Unclean Politics Means Unclean Energy

by Don Boudreaux on July 5, 2007

in Energy, Environment, Politics

In today’s Washington Times, my friend and co-blogger at Market Correction, Andy Morriss, nicely exposes the foolishness of the misnamed “Clean Energy Act of 2007″ (which the U.S. Senate recently approved).  Here are Andy’s final few paragraphs:

There is a way to improve energy security: unleash entrepreneurs. Refiners have been solving America”s energy problems since the start of the 20th century. When the U.S. faced a major gasoline shortage in 1910, entrepreneurs revolutionized refining technology and doubled gasoline yields. For the last 30 years, they”ve been boosting output from refineries, making it possible for our total capacity to rise even as older, less efficient refineries were closed.

In short, American refiners have regularly increased the quantity and quality of gasoline from each barrel of crude, and done it without Congress” advice.If we want to increase our energy security, we”ll stop changing the rules every time a politician needs an issue for his next campaign ad. Refineries, pipelines, and oil fields are all multibillion-dollar investments that take years to earn a return. The constant shifting of government rules undermines the certainty investors need before making such a large-scale capital commitment.

If we want to make America more secure, decrease gasoline prices, have cleaner fuels, and increase the reliability of supplies, we need to get the government out of the way of the entrepreneurs who can deliver those things.

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