Madam Speaker, gasoline prices are soaring. The problem rests on the well-known principle of supply and demand. Our domestic energy supply cannot meet our demand. The solution is to increase our supply by exploring domestic energy sources and allowing drilling in ANWAR.
The problem is even worse when you consider that as more countries industrialize, especially India and China, there will be more demand for the same amount of oil. The result? Even higher gas prices.
While it is easy to point fingers and blame American oil companies, the real culprit is Congress. Congress is responsible because it decided to subsidize special interest groups, energy companies which may produce expensive and unreliable energy someday. Congress placed our future in the hands of unproven energy sources.
Instead of supporting those companies that provide our energy today, Congress punished them with high taxes. But Congress was sure to exempt Venezuelan oil company, CITGO, from these high taxes.
Gas companies have reported record profits in recent years, but these profits resulted in record high tax collection. Two months ago, Exxon-Mobil announced record profits of $40.7 billion, but they paid nearly $30 billion in taxes. Their high profits are due to the increasing demand for oil by American and global consumers. And this demand isn't going to change. Also these profits go to shareholders--the thousands of Americans that own stock in oil companies. By punishing oil companies, Congress is hurting the average American who owns a little stock in oil companies.
The United States is the only industrial power in the world that does not take advantage of its own energy resources. We must drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Outer Continental Shelf. Our gas prices will fall if we are able to increase our domestic supply of oil.
Federal government restrictions are burdening the American consumer and private business. These restrictions have put a halt on building new oil refineries. In fact, it's been 32 years since the last US oil refinery was built in Garyville, Louisiana. These unnecessary restrictions and taxes are driving companies to move off shore where restrictions and taxes are less.
Congress must lift the unnecessary regulations on off-shore drilling. If Congress doesn't lift these restrictions, the American consumer will continue paying high prices for gas and the United States will remain dependent on 3rd world nations and Dictator Chavez.
And that's just the way it is.