy Hochul and Barack Obama jerking from crisis to crisis.  We need to demand that our leaders in Washington do what is in the best long-term interest of this country and our wallets – not their political donors.

Chris Collins is a candidate for the 27th Congressional District.  Collins and his family live in Clarence.  A former county executive, Collins has spent 35 years in the private sector creating and saving hundreds of good paying jobs in Western New York.  One of his companies is active in the renewable energy field with solar and wind products. ask question .

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