Making Nevada (and America) energy independent will cut costs better than gas tax holiday gimmicks
President Biden’s pronouncement of support for a three-month gas tax will do little to quell our soaring fuel costs. Since the first of the year, the cost of a gallon of diesel has gone up $2.22 in Reno and $2.83 in Las Vegas. Without legislative action, a gas tax holiday will not have an impact on the price of fuel at the pump — and will blow a $10 billion hole in the federal highway fund. We would be better served if our leaders instead focused on increasing our domestic supply of energy.
Nevada has the second-highest gas prices in the nation, behind California. And while Nevadans have always paid some of the highest fuel prices in the nation, these sustained price increases have real economic consequences. Unfortunately, with the cost of crude nearing $120 barrel and a chronically strained supply chain, America is facing a cost crisis that likely gets worse before it gets better.
The trucking industry delivers 96 percent of all manufactured goods in the Silver State. As the cost of fuel skyrockets, truckers cannot absorb additional fuel costs. These costs are passed along to their customers. Truckers across Nevada know that in inflationary times like these, our nation’s leaders should not be choosing to limit our supply of energy options. That’s why we are asking President Biden and our elected leaders to increase our energy supply, which will lead to lower fuel costs.
The Biden administration has a big choice coming up, one that will have a lasting impact on America’s energy supply for years to come: The current five-year offshore leasing program for our nation expires at the end of June. Normally, a proposed plan would already be in place to continue lease sales over the next five years, but the federal agency responsible for preparing the plan is already months behind schedule. Although the law requires a plan to be in place before July 1, the delay will result in no new lease sales for sixteen months or more, and it’s going to have an impact on energy consumers.
According to a recently released study, the Gulf of Mexico is projected to produce an average of 2.6 million barrels per day of oil and natural gas from 2022 to 2040. But if the administration chooses to stop selling leases for future exploration, we’ll soon see a 33 percent reduction in those numbers, meaning a reduction of 885,000 barrels per day. Reducing supply in a time of demand is going to increase costs for Nevadans even more, and further increase our dependence on foreign sources of energy. That’s an energy future our leaders should be doing everything possible to avoid.
The adoption of a new five-year offshore leasing program allowing for new lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico is critical to both America’s economic recovery. Failure to finalize a schedule of upcoming offshore leasing opportunities as soon as possible puts jobs at risk and will result in increased energy prices through the supply chain.
In a time when many Nevandans and Americans are in desperate need of economic relief, adopting a five-year program that includes lease sales this year gives the Biden administration a meaningful opportunity to take action on rising gas prices. Our country must use all our resources to lower energy costs and support the American economy. We should be focused on doing everything we can here to increase the supply of domestic energy, not relying on other countries, many of whom are hostile towards us, to increase their supply.
Adopting a common-sense energy policy that includes a full suite of domestic energy products is our best chance to lower costs for Americans and begin to rein in inflation. President Biden should take the lead in making this happen.
Paul J. Enos is the CEO of the Nevada Trucking Association. Previously, he served as the manager of government affairs for the Retail Association of Nevada. Born in Elko, Enos is a third generation Nevadan on his father’s side and fifth on his mother’s. He is an alumni of UNR and lives in Reno.