This past month the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Counties (OPEC+) announced another oil production cut of 1.66 million barrels per day. OPEC+ comprises of countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Angola, Iraq, Kuwait, Venezuela, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, Russia, and others.
“A 6% jump in oil prices would boost retail gasoline prices 10 cents a gallon, said Mark Finley, an expert in energy policy at Rice University’s Baker Institute. “If oil hits $100 per barrel this year, count on a 50-cent per gallon hike,” he said.
California imports 59 percent of its oil from foreign counties, including OPEC+ member countries Saudi Arabia, Angola, Iraq, and Kuwait. We also import oil from Alaska (15 percent); the rest is produced in-state (26 percent).
For decades, state elected leaders have purposely made California dependent on foreign oil at the expense of our economy, residents, and workers.
California’s dependency on foreign oil creates economic vulnerabilities that are costing us more pain at the pump. Oil prices are influenced by production cuts, political instability, and other factors beyond California’s control.
Rock Zierman, Chief Executive Officer of the California Independent Petroleum Association, stated, “California-produced oil is also the only crude in the world compliant with the state’s climate regulations. Our oil producers must follow the state’s greenhouse gas reduction programs and account for all emissions, but oil imports are entirely exempt from these regulations. Foreign countries don’t pay local taxes that fund police, fire, roads, and schools, nor do they support local projects like affordable housing and higher education scholarships.
“How much will gas prices increase if 15,500 existing California wells are shut down and the supply shifts to imported oil?”
We can reduce our economic exposure by shifting toward domestic energy production, which can benefit California’s economy and environment and ensure that we are not reliant on oil-producing countries that may not have our nation’s interest at heart.