Pump Prices A Reminder Fossil Fuel Dependence Hurts Average Americans

Pump Prices Prove Fossil Fuel Dependence Hurts US Economy

As Americans struggle with gas price surges following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, ditching fossil fuels makes even more sense. This is the argument presented by Senator Ed Markey, co-author of the Green New Deal, and Mark Wolfe, executive director of the National Energy Assistance Directors' Association.

In the last year, gas prices have increased from $2.85 to $4.23 per gallon due to the combined impacts of COVID on the supply chain, an increased demand, and the war in Ukraine. Rising prices harm middle- and low-income families least able to change their gas consumption, forcing them to go without other staples, such as food or prescription drugs. Markey and Wolfe believe that heightened gas prices should be used to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuel use toward cleaner, cheaper energy.

IEA: A 10-Point Plan to Cut Oil Use, March 18, 2022.

GMIS: The IEA's Roadmap to Net-Zero by 2050, July 25, 2021.

Why This Matters

Transformational change is needed now, based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest report. Cutting emissions of greenhouse gases requires reducing fossil fuel use immediately. A new study by climate scientists at Manchester University found that rich countries, including the US, must completely halt fossil fuel production within the next 12 years if we are to have any hope of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius in this century. Yet, oil and gas are still the most consumed energy sources in the US, according to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) annual energy outlook forecast and in 2021, carbon emissions hit their highest levels in the last 4.5 million years.

Reuters: 2021 saw jump in greenhouse-gas emissions, says report, January 10, 2022.

Ranking Charts: Top 10 Polluting Countries by CO2 Emissions (1840-2021), December 26, 2021.

The US At A Crossroads

To reduce the short term crush of gas prices, governments everywhere have argued for ramping up short term fossil fuel production. Senator Markey has been working on legislation that would ease the current prices, while also leaning into US climate goals. The SAVE Consumers Act, co-authored by Senators Ed Markey and Martin Heinrich, would allow the administration to advance the release of 265 million barrels of oil into the US market by the end of 2023 while banning Russian oil imports. Markey says the act:

…would ensure that we provide the American people with both short-term relief through the near-term deployment of a portion of our emergency oil reserve, while simultaneously establishing long-term resiliency by allowing the President to set energy efficiency targets for states during an energy supply emergency.

Markey has also introduced the Heating and Cooling Relief Act to help families pay their energy bills, ensuring that the transition to clean energy does not hurt American households. An immediate transition to clean energy is essential to protect the American economy.

TODAY: Off-Shore Wind Farms Provide Promising Roadmap For More Clean Energy, September 19, 2021.

WW0: Heather Zichal and Amanda Little WW0 Facebook Live conversation, February 18, 2021.