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Category — Fiscal Energy Policy

Fiscal Commission Should Support Increased Energy Production, Not Increased Energy Taxes

Among the many suggestions in the draft report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibiity and Reform is a 15 cents-per-gallon increase in the federal gasoline tax. No doubt, this proposed tax hike would raise revenues and make a modest dent in the deficit, but it would do so at the expense of the driving public and would disproportionately burden low-income motorists.

There’s a better way. If raising energy-related revenues is the goal, why not fill federal coffers in a manner that actually reduces the price at the pump? Washington can accomplish this by allowing more oil drilling in an about face from the so-called permitorium.

Background

The federal government controls all offshore areas beyond three miles from the coast, as well as vast expanses of energy-rich western lands. Unfortunately, only a fraction of these areas have been opened to energy leasing, due to legislative and regulatory restrictions.

For example, a 2008 Department of the Interior report notes that only eight percent of the estimated 31 billion barrels of oil beneath federal lands is fully available for leasing, while 30 percent is subject to significant restrictions and 62 percent is entirely off-limits. America’ offshore areas hold even greater potential but are also constrained. No other energy-producing nation on earth has limited itself to this extent. [Read more →]

November 17, 2010   2 Comments