Energy Bill Will Gouge Consumers, Manufacturers

By June 14, 2007Energy

The National Review hits the right points, hits them hard, in today’s on-line editorial on the Senate energy bill.

Summertime is here, and with it, the annual spectacle of our representatives in Washington competing to see who can come up with the worst solution to the problem of higher gas prices. This year, Congress has outdone itself. The energy bill wending its way through the Senate this week would do nothing to reduce the price of gasoline. But if it’s most ambitious goals are realized, it might create gas shortages and make electricity more expensive.

The most lamentable aspect of the debate is that the congressional advocates of anti-“price-gouging” legislation are engaged in a profoundly cynical exercise. Scores of studies have refuted claims of oil company price-gouging, and the effects of price controls are well understood. (Shortages. Price controls cause shortages.) The advocates know all this, they grasp basic economics, but still they play the populist card, thinking it’s better to dupe than educate the public.

P.S. Drive Congress points us to this excellent Heritage white paper explaining the damage that would be caused by S. 1419, the Senate energy bill. Conclusion:

S. 1419 would likely accomplish little of benefit, but would come at a great cost to consumers. Missing from this bill is the real solution to high energy prices–increased supply. Washington could do much to increase access to restricted sources of domestic oil, and streamline the many regulations that have created refining bottlenecks. Unfortunately, S. 1419 does nothing to increase supply, focusing instead on misguided, anti-market measures that will likely add to the nation’s energy problems in the years ahead.

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