Skip to main content

Rising Cost of Fuel is Hurting Americans, “It Scares Me”


06.29.22

American energy has been under attack since day one of the Biden administration. This has resulted in record high gas prices and record high inflation that touches the lives of every American and every part of our economy.

Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans and Natural Resources Committee Republicans recently held a joint forum on rising costs that are hurting American families and businesses. Energy and Commerce Republicans continue to lead and urge President Biden to flip the switch for more American energy and lower prices across the nation.

The members heard from Americans from across the country who are feeling the pain of Biden’s energy crisis—people like Josh Akridge from Alabama, Andy Juris a farmer from Washington state, and Tim Welbaum from Michigan.

Here’s what Josh, Andy, and Tim had to say.

Josh Akridge, Owner, Hen Ridge Dirtworks: “This fuel thing has crippled us. I’ve never seen nothing like this in my whole life.”

“We have become very creative in order to survive, but when I see guys we consider giants in this industry shutting down it scares me,” Akridge said. “Our creditors do not care about the cost of fuel. Our employees have families to feed and hospital bills to pay. We owe it to them to keep trying.”

Andy Juris, Vice President, Washington Wheat Growers: “Fuel is one of the essential components that powers the food security that America has enjoyed since the Great Depression.

“Recently there has been quite a bit in the news regarding the supply chain disruptions that have affected fertilizer, crop protection chemicals, and ag equipment repair parts. And it’s putting a lot of strain on the stability of American agriculture.

“Farmers are doing their best to mitigate these risks. This may include using less fertilizer which can result in less yield, switching to tillage or no till practices and running older equipment that’s easier to repair. However, fuel stands alone as something that at a certain level, we cannot operate without. Trucks can’t haul a crop halfway, and you can’t only harvest half a field. We need fuel.”

Tim Welbaum, Owner, Visiting Angels South Central Michigan: “Now, it’s become nearly impossible to find caregivers who can afford to drive an hour or more roundtrip to work one and a half to two hour shifts for the wages they make. It doesn’t matter how big their hearts are, it doesn’t pay for the gas they need in their tanks.”

[…]

“Now we’re at a point where if we raise service rates any higher, it’s going to force the majority of our seniors out of their homes, and into nursing homes because it’s so unaffordable.”

In addition, don’t miss these highlights from members on why we must deliver relief, lower prices, and more American energy to these hardworking Americans and their families.

Energy and Commerce Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ (R-WA) prepared remarks:

THE CHALLENGES FACING WASHINGTON WHEAT FARMERS

“High gas prices are putting a strain on farmers in my home state of Washington, where we produce much of the fruit, dairy, and grain that feeds Americans and the world.

“In my district, Whitman County is the number one wheat producing county in the country and farmers in the entire state export over $2.5B in wheat each year.

“That’s why it’s so important to hear about the burdens gas prices are having on wheat growers. I am pleased to welcome Mr. Andy Juris, with the Washington Wheat Growers, to help us understand the challenges that high gas prices have created for Washington farmers.”

FLIP THE SWITCH ON AMERICAN ENERGY

“The first step to getting gas prices back under control is to flip the switch on American energy production.

“We need to reverse the disastrous anti-fossil fuel policies imposed by the Biden Administration.

“We need to restart energy infrastructure projects like pipelines and refinery expansions.

“We need to give the green light to banks and financial institutions to lend and invest in fossil fuel companies for today and the future.

“With solutions like the American Energy Independence from Russia Act that I’m leading on with my friend Bruce Westerman, the Republican Leader of the Natural Resources Committee, Republicans stand ready to unleash American energy, make it affordable again, and reverse the damage caused by the Biden administration.

“I look forward to hearing from our participants today from all over the country who share in these goals, too.”

Excerpt from Natural Resources Republican Leader Bruce Westerman’s (R-AR) opening remarks:

“Gas prices affect daily life of Americans and small businesses across the country. We are hearing stories of people who are nearly unable to afford their drive to work.

“Rolling blackouts have been projected across huge areas of the country – for instance, the Midwestern energy grid is short the power needed for 3.7 million homes.

“Despite all of this, President Biden refuses to take meaningful action. His releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which was supposed to be kept for true emergencies such as war, had no tangible or lasting effect on gas prices.

“The administration continues to blame everyone but themselves, pointing the finger at energy producers and now refineries, which are already running at 94 percent capacity.

“Now, the President is planning another trip to Saudi Arabia to beg them for more oil instead of allowing U.S. producers the freedom they need to meet market demands.

“Unless there is a major shift, I fear the situation will just keep getting worse.

“We are here today to hear from our constituents about the challenges they are facing due to this crisis.

“Congress should be talking about real solutions every day until our constituents see some relief, and that is what we intend to do.”

Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI): “The energy affordability crisis impacts every facet of our society. Record high prices at the pump are not just a problem when you fill up your car.

“It’s making everything more expensive. Our farmers, our manufacturers, our service industry, and our vital healthcare workers are all feeling the pain from this administration’s lack of action to boost American energy independence and security, which we had less than two years ago. And because of it these workers are faced with an impossible choice, raise costs for their customers or hurt their own livelihoods.”

[…]

“Today we’ve had the privilege of hearing from real world participants, from one of those vital healthcare workers from my district in fact.”

[…]

“Tim owns and operates Visiting Angels, a senior homecare and living assistance company that helps support and care for the most vulnerable of our population, our elderly.”

[…]

“These Angel Companions travel all across our district from Jackson to Sand Creek, from my hometown Tipton, all the way to Hillsdale.

“People depend upon Tim and his wonderful team to be there for them but with the cost of gasoline well above $5 in Michigan, that mission is becoming more difficult.”

Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX): “We all know since day one the administration has really waged war on American energy.”

[…]

“This affects much more than just the price at the pump. Inflation is up 8.6%, which is a 40-year high. Everything we buy is directly related to the energy crisis.”

Rep. John Joyce (R-PA): “There are energy resources under the feet of my constituents. The natural gas, the Marcellus Shale, the coal, the oil, is under their feet. And yet, under the current administration, President Biden has turned away from utilizing the God-given resources that we have in Pennsylvania, in America.

“They adopted one unfortunate promise. On day one, he canceled the Keystone XL Pipeline, and America is suffering. Their testimony, being with us here virtually today has only put an exclamation point on how much our constituents across a broad swath are suffering.”

[…]

“By refusing to issue any new leases for oil and gas production, the Biden administration has shunned American energy and instead turned to nations like Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.

“Congressional Republicans are ready to begin implementing policy that will ease the surge in prices and get our economy moving again. For example, the American Energy Independence from Russia Act will immediately approve the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline and allow for that needed increased production of oil, natural gas, and coal here in the United States.”

[…]

“Now is the time to unleash the energy reserves under the feet of my constituents and embrace American ingenuity to regain that necessary energy dominance that our nation should enjoy.”


Subcommittees
Energy (117th Congress)
Blog