The plea from Senate Democrats contradicts their climate agenda.
by The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board, February 11, 2022
The contradictions of climate politics keep piling up, and the latest is a call from Democratic Senators running for re-election this year to suspend the federal gas tax. Hello? Isn’t the point of Democratic climate plans to raise the price of fossil fuels so we use less? Or at least it is until rising gasoline prices begin to have political consequences.
Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly and New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan on Wednesday introduced legislation to waive the 18.4 cent per gallon federal gas tax through 2022—long enough to get them past tough re-elections in November. Co-sponsors include Georgia’s Raphael Warnock and Nevada’s Catherine Cortez Masto —also up in November—as well as Michigan’s Debbie Stabenow and Nevada’s Jacky Rosen.
Gas prices this past year have risen a dollar on average to $3.44 per gallon. A federal gas tax suspension would lower prices to where they were in October, assuming oil prices don’t climb more. Crude prices recently passed $90 per barrel amid geopolitical tensions and could go higher than $100 this summer.
Democrats are blaming everyone but President Biden. “Rising gas prices are a global issue caused by the behavior of Russia and other factors,” said New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney before kicking off a House hearing Tuesday in which Democrats accused big oil companies of broiling the planet. The progressive cognitive dissonance is really something.
Ms. Maloney is right that oil prices are dictated by global supply and demand. But the U.S. was the world’s swing producer before the pandemic. Now that distinction goes to Saudi Arabia, as U.S. producers have cut investment amid an increasingly hostile political climate.
The Biden Administration has slow-rolled oil and gas permits, halted lease sales on federal land, suspended leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and pushed financial regulation to deny capital to fossil fuels—all while activist progressive investors abet the industry’s strangulation. New York’s $280 billion state pension fund this week said it would divest from 21 shale companies.
“As market forces and new policies drive the energy transition, we must align our investments with a profitable and dynamic future,” Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said. Funny, oil and gas companies are nine of the S&P 500 index’s top 10 performers this year.
Another rich irony: Senate Democrats who want to suspend the gas tax support President Biden’s Build Back Better Act that would impose myriad new taxes on U.S. oil and gas. But shhhh, keep that one quiet from voters.