Every day, gasoline prices set a new record. While some of the recent increase is attributed to uncertainty following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, prices have been shooting up for over a year and there’s no end in sight. That is why I am supporting legislation to suspend the gas tax and I joined a bipartisan group of legislators urging the Governor to take advantage of California’s abundant inland natural resources.
Instead, the Governor has offered only partial relief and tax rebates that will come far too late for many commuters.
With no oil pipelines connecting us to other states, California is an “energy island.” The oil we don’t produce is imported to us on supertankers, a major source of air pollution. We consume 1.8 million barrels each day, with 1.4 million imported from countries exempt from our environmental laws. While our oil reserves are among the world’s largest, state mandates have reduced production by 89,000 barrels daily since 2018 – and the Governor has failed to approve over 1,000 drilling permits. If the Governor wanted, we could eventually replace all the oil we import from Russia (6% of our own state supply).
Approving leases would generate high-paying jobs. Roughly one in seven workers in Kern County, which produces 70% of our oil and 90% of our natural gas, are employed by the energy industry. This provides 55,000 jobs for union members, veterans, second chancers with an average annual salary of $125,000, nearly double the national average!
With its strict environmental laws, California produces the only “climate compliant crude” in the world. Curtailing oil production here, while replacing it with non-compliant crude shipped thousands of miles from countries with lax environmental standards, costs us jobs, increases inflation, and degrades the environment – it is counterproductive on all levels. We must act now!