Issues & Insights

Democrats Can’t Solve America’s Energy Problems Because They Don’t Recognize They Caused Them

With oil prices topping $125 per barrel as I write this, and gasoline prices averaging $4.25 per gallon for regular nationwide, the White House and Democrats in Congress persist in the delusion the U.S. economy can rapidly transition completely to green energy.

Their belief that wind, solar, batteries, and electric vehicles combined can effectively and cheaply power the nation while ending the use of energy sources that emit greenhouse gasses is foolish and belied by existing evidence. Joe Biden, et al., are so obsessed with the vain idea that we can control the weather 100 years from now, that even a war, ongoing pandemic, rapidly rising inflation, and economic and geopolitical perils looming around the world, won’t get them to reconsider their ongoing war on fossil fuels.

Therein lies the problem. The first step to getting out of a hole is to stop digging. Energy wise, Biden and the Democrats have put the U.S. in a hole and they won’t stop digging. They can’t solve our current energy problems because they don’t understand their policies are responsible for them.

Oil prices began climbing shortly after Biden was elected, well before Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. This was due in part to post-pandemic demand recovery. However, as detailed in a recent report from The Heartland Institute, the most important factor driving higher oil and gas prices was a series of anti-fossil fuel policies implemented by the Biden administration. Heartland’s analysis found the average American household spent about $1,000 more on energy in 2021 than in the year prior, largely due to Biden’s energy policies.

Biden’s response to high oil prices in his State of the Union address was to double down on the energy policies that produced them.

“Let’s provide investments and tax credits to weatherize your homes and businesses to be energy efficient and you get a tax credit; double America’s clean energy production in solar, wind, and so much more; lower the price of electric vehicles, saving you another $80 a month because you’ll never have to pay at the gas pump again,” Biden said.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki’s response to high energy prices was similarly off point, tweeting, “Production is up, rising, and approaching records, yet Russia’s actions still leave our consumers vulnerable. It’s a reminder that real energy security comes from reducing our dependence on fossil fuels.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer showed complete ignorance of America’s energy dependence on Russia when he dismissed increasing oil and gas production at a press conference saying, “the U.S. is a major oil producer; we only get 1% of any imports from Russia.” The New York Democrat was wrong. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports American oil imports from Russia grew to more than 8% of all imported oil in 2021 – Biden’s first year in office.

The EIA report also revealed oil imports from Russia to the U.S. in 2021 grew by more than 24% from the last year of Donald Trump’s presidency.

The amount of oil that would have been shipped daily through the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, roughly 850,000 barrels per day, would have more than supplanted all the oil imported from Russia daily. However, Biden canceled the pipeline on his first day in office.

Trump correctly saw climate change as something manageable and recognized the continued vital role fossil fuels will play in economic progress for decades to come. Trump charted a course for U.S. energy dominance. His policies made the U.S. a net energy exporter for the first time since the 1950s.

Republicans understand the problem. Senate and House Republicans have offered multiple bills to rescind Biden’s actions preventing pipeline development and slowing new oil and gas exploration and production. Democrats have said these bill won’t see the light of day as long as they control Congress. They don’t get it. Perhaps because they don’t get it, they won’t control Congress much longer.

Elon Musk, intrepid energy and space entrepreneur, gets it. Despite leading Tesla, the largest electric vehicle manufacturer in the world, which benefits from higher oil and gas prices, Musk recently called for increasing U.S. oil and gas production.

“Hate to say it, but we need to increase oil and gas output immediately. Extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures,” Musk tweeted to his nearly 63 million Twitter followers. “Obviously, this would negatively affect Tesla, but sustainable energy solutions simply cannot react instantaneously to make up for Russian oil and gas exports.”

Musk is putting the nation’s well-being ahead of his own self-interest. In this climate-woke day and age, that makes him a champion of reason as well as a patriot.

Democrats deny energy reality. In my opinion, that makes them fools and/or traitors.

The cartoon character Pogo’s quip, “We have met the enemy, and he is us,” was meant to be humorous. It’s never been truer than with the results from Biden’s climate-energy policies. And, it isn’t funny at all.

H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D. (, is the director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy at The Heartland Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research center headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois.

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1 comment

  • Sterling,

    In your article, you assume that the liberal left is ignorant of the harm they cause and I disagree completely. If you watch the liberal elites on television, you can plainly see their overt condescension and glee over the economic plight of average Americans. They know full well that their policies toward the oil & gas industry have caused prices to spike and inflation to soar.

    This is not an accident caused by their ignorance. It is deliberate malice on their part to cripple the middle class in America and their continued attempt to create a feudal society with themselves as the ruling class and the rest of us as serfs. Man made global warming (climate change) is simply the tool they are currently using to justify their desire to eliminate the growth of the middle class in America. They fully understand that inexpensive energy (oil & gas) “fuels” the economic grow of the middle class and allows all Americans to prosper and they hate it.

    Look at how the liberal left responded to the historic wage growth under the previous administration. The very first executive orders issued by the current President were an attempt to cripple the energy industry to raise energy costs and to open our southern border and flood the country with low wage workers. Both actions were directly aimed to reverse the economic growth of the middle class and send the country back to the Obama administrations’ new normal of stagnation.

    These actions were not the result of ignorance. They were the result of malice. Please stop trying to convince readers otherwise.

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