If you drive a car, you probably cringe every time you pass a gas station. The current national average is at $4.00 per gallon right now. Granted this is down about $0.10 from a couple weeks ago, but it is a hefty price to pay just to get from point A to point B.
Not only do high gas prices affect our personal financial situations, they also discourage the job market. Since we are stuck paying so much at the pump, we have a lot less to spend on extras. These extras usually include things like eating out and entertainment expenses. This means a big decrease in the amount of service jobs out there.
If the people aren’t out there spending money, then there’s no reason for stores to employ workers to stock shelves, sell movie tickets and wait tables. The customer service industry is a huge part of our economy, and they are definitely feeling the effects of high gas prices. With the price of oil deterring our job market, what are we doing to help solve this problem as a nation?
Well there is some good news on that subject. This past week, President Obama announced his plans to speed up domestic oil and gas drilling on public lands and waters. This would include plans for expanded drilling in Alaska and a review of the potential environmental impact of offshore drilling on the Atlantic coast.
Obama’s decision to move ahead with these plans came as a reaction to negative feedback from Republicans and business leaders concerning the current state of our domestic oil production. They complained that Obama’s anti-drilling policies were only helping to raise the gas prices and prevent new job creation.
As of right now, the policy for drilling off the Atlantic coast has it kept off limits until at least 2018. But can we really wait that long? If there are indeed massive reserves of oil below the Atlantic seabed, can we afford to preserve them and pay continually higher gas prices? Because that looks to be our future if we keep counting on other countries to provide the US with oil.
Exploring new options for domestic oil production has two huge benefits when it comes to the job market. The first and probably most obvious advantage is that the new drilling operations will instantly create jobs. If we are to set up offshore oil rigs and operations in Alaska, we will surely need thousands of workers to operate them.
The second positive effect that future domestic oil production will have on the US job market is that it will help drive down gas prices and keep them that way. This will help keep all those customer service workers employed, because Americans will in turn have more money to spend on the extras. If we don’t have to pay $5.00 per gallon, then maybe we will be able to afford dinner and a movie.
This all sounds fine and dandy, but even as I am writing I can only think of the BP disaster and see the future reincarnation of that catastrophe on the Atlantic coast. We still have a whole lot of work in cleaning up BP’s mess in the Gulf, and we should do all we can to prevent that from happening again.
So it’s a good thing that Obama is taking steps to review what kind of environmental impacts the Atlantic offshore drilling operations might have before going ahead with it. My only request to the Commander in Chief is that we maybe, just possibly might want to not let BP anywhere near our new domestic drilling operations.
- Obama to fight gas prices by increasing oil production (ctv.ca)
- With gas costs high, Obama to speed oil production (seattletimes.nwsource.com)