Along with gas prices, temperatures are are inching up, which means more Americans are starting to use their air conditioners. Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, says things may not be as bad this year as they were in 2022, but paychecks can only be stretched so far.
She has a number of solutions to help bring down the prices for consumers.
"The Department of the Interior can issue permits for oil and gas drilling. The Department of Energy could move forward with permitting for export terminals," she begins. "FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) could approve pipelines. The president could support efforts coming out of Congress. Senator [Joe] Manchin (D-WV) has been urging permitting reform, which includes reducing the time to do environmental impact analysis."
The Biden administration wants to transition the country away from fossil fuels and replace them with wind and solar energy, but Sgamma sees problems with that.
"The more wind and solar you install, the more your electricity prices go up. Just look at Germany and California," she notes. "The bottom line is you have to back up that wind and solar with natural gas or coal or nuclear. So you end up having more electricity capacity, because when the wind doesn't blow and the sun doesn't shine, you have to fill it with something."
The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that in 2022, about 22% of generated electricity was from renewable energy sources. About 60% was from fossil fuels.
Sgamma concludes that the best way to reduce price volatility is to "unleash American oil and natural gas." That, she says, keeps prices low for consumers.