The price of oil surged to $75 a barrel the other day under President Joe Biden’s green energy policies. The price was as low as $35 a barrel under former President Donald Trump because he believed in American energy dominance (“Drill, baby, drill”). So, more oil meant lower prices at the pump. It was effectively a massive, multibillion-dollar tax cut for lower- and middle-income earners of tens of billions of dollars a year.
But now, with the exploding demand for energy as the world economy reopens, the self-defeating Biden policy is to curtail oil drilling here at home, which is often done by the smaller and independent “wildcat” drillers. Instead, this administration enriches the major oil companies such as Exxon and Chevron with existing wells that are suddenly more profitable to drill. This is why the gas price at the pump is $3.29 a gallon nationally and above $5 a gallon in California.
Are these higher-energy prices transitory? Harold Hamm, one of the fathers of modern shale gas innovations, doesn’t think so. Instead, he predicts the price may surge to more than $100 a barrel, which means well over $4 a gallon at the pump.
The most significant deterrent to more drilling on these shores is the Biden de facto moratorium on domestic drilling on federal lands. How foolish is this? Up to an estimated $50 trillion of energy resources are right below our feet. This is like a buried treasure that could supply energy for 100-plus years. In addition, the royalties and taxes would help pay off some of our $30 trillion national debt.
Here’s the worst part of the story. None of this tomfoolery is doing any good for the environment. Even Biden’s own Energy secretary, Jennifer Granholm, has complained that in some ways, the Biden policies are making carbon emissions worse by approving pipelines of dirty energy from Russia to Germany while killing pipelines from relatively cleaner oil and gas here in the United States.
What is clear is that the renewable energy push and the subsidies for electric cars and electric batteries aren’t going to change our fossil fuel energy demands for years. So, it is only a question of whether we get the oil from here at home or from some of our major adversaries, such as Russia.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports that even coal is making a comeback. After years of low prices, the coal price is now spiking due to less production. Biden has declared war on American coal, which has led to the closing of coal plants across the country. As utilities begin to awaken to the low reliability of wind and solar power, coal is in demand as a backup energy source to prevent blackouts. The rest of the world, especially Asia, is still addicted to coal. China now builds coal plants at a faster rate than we shut them down.
What sense does it make to shutter American coal when we have more of it, a 400-year supply, than any other nation? And our coal is the cleanest.
So, the Biden energy plan is bad for jobs, bad for consumers, and bad for the environment. My prediction is that global and U.S. carbon emissions are going way up this year and next.
The irony of this story is that the industry that Biden and the greens hate the most is benefiting from his foolish policies.
And, yes, those are the Saudi oil sheikhs you are seeing rolling on the ground laughing at us.
Stephen Moore is a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation and an economic consultant with FreedomWorks. He is the co-author of “Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive the American Economy.”