The prospect of six dollars per gallon gasoline would have sounded preposterous a few short months ago, but that was the warning just last week from leading analysts with JP Morgan.
They've predicted prices at the pump could rise above six dollars per gallon by August of this year, right during the peak of the summer travel season.
Skyrocketing energy prices are a triple-hit to working families: at the pump, heating or cooling their homes; worse yet, these price increases are at levels driving up the cost of almost everything else working families buy.
That's because the price of diesel fuel which powers our transportation system has hit record highs, at near six dollars per gallon — already.
This will drive the inflation spiral even higher, pushing us toward a recession that could be an even greater hit to middle- and low-income Americans.
How did this happen? The answer can be given with just two words: Joe Biden.
Just three years ago, the United States was energy independent.
We were responsibly exploring for oil domestically, and among the global leaders in natural gas production.
We led the world in developing the next generation of fuels for the 21st century.
Then Biden entered the White House, and with him came a cadre of fringe environmental activists disguised as policy experts, ready to fill key positions in the White House, Energy Department, and EPA.
In less than two years, through moratoriums on domestic energy exploration, and cancellation of critical pipeline projects, America finds itself regressing and has unnecessarily returned to dependence on rogue nations for energy.
Compounding the Biden administration’s domestic policy blunders have been their embarrassments on the global stage dramatically impacting American energy prices and energy security.
Though these events may be taking place half-way across the globe, the real-world implications on American consumers are felt — daily.
Russia is one of the world’s leading energy producers and, while sanctions were a reasonable response to hold Putin’s regime accountable for their invasion of Ukraine, sanctions also had the effect of increasing prices on global energy markets, impacting Americans stateside.
How do we turn this catastrophe around?
We must get back to basics, and return to encouraging domestic energy production.
The Biden administration may not admit this inconvenient truth publicly, but it’s clear they understand the reality.
What else explains their turnaround on exploration for oil on federal land, which was announced on a Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend to bury the policy reversal?
While this was a start, so much more is needed — now.
Bringing more stable, low-cost natural gas to market will strengthen our manufacturing sector. We already know about the abundance of natural gas in my home state of Pennsylvania with Marcellus Shale.
Beneath it are the vast resources of Utica Shale containing trillions of cubic feet of natural gas, nearly one billion barrels of oil, and hundreds of million barrels of natural-gas liquids.
The Keystone State is only one of several areas nationally, ready to both employ more workers and provide more energy.
It’s past time for state and federal officials to tear down barriers to exploration and utilize these resources, thereby putting more people to work.
Contrary to radical environmentalists' hysterical talking points, hydraulic-fracking is a safe, responsible, and effective means of extracting natural gas.
Thus, we need to stop hyperventilating and, as we have heard and seen repeatedly over the past several years, and start following the science. Unlike, Venezuela, Iran, and Russia, America has among the strongest environmental standards globally.
It's the height of insanity to have our adversaries destroy the environment, harm our economy, and weaken our national security because we refuse to produce natural gas in our country.
If we hope to turn our economy around and slow the rising cost of living that's crippling hardworking American families, it's essential that we return to the energy independence we experienced just a few short years ago.
This isn’t a pipedream, but it will take pipelines, permits, and commonsense from our leaders to make it a reality.
Rick Santorum is Newsmax's Senior Political Analyst and served two terms in both the House of Representatives and Senate.
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