DoE Secretary Chu: Gas Prices Hurt, But Oil Dependency Worse

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Dr. Steven Chu

Dr. Steven Chu

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Unless you don’t drive a gasoline-powered car, the chances are you’ve noticed the spike in gasoline prices lately. 

But according to the U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Steven Chu,  the U.S. Department of Energy isn’t about to intervene with a knee-jerk reaction designed to immediately drop gasoline prices. 

Instead, reports,  the DoE is focusing on a longer-term strategy that both lowers energy prices and reduces the dependence on oil-based fuels. 

“We agree that there is great suffering when the price of gasoline increases in the United States and so we are very concerned about this,” Chu told the House Appropriations energy and water subcommittee. “As I have repeatedly said, in the Department of Energy, what we’re trying to do is diversify our energy supply for transportation so that we have cost-effective means.”

Under pressure from Rep. Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.), who blamed the current administration for the doubling of gasoline prices over the past term, Chu continued to outline the DoE’s long-term goals. 

Gas prices

Gas prices

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“The overall goal is to decrease our dependency on oil, to build and strengthen our economy,” he explained. “We think that if you consider all these energy policies, including energy efficiency, we think that we can go a long way to becoming less dependent on oil and [diversifying] our supply and we’ll help the American economy and the American consumers.”

The rising price of oil, Chu said, would help expedite the development  and adoption of alternative energy transport solutions.

Among them, Chu highlighted the developments of Evnia Systems -- whose breakthrough battery technology promises to revolutionize the range and cost of plug-in vehicles -- as well as research being undertaken by the DoE to reduce the cost of compressed natural gas tanks for vehicles. 

As for rising gas prices? After the subcommittee ended, a spokesperson for the DoE confirmed to Politico that the DoE is working with the International Energy Agency to monitor global oil supply and prices. 

The DoE has also confirmed tapping the U.S’ Strategic Petroleum Reserve to provide immediate gas price relief has not been ruled out yet. 


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Comments (10)
  1. The GOP thinks that when they get gas prices up above 5 dollars a gallon, it will make Obama look worse than Bush looked with 4 dollars a gallon. We are not that stupid; we know that these gas hikes are a left over from the Bush regime and it is going to make Obama look better when the electric cars come rolling off the line and we will no longer need to be concern about what's going on at the pumps because we will no longer have a need to stop there...just smile and drive on by.

  2. do you have a couple of places that gas prices start below $4?

  3. I think the title of this article says it all. And you know what I'm going to do when I hear people complain about the gas prices.... laugh. I'm going to laugh because of all the people that are dismissive of hybrids and electric cars, until something like this happens. This is one of the reasons to go electric, the oil industry is unstable, you don't care when it's down but the increasing instability will catch up.

  4. I'm with you. Bought the Prius in 2006 and people thought I was an idiot and told me so. I was shock to see the extreme unprovoked negative reaction from some quarters. Last time gasoline reached $4/gallon, some of those same people came back to me with a great deal of interest in hybrids. When gasoline reaches $5/gallon, I expect a lot more inquires.

  5. I remember the last time gas prices went down my local news reported that hybrid sales were going down and truck and SUV sales were rising. And I just thought "they're gonna be sorry", I was also amazed by this report because the prices hadn't really gone down that much. When prices are down the Prius is looked at as boring, when gas is up people point at the Prius like its an Italian super car.

  6. Is anyone else puzzled by the "doubling of gas prices over the last term" statement? Is that true? What is the average price now and what was it in 2009?

  7. In West Virginia, when Clinton left office gas was 1.36G and we were 1.3 trillion in the black. When Bush left office gas was 4.09G, down from 4.15G, and we were 3.9 trillion in the red; gas has roller coasted from 2.69G to 4.00G ever since, and now it is predicted to go over 5.00G by May. The rising gas prices could have something to do with Bush walking down the street holding the Sody Prince's hand like they were boyfriends...that's the only reason I can figure out the rising gas a Bush ere*****.

  8. I wonder what the Obama administration could have done to prevent high oil prices. We're living in the age of peak oil; global oil production is all but maxed out, demand is still surging. Increasingly marginal oil production like shale requires high oil prices to be economic so I doubt cheap oil is ever to return.

    Great to learn that Steven Chu is so optimistic about Envia systems. Coming from a scientist like that it makes Envia claims (that do raise some questions...)more credible than the average miracle battery claim.

  9. I think there are a few things our government could do to shave the price down a little. But ultimately they really don't have as much control over oil as we'd like.

  10. We know how to fight high gas prices: cut our projected oil dependence in half in the next 20 years ( Doubling fuel economy of new cars by 2025 will save more oil than we import from the entire Middle East. Let's do something similar for our trucks, planes, trains, ships. Let's make biofuels from garbage and grasses. Let's kickstart plug-in cars and fuel cell vehicles. Let's give people a chance to take the subway instead of being stuck in traffic. And let's not kid ourselves that we can drill our way to low gas prices. Implementing a plan to cut our projected oil dependence in half in 20 years will save billions, protect consumers from volatile prices at the pump, and cut carbon pollution for years to come.

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