April 2012 CEA Newsletter
Issue 61


$1,000 for a tank of diesel, and other signs of growing pain

As gasoline prices moved closer to $4 a gallon and set a new record for the month of March, CEA President David Holt delivered two key messages to Congress in testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources on March 21. One, that we’re getting close to a “breaking point,” at which gasoline will become simply unaffordable for large numbers of American consumers; and two, that there are things the U.S. could be doing, today, to help lower prices.

Chances are, you are so focused on how your own household or business fuel costs have gone up that you haven’t fully absorbed the bigger picture. Holt testified – you can see his full testimony here – that Americans last year spent 8.5 percent of their income on gasoline and diesel. It’s a staggering figure that does not reflect the more recent price rise, or the burden rising gasoline prices pose to lower-income families.

Holt also spoke of the diverse group of consumers and businesses that are significantly impacted by rising fuel costs. One of the most memorable details from his testimony was that farmers are now paying about $1,000 to fill a typical tractor with diesel fuel. But that was just one of many details he offered. Fuel accounted for about one-third of total expenses for the airline sector in 2011. In the trucking sector, every one cent rise in the price of diesel increases industry costs by $370 million.  Moreover, CEA’s online community has taken to our Facebook page to discuss how significantly high fuels costs have affected their normal routines.  As gas prices have surged, individual consumers have been forced to cut back on other expenses, such as eating out or taking a vacation, which ultimately harms those small businesses that depend on these customers.

Saying, “no to energy production is no longer an answer,” said Holt. “We’ve got to find sensible ways to say yes. Yes, we can develop our natural gas and crude oil in a sensible, logical, responsible way. Markets respond to action.”

Holt went on to explain why those who said that the U.S. had no power to influence prices were wrong. If you consider the additional supply from approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, production in the oil-rich Outer Continental Shelf of Alaska, and increased production in the Gulf of Mexico, where output is down as much as 170,000 barrels per day from recent years, it would add up to additional domestic supply of 2.3 million additional barrels of oil per day. And you’d be hard pressed to suggest that 2.3 million barrels per day wouldn’t make a difference in the balance between supply and demand that ultimately impacts prices.

In a recent blog post, we outline why the U.S has increasing influence over world oil prices, thanks to a shale boom and new technologies to access vast oil resources from Texas to Alaska. It’s important to keep that in mind as we consider the high prices we’re all paying for gasoline and hear policymakers weigh in. Yes, the pain is real. But so too are the remedies at our disposal.

David Holt

Looking Forward to Energy Day 2012

CEA is looking forward Energy Day 2012 which will take place at Hermann Square, City Hall in Downtown Houston, Texas on Saturday, October 20, 2012. The festival will feature  live music, food, contests and most importantly interactive exhibits and demonstrations showcasing all forms of energy from oil and natural gas to solar and hydropower and everything in between, as well as efficiency and conservation.

CEA will continue working with our Academic Partners to engage students in energy education through the Energy Day Academic Program (EDAP).  EDAP was created to reward students who strive for greatness in energy-related academic competitions that run throughout the school year.   Those who win at an Energy Day Academic Program event will be awarded for their excellence and commitment to energy and education.  The 2012 Energy Day Academic Program consists of the following competitions:

May 18, 2012: Houston: Energy City of the Future 2050 Competition

May 19, 2012: The Children’s Museum of Houston Young Inventors’ Showcase on

Spring 2012: The HGS/HMNS/CEA Art, Essay & Media Contests

For more information on Energy Day 2012 or the 2012 EDAP events, please contact Kathleen Koehler at KKoehler@consumerenergyalliance.org.

CEA In the News

CEA rolled on through the month of March with a strong media presence.  Throughout the month CEA received media hits from all forms of media including radio, TV, blogs, news articles, press releases and more.  The topics with significant contributions to this success are the Gulf Coast Energy Summit and rising gas prices.

A few of the highlights of CEA’s recent media success:

  • Gulf Coast Energy Summit
    • Click here to view MSNBC’s coverage of the Gulf Coast Energy Summit.
    • You can also see local coverage of the Gulf Coast Energy Summit here and here.  To view please click.
    • The Washington Post wrote this piece which discusses the Gulf CoastEnergy Summit.
    • Yahoo discussed the Gulf Coast Energy Summit and the speeches presented by hopeful GOP Presidential candidates.  Yahoo wrote a second article which can be viewed here.
  • Rising Gas Prices
    • CEA authored this blog which discusses how actions matter in the effort to combat high gas prices.
    • CEA Executive Vice-President Michael Whatley contributed a Townhall piece that focused on the rising cost of gasoline.
    • David Holt authored this response on the blog National Journal.
    • Balanced Energy policy
      • CEA President David Holt wrote an Op-Ed which appeared in the Washington Times.  The piece focuses on the need for a robust, balanced, energy policy.
      • David Holt was also asked to appear in front of the House Natural Resources Committee in March.  He was asked to give expert testimony on rising fuel costs.  His testimony can be seen here.

That is just a small sampling of CEA’s public presence in the media over the past 31 days.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Craig Koshkin at CKoshkin@consumerenergyalliance.org.

Upcoming Events

HGS/HMNS/CEA Energy & Conservation Club Art, Essay & Media Contest
April 1-30, 2012
Houston, Texas

Consumer Energy Alliance is partnering with Houston Geological Society and Houston Museum of Natural Science Wiess Energy Hall’s Energy & Conservation Club to host our second annual art, essay and media contest.  These energy-based challenges invite children of all ages to compete for prizes ranging from $50-$250.

Download contest rules and entry forms

For more information on entering or questions, please visit www.energydayfestival.org or contact Kathleen Koehler at kkoehler@consumerenergyalliance.org.

Winning students will be recognized and receive awards at Energy Day and will be invited to display their projects at Energy Day on October 20, 2012.

American Trucking Association

The American Trucking Associations (ATA), founded in 1933, is the largest national trade association for the trucking industry. Through a federation of other trucking groups, industry-related conferences, and its 50 affiliated state trucking associations, ATA represents more than 37,000 members covering every type of motor carrier in the United States. Former Governor of Kansas Bill Graves is ATA’s President and CEO.

According to the ATA’s mission statement, their goals are “to serve and represent the interests of the trucking industry with one united voice; to influence in a positive manner federal and state governmental actions; to advance the trucking industry’s image, efficiency, competitiveness, and profitability; to provide educational programs and industry research; to promote safety and security on the nation’s highways and among drivers; and to strive for a healthy business environment

The management of the overall policy and direction of ATA is vested in its Board of Directors. All members of the Board of Directors must be members of a state association affiliated with ATA and members in good standing of ATA.  These Board members are tasked with making sure ATA fulfills its mission.

ATA is also working to enhance the image of the trucking industry, using ambassadors with millions of accident-free miles and decades of service to reach out to the public and their colleagues to show how integral trucking is to the life of every American. Through a public image campaign, the trucking industry conveys the fact that we deliver life’s essentials safely, securely, and on time.

For more information please visit the American Trucking Association website: www.moenergyfuture.org