At the center of the inflation crisis in the U.S. is rising energy prices. Crude oil has now reached a seven-year high of over $87 dollars a barrel, with some experts predicting a return to $100 a barrel in the months ahead. This has an impact on nearly every aspect of the economy, since higher gas and fuel prices mean higher costs for transportation, goods, services, travel, etc.
At the same time energy costs are rising, Democrats and the Biden administration continue to push "green" or alternative energy solutions, including so-called "climate legislation," all while limiting domestic oil and gas production. "A lot of what we're seeing with all the price increases right now is policies that are making it harder and more expensive (to produce oil and gas), and sending the market signals that oil and gas are at a disadvantage," says David Holt, president of the Consumer Energy Alliance.
"We need to recognize the high value that oil and natural gas bring to the economy, and continue to find a way to leverage oil and gas, produce more oil and gas, and do it in an environmentally responsible way," continues Holt.
Energy independence also has a direct impact on foreign policy. While the Biden administration has cut domestic oil and gas production, it encouraged OPEC to increase production. The U.S. has also reportedly increased imports of Russian oil and gas, amidst rising tensions with the Kremlin. "With the national security implications of Russia and Ukraine, and what we're seeing there now, energy can be used as an economic tool to curtail aggression," says Holt.
Ultimately, Holt believes that increasing alternative energy production is a good thing, but it needs to be done alongside oil and gas production, as part of an all-of-the-above approach that also includes renewed offshore production. "Too much of our conversation pits this false choice, that the only way to achieve our environmental goals is to ban fossil fuel energy," he tells KTRH. "And that's what's leading to higher prices."