I was recently asked what I would do to solve our gas price situation. My solution is to remove the government from the equation.
First, I would enact the FairTax. Granted, this is a more all-encompassing solution to other problems in our over-taxed society, but it would have a marvelous impact on the oil industry. Without burdensome corporate taxes on oil manufacturing, the oil industry would have more funds for exploration, drilling, and refining. On a side note, it would also place the tax burden where the environmentalists claim to want it: on consumption, at the retail level.
Second, I would open ALL federal lands and coastal areas for drilling, with the only exception being historic landmarks and locations with buildings on them. Oil companies would bid on the exploration and drilling leases as they do now.
Third, I would end all federal subsidies for ethanol production. It is a waste of money and energy, that is only creating a food crisis. In addition, it would remove a big disincentive from the oil industry: One of their main excuses for not building more refineries has been the amount of money the government has poured into alternative energy.
Fourth, ease the environmental restrictions on construction of oil wells and refineries. Of course, the oil companies will still have to deal with localities where they build these structures, but at least the federal government will be less of a factor. Specifically, I would eliminate any federal restrictions based on threats to wildlife. Sorry polar bears, but my tank of gas is MORE important than your existance. If you can't survive an oil well being built, then you don't deserve to live.
Fifth, we need significantly more nuclear power plants in this country, therefore public utilities should enjoy the same benefits mentioned above as the oil industry. What does this have to do with oil? Simply put, most of the alternatives to oil will require large amounts of energy to implement, such as hydrogen power. Even if we don't implement these alternatives in the area of transportation, we need more and cleaner power as our routine energy consumption increases.
With all these carrots, if the oil industry can't find a way to bring prices down, THEN government intervention would be necessary. However, I don't think it will come to that. Most of these proposals should lead to immediate relief at the pumps, with future prices dropping even further.