The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

U.S. Solidly Backs Abundant, Affordable Energy

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted November 14, 2016

Last week API released results from election-night polling of actual U.S. voters that showed overwhelming support for increased domestic energy production, greater access to oil and natural gas reserves, broad support for more energy infrastructure such as pipelines and more. The numbers are landslide-like, with seven and eight Americans in 10 voicing support.

Lest there be any confusion about where the country stands on developing more domestic energy, Americans are casting pro-development votes each time they pull into a gasoline station to fill up and with every mile they travel. On the continued reliable availability of affordable fuel, Americans are putting on quite a display of solidarity.

This is reflected in data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). First, EIA tells us that U.S. summer gasoline use set a new high this year:

gasoline_consumption

EIA says U.S. gasoline consumption was 9.7 million barrels per day (b/d) in June, eclipsing the previous one-month high of 9.6 million b/d in July 2007. The June-July-August average of 9.62 million b/d increased by 169,000 barrels per day from the same period in 2015. More from EIA:

Based on initial data, EIA estimates U.S. gasoline consumption in September reached a record high for that month, continuing the trend of year-over-year growth in gasoline consumption seen in 2016. The latest data from the Federal Highway Administration show that U.S. vehicle miles traveled in June and July set consecutive record highs. Increased travel, because of a combination of generally low gasoline prices, growing employment, and rising wages, has likely contributed to continued growth in gasoline consumption this year.

EIA’s chart showing the climb in vehicle miles traveled:

vehicle_miles_traveledTo complete the picture, EIA forecasts that gasoline use will grow by 160,000 barrels per day this year and by 50,000 b/d in 2017 – noteworthy because previously the agency expected zero consumption growth next year.

The point worth underscoring is that robust and responsible U.S. oil and natural gas production keeps Americans going where they want to go. The domestic energy renaissance, which has made the U.S. the world’s leading oil and gas producer, has put downward pressure on global crude prices, leading to cost savings for consumers at the pump, with AAA estimating that Americans saved an average of more than $550 per licensed driver in 2015. Likewise, abundant shale gas put an extra $1,337 back in the average household budget last year. The U.S. energy surge is benefiting U.S. consumers.

Needed are policies to keep these trends going. We need increased access to domestic oil and natural gas reserves – which more than 80 percent of U.S. voters agree could lead to more jobs, economic growth and strengthened security.

We need infrastructure development to get crude oil to refineries and finished products to the marketplace – as well as natural gas pipelines to ensure that cleaner-burning gas and its benefits reach all parts of the country.

We need a reasonable approach to regulation and efficient permitting to foster safe and responsible development.

This the path that will help ensure growing U.S. energy security – one with which an overwhelming majority of Americans stand in solidarity.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Green joins API after spending 16 years as national editorial writer in the Washington Bureau of The Oklahoman newspaper. In all, he has been a reporter and editor for more than 30 years, including six years as sports editor at The Washington Times. He lives in Occoquan, Virginia, with his wife Pamela. Mark graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in journalism and earned a masters in journalism and public affairs at American University. He's currently working on a masters in history at George Mason University, where he also teaches as an adjunct professor in the Communication Department.