Washington, D.C., April 1, 2008- U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, made the following statement during today’s hearing titled, “Drilling for Answers: Oil Company Profits, Runaway Prices and the Pursuit of Alternatives:”
“Today’s hearing is about high gas prices. It’s an issue that my Wisconsin constituents understand all too well.
“Due to a host of factors, including one of the highest gasoline taxes in the nation, my constituents pay some of the highest gas prices in the nation. In fact, just yesterday, the American Automobile Association (AAA) web site showed that gasoline is more expensive in my district than it is in Manhattan. In both places, gas is at least 50 cents higher than it was this time last year.
“Already, reports are showing that Wisconsin residents may soon be feeling even more pinched due to rising fuel costs. The Capital Times in Madison reported that freight truck drivers are feeling the weight of higher diesel prices, citing data from AAA Wisconsin that shows diesel averaging $4.08 a gallon, up more than 50 cents from last month.
“The story correctly notes that about 80 percent of the goods shipped in the U.S. use diesel-powered trucks. The truck drivers are feeling the pinch, but it is being passed on to all of us. In fact, the high price of oil is one reason why my local investor-owned utility, We Energies, is asking state regulators to approve a rate hike.
“It’s not surprising that gas and oil prices are going up. Worldwide demand is skyrocketing too. Not only is there an increasing need for energy resources in the U.S., but countries like China and India have energy demands that far exceed their historical needs.
“One thing we know for sure is that the worldwide demand for energy resources is going to keep growing in the future and we need an energy policy that will allow us to meet these needs without slowing the economy.
“Last May, the Select Committee held a hearing on rising gas prices, where we heard of the big impact that oil and gas companies have on the economy. Everyone knows the economic impact that gasoline can have on goods in the market. But we also heard that these companies create a lot of good jobs, and their expanded investment in market-driven research and technology only serves to create more jobs.
“The oil companies that we’ll hear from today are going to be called on to help meet the rising global energy demand. Naturally, they’re looking for new sources of traditional fossil fuels, and it’s my hope that they will continue to bring these new energy sources online. Unfortunately, many of these sources are in unstable parts of the world with unsavory leadership; places like Nigeria and Venezuela.
“But from their testimony today, it’s clear that these oil companies are looking for new sources of energy, like wind, solar, and biofuels. There is a growing market for these new technologies.
“These executives know what the future holds, from both their own studies and from groups like the National Petroleum Council. They know that their companies will have to be able to draw on diverse sources of energy if we are to meet the rising demand. I too believe that energy diversity must be a key part of the U.S. energy strategy, and that includes traditional fossil fuels in addition to renewable energy, improved energy efficiency and nuclear power.
“Any reasonable energy policy must recognize that we need affordable supplies of energy, and that oil and gas must continue to play a dominant supply role for the foreseeable future.
“I look forward to today’s testimony from executives who are striving to meet the challenge of securing energy in an insecure world.”
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