It’s summer again, which means travel for families as they load up their cars and make trips cross country.

Vacationers are feeling the financial strain this summer, though, with gas prices reaching new highs, surpassing records set during the financial crisis in 2008.

It’s no surprise gas prices have increased, as they always do at the start of summer. That’s basic law of supply and demand. However, the increase over the past several months is nothing short of ridiculous. When adjusted for inflation, the price of oil and gas is at higher levels than was even seen in the crisis and shortage era of the late 1970s.

As always, politicians love to weigh in and play the blame game, pointing fingers at one another. Democrats blame the oil company executives and add in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a kicker. When asked about the price of gasoline, President Biden has often replied with comments like “ask Putin” and blaming Russia for the increase. The president and his administration also point the finger of blame to the oil companies, claiming executives are purposely holding back drilling and exploration and create the high prices, which they say turns into high profits.

Republicans blame the Democrats and their lack of strong and sustainable energy policies. The Biden administration, Republicans claim, are thwarting production and exploration opportunities by halting federal leases on federal land and offshore. They also like to point to the administration’s cancellation of the permit for the Keystone Pipeline, which was granted by former President Trump in 2017.

As usual in political debates, the truth is somewhere in the middle. Democrats say the Keystone pipeline wasn’t operated by a U.S. company but by TransCanada Keystone, a Canadian company that was transporting Canadian crude. That is true, but what they fail to say is there was also American produced light-crude from the Williston Basin of North Dakota and Montana added to transport to the refineries. With cancellation of the pipeline project, the president stopped this portion of American production.

The president has accused company executives of increasing profits and has called on companies to increase production and drilling and to work with his administration to bring solutions to the crisis. However, the administration has stifled drilling and production through lease cancellations to appease radical leftists within the party who are pushing the Green New Deal agenda. Opinions are varied as to the benefits of electric vehicles, or EVs. It would still take power produce and to charge the expensive batteries needed, causing major strains on an already weak power grid and the added environmental costs of production of the batteries themselves.

While everyone appreciates progress and wants a clean environment, we must be totally prepared and have the infrastructure in place before buying these alternative vehicles in mass. We can work toward that end, but we are far from being there and will need to rely on fossil fuels for many years to come. In the meantime, there are things politicians can do to remedy the problems created by high gas prices. First, they need to stop playing the blame game and start working together to the benefit of their constituents regardless of political affiliation. Maybe they need to take a summer vacation and travel cross-country - and pay for the trip themselves, instead of at the expense of taxpayers. Then, maybe they would want to do something.

Randy Gibson, a Cherokee citizen, is CEO of RDG Communications Group, LLC, and President of Maloy PR, LLC. 

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