Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer evidently hasn’t visited a gas station this year. If he had, he’d realize that his recent diatribe against the oil industry is based on a complete fiction.
During a recent television appearance, Sen. Schumer lamented that “gas prices are sticky. You know when the price for oil goes up on the markets, it goes right up, but it never goes down.” New York’s senior senator further claimed that big energy companies are stifling competition to keep prices high.
These assertions are patently false, as anyone who has refueled his vehicle or paid a utility bill lately can attest. Our domestic energy boom has resulted in some of the lowest gasoline and electricity prices Americans have seen in decades.
American energy production has surged in recent years thanks to hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. These technologies have enabled energy companies to harvest oil and natural gas from America’s numerous underground shale rock formations. As recently as 2010, America trailed both Saudi Arabia and Russia in oil and gas development. Today, the United States is by far the largest producer of these fuels.
The nation’s energy dominance isn’t likely to subside anytime soon. A new report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects that domestic crude oil production will break all previous records in 2018, averaging 9.9 million barrels per day — a nearly 100 percent increase from 2008 levels. And the United States is producing so much natural gas that it became a net exporter for the first time in April, according to the International Energy Agency.
The massive increase in American production has broken OPEC’s stranglehold on the oil market and helped drive down crude prices from over $140 per barrel in 2008 to less than $50 per barrel today.
Gasoline prices, which closely track crude oil prices, have plummeted too — contrary to Mr. Schumer’s claims. In 2016, a gallon of regular gasoline cost only $2.15 on average. In inflation-adjusted terms, gasoline hadn’t been that cheap since 2003.
Motorists continue to enjoy low gasoline prices. Roughly a quarter of gas stations nationwide currently sell fuel for less than $2 a gallon. In early August, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline was only $2.32, compared to $4.11 in July 2008…