‘Unleash American energy today!’: Is Gov. DeSantis right?


Fact Box

  • Governor Ron DeSantis tweeted, “After begging for oil from dictators, Biden is now using emergency war powers to produce batteries for the 1% that drive electric cars. Most Americans suffering due to high gas prices don’t have the luxury of spending $50k+ on an electric car. Unleash American energy today!”
  • On February 11, 2022, the US Department of Energy announced their intent to invest $3 billion to strengthen clean energy development, including electric vehicles and energy storage. 
  • Biden ended the 12 year battle over the Keystone XL Pipeline after he decided to revoke the permit for construction his first day in office. In March 2017, President Trump announced approval of the presidential permit for the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline. 
  • According to The Electric Vehicle World Sales Database, global sales reached 6,75 million units in 2021, 108% more than 2020. 
  • As of March 28, 2022, AAA reported the national gas price average was $4.246 which is compared to $3.862 from the previous year.

Andrew (No)

Florida Governor, Ron DeSantis, has once again found a long-term political issue to confuse voters with, hoping to stir up his base. DeSantis suggests President Biden somehow has the power to flip a switch and turn on a bunch of American oil. This simply isn't the reality. Energy investment often takes years of exploratory drilling and construction to get oil flowing to consumers. Still, Governor DeSantis knows that Americans are hurting every time they fill up at the pump and is eager to take a cheap shot at the president. This isn't a solution; it's bad politics.

To achieve true energy independence and avert environmental catastrophe, America must move to renewable and green energy sources, something the Biden administration has pushed. While right-wing reactionaries want more short-term oil and ineffective policies like gas tax holidays, the real work must be done toward creating a sustainable future. We are in a unique moment in this period of time where geopolitical forces have caused a spike in oil prices. Our leaders should use this energy to push for real, meaningful change to our energy policies that will see us become not only independent of foreign oil, but largely free from fossil fuels altogether. Unfortunately, short-sighted policies like those put forward by Governor DeSantis are only designed to score cheap political points. Even if they could be implemented, they would only prolong our current dependence on fossil fuels that contribute to climate change endangering our species. 

Noah (Yes)

As gas prices have hit an all-time high, it's easy to blame the policy actions taken up and promoted by the Biden administration since day one of entering office. But it's true that canceling the Keystone XL pipeline certainly didn't help with gas prices, reinstating it would not immediately affect the issue as the problem is with supply and demand, not accessibility. Crude oil demand is extremely difficult to lower, so America must find a way to raise the supply. The Keystone XL does not increase the supply; rather, it increases the accessibility. Instead, we can look to the policy inaction of the Biden administration for the problem.

Supply can be increased by developing untapped wells. The US has 76 billion barrels of untapped oil in reserves, most of which are in west Texas.

President Biden issued a drilling moratorium in January, but the International Energy Agency reports it is likely to have little to no effect on climate change. Therefore, it's an unnecessary action that restricts American energy and decreases the supply of oil. Biden's drilling moratorium directly affects the number of employees in the drilling industry, which directly correlates with oil prices. The US could also release the strategic petroleum reserve. This would ensure a need to restock in the future and signal to drillers the prices won't be too low later on. 

Furthermore, unleashing American Energy would decrease the number of funds going to Russia, accounting for over a third of Russia's budget. If America stopped buying oil from Russia, it would cripple the Russian economy and be an effective sanction against them for their actions in Ukraine.

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