DES MOINES, Iowa — U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said the Biden administration’s views on energy production balance two priorities:
- Meet increased demand for oil (fueled by Russia’s attack Ukraine)
- Expand cleaner, greener energy industries
Granholm predicted that the United States will produce a record amount of oil in 2023 in response to the increased need for domestically-produced fuel.
“The reason we want to see more production right now is because when Russia invaded Ukraine…and they’re a big exporter of oil, that pulled a bunch of barrels, you know, millions of barrels off the market,” Granholm told WHO 13 from her office in Washington, D.C., “and so that supply crunch is what caused these prices to go up so much.”
Granholm said that the release of tens of millions of barrels of oil from the nation’s strategic reserves helped to lower gas prices. Prices fell 70 straight days, the second longest streak on record according to AAA. On Wednesday, Iowa prices averaged $3.56 per gallon, down 25% from their peak of $4.76 on June 15th.
The record oil barrel release from the reserves depleted the supply to its lowest level in 37 years.
The Biden administration’s support for increased oil production comes at a time when it is also supporting additional efforts to minimize climate change by expanding alternative energy sources like electric vehicles, solar, wind and biofuels. Granholm argued that isn’t a contradiction in priorities. Rather, she said, that increased oil production addresses the immediate need, while the focus on other sources looks to the future.
“We know it’s a transition,” Granholm said.
U.S. Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks, an Ottumwa Republican running for re-election in what will be the state’s newly-configured 1st Congressional District, toured several energy providers Sunday and Monday with two Republican colleagues: Drew Ferguson of Georgia and Jack Bergman of Michigan.
The trio pushed for more flexibility for the states from the federal government when it comes to energy production.
Miller-Meeks said that she supports a variety of energy producers. She cited renewable fuels, solar, wind and agricultural waste. She has questions about electric vehicles and whether they will provide a battery charge that will prove sufficient for rural drivers who may commute greater distances and for drivers in colder weather when the charge decreases more quickly.
The legislators say states may have energy industries that better fit their individual needs compared to other alternatives, another reason they want increased independence. They are not pushing for specific changes in the federal government yet. Miller-Meeks said this was more of a “fact-finding effort” as they met with energy leaders.