With So Much Domestic Oil Production, Why Are Gas Prices So High?
America's producing more domestic oil and relying less on foreign oil than we have in years, but Republican politicians and their media allies are falsely blaming the president for high gas prices—while defending tax giveaways to Big Oil and Wall Street whose excessive speculation is driving up prices.
If Republicans really cared about high gas prices, they wouldn't keep us hooked on oil.
Connect: Americans want relief from the pain they're feeling at the pump—not political games.
State of play: America's producing more domestic oil and relying less on foreign oil than we have in years. But the GOP is still trying to shift the blame for high gas prices while protecting Big Oil and Wall Street.
Define: Republicans are using false claims to blame the president—and promoting false solutions that won't lower gas prices, but will raise Big Oil's profits.
Discredit: Republicans are actually claiming that more power for Big Oil and less oversight for Wall Street will help Americans pay less at the gas pump.
Expose: It's no surprise they'd protect Big Oil and Wall Street every step of the way and cheer when gas prices are high—they'd rather see Obama lose than America win.
Tweet: High gas prices—You pay, Big Oil gets paid and the GOP gets paid off. #GetUnhooked
Tweet: Is the GOP seriously claiming that more power for #BigOil=less pain at gas pump for Americans? Seriously?
Attacks and Responses:
- Let's get the facts straight—The summer before Bush left office, gas prices had actually hit a record high of more than $4.10 a gallon. Gas prices had hit bottom when Obama became president because of the economic downturn Republicans helped cause.
- The truth is that U.S. oil production is the highest in years and America is the closest it's ever been to energy independence.
- If Republicans really cared about high gas prices, they wouldn't keep us hooked on oil. Americans want relief from the pain they're feeling at the pump—not political games.
- Experts—even TransCanada's own people—agree: Keystone XL is not the solution for how much American drivers pay at the gas pump.
- That's because the pipeline is designed to transfer the excess of cheap oil from the Midwest to overseas markets. If anything, this will actually raise gas prices in the Midwest, dinging drivers by as much as 20 cents per gallon.
- TransCanada, the company trying to build Keystone XL, admits foreign Big Oil will rake in an extra $2 billion to $4 billion per year in profits thanks to higher oil prices in the Midwest.
- With Keystone, Big Oil gets billions, foreign countries get the oil, and Americans get all the risks—including higher gas prices.
Attack: "Drill here. Drill now. Pay less."
- Actually, we are drilling—U.S. oil production is the highest it's been in years—and gas prices have still gone up.
- Oil companies are still raking in record profits, charging us $4 a gallon, and collecting billions every year in taxpayer handouts.
- The only way to protect American families and businesses—the entire American economy—from volatile gas prices is to kick our dependence on oil.
- So instead of protecting Big Oil at the expense of taxpayers, let's invest in cleaner, safer sources of energy that will put millions of Americans back to work and won't ever run out.
What You Need to Know
- Excessive Wall Street speculation is driving up gas prices, but Republicans in Congress keep trying to roll back Wall Street reform and cut funding for the oil market watchdog agency.
- The U.S. is now closest we've been in almost 20 years to achieving energy self-sufficiency.
- For the first time in 13 years, America is importing less than half of the oil our nation uses.
- Domestic oil output is the highest in eight years.
- The number of oil drilling rigs in the U.S. has quadrupled over the past three years—hitting a new record. Between oil and gas drilling rigs, the U.S. now has more rigs at work than the rest of the world combined.
- Over the past five years, Big Oil raked in more than half a trillion dollars in profits and laid off more than 10,000 Americans.
- The five largest, most profitable oil companies in the world—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell—are getting more than $20 billion in taxpayer-funded subsidies even though they are raking in massive profits.
- Oil and gas companies spent nearly $20 million to elect Republicans to Congress in the last election cycleand almost $150 million on lobbyingin 2010 alone.
- Republicans in Congress have voted in lockstep to keep tax subsidies for Big Oil even though 75 percent of Americans want to get rid of them.
- Clean energy is the fastest growing industry in the U.S. today and creates three times as many jobs as fossil fuels. In fact, analysts believe that developing new clean energy technologies like wind and solar could support 20 million jobs by 2030 and generate trillions of dollars in revenue.
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It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.
Keeping Schools Safe<p>What will safer schools look like?</p><p>In a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766822" target="_blank">JAMA article</a> published last month, <a href="https://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/1781/joshua-m-sharfstein" target="_blank">Dr. Joshua Sharfstein</a>, a pediatrician and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, outlined suggestions — many of which are similar to AAP's.</p><p>Remote learning protocols must stay in place, especially as some schools stagger home and in-building learning. If another shutdown needs to occur, children will rely on distance learning completely, so it must be easy to switch to, he said.</p><p>He suggested giving parents a daily checklist to document their child's health. Kids should be screened quickly on arrival and be given hygiene supplies. Maintenance staff should use appropriate PPE and have regular cleaning schedules. A notification system should be in place if a case is identified, Sharfstein recommended.</p><p><a href="https://www.albany.edu/rockefeller/faculty/erika-martin" target="_blank">Erika Martin</a>, PhD, an associate professor of public administration and policy at University at Albany, said nutrition assistance and health services should be included. She called for tutoring programs with virtual options as well as technology access.</p>
Supporting Staff<p>Teachers and staff will be affected by safeguarding measures, noted <a href="https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/rachel-widome" target="_blank">Rachel Widome</a>, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota.</p><p>"In order for all of the in-school precautions to work well, we'll be asking a lot of teachers and staff," Widome told Healthline. In addition to their usual workload, they'll now be asked to monitor mask-wearing, ensure children are keeping distance, and be aware of any symptoms.</p><p>Along with Sharfstein, Widome called for an increase in financial support. More employees will likely be required so teachers and staff members can keep up with the added demands.</p>
Should Kids Go Back?<p>While these guidelines may help get some schools to reopen, many people don't think children should go back to school over fears they could contract the disease and spread it to other vulnerable family members like grandparents, infant siblings, or their parents.</p><p>In a <a href="https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2020/07/08/peds.2020-004879" target="_blank">Pediatrics</a> commentary, <a href="https://www.md.com/doctor/william-raszka-md" target="_blank">Dr. William V. Raszka, Jr.</a>, an infectious disease specialist at The University of Vermont Medical Center, argued that schools should open because school-aged children are far less important drivers of COVID-19 than adults.</p><p>But he says the risk and benefit is not equal among all students ages 5 to 18.</p><p>"Elementary schools are arguably higher priority for face-to-face schooling, since younger children are at lower risk for infection and transmission, and since parental supervision of younger children's distance learning may be particularly challenging," added Sorensen, who penned a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2767411" target="_blank">June article in JAMA</a> with reopening tips. "That means middle and high schools are more likely to emphasize distance learning."</p><p>Specific student populations, such as special education students and students with disabilities, would also benefit greatly from more time spent in face-to-face environments, Sorensen said.</p>
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