Longtime Rep. Fred Upton, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, tells Newsmax that gasoline prices will rise above $4 a gallon next year as the Obama administration continues to “stop or slow” production in the Gulf of Mexico.
The Michigan Republican also asserts that the administration is dragging its feet on approving an oil pipeline from Canada that he says is in America’s vital national interest.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Rep. Upton — who was first elected in 1986 — discussed the prospects for gasoline prices in the United States.
“Gas prices are around $3.80 now, but we’re expecting prices to creep back up to that $4.00 level before the end of the year, then stay there,” Upton says.
“It is supply and demand. We produce about 7 million barrels a day here in this country and we demand 19 million barrels. As long as those numbers stay the same, we are held hostage to the rest of the world.
“As the world economy begins to come back, we’re going to see these gas prices continue to inch up. Again, $4.00 by the end of the year, higher next year.
“A third of our supply comes from the Gulf. We’re going to be having a debate on the House floor about permits offered by the Department of the Interior. If they continue to stop or slow additional production in the Gulf, that has real long-term consequences as it relates to the price of gasoline at the pump in the years ahead.”
A bill introduced in the House would set a Nov. 1 deadline for the Obama administration to make a decision regarding the extension of the Keystone pipeline. The pipeline would bring oil from the Athabasca oil sands in Alberta, Canada, to refineries in the United States.
According to the Department of Energy, the pipeline would “essentially eliminate” our Middle East oil imports, but the administration has yet to approve the pipeline due to environmental concerns.
Asked if the pipeline is in the United States’ vital national interest, Upton responds: “I think that it is. It will bring us up to about 1.3 million barrels of oil a day from the oil sands in Alberta, almost doubling the input. And it will add 100,000 jobs. These pipelines aren’t cheap.
“Another thing: Canada is going to be doing this. They’re going to be producing almost 4 million barrels a day before the end of this decade, and if we continue to say no — and the State Department has been reviewing this now for almost three years — it’s going to go someplace else. The Chinese can hardly wait.
“We have to make a decision. It’s either going to come here or someplace else. We’d rather have it come to the United States. At least the Canadians are our friends.”
If the Obama administration rejects the pipeline, the big impact will be 100,000 lost jobs “and we’ll just have to import more from the Middle East and other places rather than our friends, the Canadians,” Upton tells Newsmax.
“We are reliant on fossil fuel. To turn our backs on our friends the Canadians would only send the price of oil up much, much higher than what it is today.
“Our focus has to be on jobs and the economy. You talk to the unions. They are very much in favor of this [pipeline] legislation because they know that it’s jobs.
“It passed in our committee by three to one because they understood the importance of this pipeline and the jobs that will be created.”