CEA: Develop Our Energy Resources to Grow the Economy
Restrictions on responsible development are preventing job creation, hamstringing economic growth

RICHMOND, VA – High energy costs — fueled by limited access to America’s vast energy resources — are holding back economic growth by keeping Americans unemployed and preventing the creation of new sources of wealth.

That was the message of Consumer Energy Alliance (CEA) executive vice president Michael Whatley in a speech today at the 2nd Annual Virginia Governor’s Conference on Energy. Whatley listed several examples of how the rising cost of energy impacts the entire American economy:

  • As of October 18th, the United States has sent abroad more than $292 billion for imported oil. Two million barrels of oil per day are being purchased from the Middle East alone.
  • The trucking industry will spend $138.7 billion this year on fuel, which is $37.2 billion more than in 2010. This translates into higher costs for deliverable goods and services, costs that are passed on ultimately to consumers.
  • U.S. passenger and cargo airlines will spend $14 billion more this year on jet fuel than they did in 2010, even with substantial improvements in fuel efficiency that have reduced annual consumption by 12%.
  • High fuel prices disproportionately impact rural families to face longer commutes, as well as rural businesses who must pay more to have goods shipped into and out of their communities.

“The good news is that these policies and their impacts can be reversed,” said Whatley, who also outlined how energy development can help pick up the economy. “A recent study by IHS-CERA projects that returning the permitting rate in the Gulf of Mexico to its normal level would create 230,000 new jobs in the region. Increasing access to U.S. energy resources, according to the American Petroleum Institute, would create 530,000 new jobs and generate $1.7 trillion in new government revenues. And of course, opening up the Outer Continental Shelf off the coast of Virginia for exploration and production would create approximately 1,900 new jobs in Virginia, add $365 million per year to the gross state product, and generate nearly $20 billion in new revenues at all levels of government.

“With unemployment stuck above 9% and the threat of a double dip recession looming, we need more than ever an energy policy that will allow development of America’s vast energy resources – from coal, natural gas, wind and nuclear, to oil, biofuels and solar. This will not only create jobs and grow the economy, but will also ensure that our families, farms, factories, and businesses have access to the affordable and reliable energy that they need.

“We appreciate Governor McDonnell’s leadership on energy issues and appreciate his understanding of the role that energy can play as a job creation and economic growth engine.”

Earlier this year CEA launched Open the Gulf, which details the impacts that high energy costs and the slowdown in drilling in the Gulf of Mexico are having on Americans all across the country. In June, CEA also released a report entitled “Energy, Jobs and the Economy” that detailed sector-by-sector how rising energy prices are slowing down the economy.