We need a smart energy policy

Todd Spencer
OOIDA Executive Vice President


For decades our country has operated without a long-term energy plan. This is not just a challenge to the current Congress and administration. It is something that previous presidents and Congressional leaders have wrestled with – managing to simply nibble around the edges, limping from one year to the next, or should I say one election to the next.

Our country needs smart, bipartisan energy policy that combines the best use of our own natural resources while directing revenue into our aging highway infrastructure. It also means addressing the reality of our policy – the same policy that brought us $140 per barrel oil and $5 diesel in mid-2008, contributing mightily to the recession. That was followed by a price free fall to $30 per barrel and diesel in the $2 range some nine months later, wiping out nearly all efforts at long-range energy planning.

We’ve been on the oil interest roller coaster for decades now. Is the ride starting to make you sick? It should, because even more thrills and new highs are just ahead. As oil prices fell in 2009, the companies responded by closing refineries. That’s right; they are closing refineries to shore up prices. And the next time our economy really does heat up, we’re sure to see $6 diesel. We need to cut our dependence on oil (both foreign and domestic), but it won’t happen without a long-term energy strategy.

The blame for our lack of a national energy policy does not lie with just one political party. Republicans, Democrats, and Independents all encounter the same challenges with strong arguments on both the far left and far right, but they never break through the clutter to compromise on policy that would make our country more self-sufficient, safer and stronger.

We need politicians – statesmen – who rise above the polarizing arguments that have doomed energy plans of the past to take the most commonsense approaches and make them work in the real world. LL