WASHINGTON, D.C. (KERO) — Gas prices continue to hover around record levels nationwide and this week leaders of many energy companies nationwide will be testifying in front of Congress. So is anything more expected out of Washington to bring relief to the pump?
To be clear Washington has done some things in the last few days. President Joe Biden has pledged to release one million barrels of oil a day for 180 days from the nation’s petroleum reserve. But since that announcement last week, other oil-enriched countries have not made similar pledges. And the markets have only moved marginally.
So what are additional options lawmakers have?
Option #1: Pressure oil executives to produce more oil and limit profits
This week, on Wednesday, the leaders of Shell, BP, Chevron, as well as ExxonMobil are expected to testify on Capitol Hill. With Democrats planning to push their companies to do more lower the cost.
Option #2: Fine oil companies for not drilling
The president has called on Congress to penalize companies that have leases to drill on federal lands but currently are not drilling. Energy companies have pushed back saying not every location is capable of producing oil. As a result, this idea is looking less likely to make it through a divided Senate.
Option #3: A gas tax holiday or rebates.
One Democratic idea is to send $100/month to every American making under $75,000 for the rest of the year as long as gas is above $4. But that idea still lacks the necessary support with some on Capitol Hill preferring a suspension of the federal gas tax instead, which is 18 cents a gallon.
But as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pointed out, "The con is the oil companies don’t pass that on to the consumer. They haven’t in the past.”