Restrictive energy policies cause U.S. dependence on foreign oil
The remedy for energy price spikes and control of U.S. energy prices by the Organisation of Oil Producing Countries (OPEC), says economist William L. Anderson, is the repeal of restrictive U.S. energy policies that have exacerbated our dependence on OPEC oil. Do away with policies aimed at forcing individuals and businesses to "conserve" energy beyond what they would naturally do given market prices.
Among his recommendations:
Do not enact new taxes aimed at forcing up gasoline prices and depressing demand, because such measures would artificially and uneconomically depress current demand but do nothing to encourage oil companies to produce more oil and gas.
Do not increase Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards "feel-good" measures that distort production markets by overvaluing fuel and undervaluing other resources, while doing little to reduce gasoline consumption.
Instead, the U.S. government should take the following steps:
Deregulate oil and gas markets so that consumers and producers may enjoy the benefits of free markets.
Enact common sense environmental regulation, including the opening of oil fields offshore and in Alaska.
Cut gasoline taxes, because a "true" free market price would more accurately reflect conditions of supply and demand and provide markets that are much better suited to meet Americas energy needs.
Each of these measures, Anderson says, will permit oil markets in the U.S. not only to work properly, but also to make the economy less vulnerable to periodic oil shocks due to overseas events.
Source: William L. Anderson, Uncle Sam's Energy Mess: How the U.S. Government Empowers the OPEC Cartel and Takes Power from the People, Studies in Social Cost, Regulation, and the Environment No. 5, March 2001, Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation.
For IRET text ftp://ftp.iret.org/pub/SCRE-5.PDF
For more on Energy & Environmental regulations http://www.ncpa.org/iss/ene/
FMF Policy Bulletin\4 December 2001
Publish date: 11 December 2001
The views expressed in the article are the author’s and are not necessarily shared by the members of the Foundation.