Washington’s National Energy Policy at Work


Detroit, Mich. — Take a trip with me to Planet Earth, dear reader, and let us observe how a national energy policy formulated in a galaxy far, far away — deep within the Beltway Nebula — actually works on our world: It makes gasoline more expensive and the nation more dependent on foreign oil.

Gas prices are on the rise again across the U.S., setting off the Washington ritual of pols rushing to the nearest microphone to condemn them as proof that America needs a “national energy policy.” (Never mind that these same pols pledge their allegiance to the planet, which they say is being destroyed by the demand for cheap gas).

“The news that our natio’s gas prices have hit an all-time high — especially as we approach the beginning of the summer travel season — underscores the urgent need for a better national energy policy,” postured Green Harry Reid back in 2007 when gas prices last headed north of $3 per gallon. “We have to make it a national priority to reduce our reliance on oil, especially foreign oil.”

Be careful what you wish for. Today, Midwest drivers are irate as $3-per-gallon gas looms thanks to rising global oil prices . . . and Mr. Reid & Co.’s national energy policy.

That’s right. Thanks to federal EPA rules that require refineries to switch to a more ozone-friendly, summer blend of gasoline, refineries in the Midwest – particularly BP’s huge refinery in Whiting, Ind. – have been shut down as they undergo seasonal maintenance for the changeover. Michigan gas prices lead the nation at $2.93 a gallon (price watchdogs like Jim Rink, a AAA spokesman, say that prices historically peak by July as supplies again stabilize).

But the BP refinery is also an example of how Washington’s national energy policy is getting in the way of “oil independence” — a term that really has no meaning given that the U.S. only has 3 percent of the world’s oil supplies while consuming 25 percent of world production.

Like many U.S. refineries, the Whiting facility is switching away from Mideast oil. Making us less reliant on foreign sources, right?

Wrong. Refineries are switching to abundant, newly tapped Canadian oil coming out of the rich oil sands of Western Canada. These are the same kind of oil resources that Washington’s national energy policy has put off limits in our own Western states.

Still, coming from our “51st state,” Canadian oil is politically correct foreign oil. So pols are cheering the transition, yes?

No. Because Canadian crude is thicker than Middle Eastern crude, it is more energy intensive to process (meaning more CO2 emissions) and produces more ammonia discharges into the Great Lakes. So while BP’s ammonia byproduct is still half that allowed under federal permitting laws, Green groups and their political toadies have gone ballistic, forcing BP into more expensive processing procedures that will ultimately be felt at the pump.

To summarize, then, dear reader: Thanks to Senator Harry Reid’s national energy policy, Midwest drivers are paying a lot more at the pump to purchase foreign oil that produces more greenhouse gases and pollution.


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