More Oil Drilling, Lower Gas Prices?

House Republican bill targets high cost of gasoline with more domestic production

Doc Hastings gas prices domestic production (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Gas Stations)

Doc Hastings

WASHINGTON -- A new bill proposed last week by House Republicans aims to lower gasoline prices by freeing up more domestic oil production.

The Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America that Works Act (H.R. 4899) would compel the government to increase oil and natural gas production through several steps, including:

  • Pursue new offshore drilling in areas rich with oil and natural gas, such as the Atlantic and Pacific coasts.
  • Conduct oil and natural-gas leases sales that it has delayed or cancelled.
  • Stimulate more offshore production by establishing equitable revenue sharing for all coastal states and U.S. territories.
  • Enact reforms to enhance the accountability, efficiency, safety and ethical standards of offshore energy operations.
  • Eliminate unnecessary delays in the leasing process for onshore oil and natural-gas projects on federal lands. The bill's sponsors note that all of the increase in oil and gas production has taken place on state and private land.
  • Encourage more timely development of federal resources by reforming the energy permitting process.
  • Set clear rules for developing oil shale resources.
  • Establish steps to form an "all of the above" energy plan that taps into federal resources.
  • Develop and transport oil and natural gas from the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska faster and more efficiently.
  • Modernize the bidding process for oil and natural-gas leases by allowing Internet-based auctions. 

The bill was introduced by House Natural Resources Committee chair Rep. Doc Hastings (Wash.) and Republican Reps. Doug Lamborn (Colo.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Scott Tipton (Colo.), Don Young (Alaska), Bill Johnson (Ohio), Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.), Bill Flores (Texas), Markwayne Mullin (Okla.), Rob Wittman (Va.), Jeff Duncan (S.C.), Rob Bishop (Utah) and Kevin Cramer (N.D.).

"From offshore to federal lands onshore, America has the oil and natural gas resources necessary to make us a world leader in energy production, isolate ourselves from volatile price spikes, and free ourselves from the grip of OPEC," said Hastings. "By unlocking our nation's own resources we can put over a million Americans back to work, breathe new life into our economy, and lower gasoline prices for American families and businesses."

Whether greater domestic production would actually lower gas prices is up for debate; many analysts have pointed to the fact that U.S. gasoline prices are ultimately tied to the global oil market, so more drilling and supply at home would be outweighed by greater demand from other countries driving up crude prices.