Menendez Lays Out Plan to Stabilize Rising Gas Prices

Menendez Lays Out Plan to Stabilize Rising Gas Prices

Prices at the pump soar past $3.00 ahead of summer travel season

   

RIDGEFIELD, N.J. – As millions hit the road this Memorial Day weekend for the start of the summer travel season, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez today laid out a four-point plan to stabilize rising gas prices and bring relief to cash-strapped motorists.  According to Gasbuddy.com, the average cost for a gallon of regular gasoline in New Jersey has topped $3.00—the highest since 2014—with the price at the pump jumping more than a nickel in the past week, over $0.18 since last month, and more than $0.62 above the price this time last year. 

“You’re in for some sticker shock as you hit the road this weekend.  Gas prices are on the rise once again,” said Sen. Menendez.  “But I refuse to sit idly by while New Jersey families get squeezed for every last penny.  At a time when Big Oil is raking in billions in massive tax giveaways, we must protect consumers from massive gas bills.  That’s what this four-point plan is all about—standing up to Big Oil and putting middle class families first.”

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Over 36 million Americans will get in their car to hit the road this Memorial Day, 4.7 percent more than last year, according to AAA. 

“New Jersey’s tourism economy is dependent on the ‘drive to destination’ market.  The price of gas has a direct effect on the decision by families, both in-state and out-of-state, to visit a New Jersey attraction or venue.  Even a small uptick in gas prices can be the difference between a ‘staycation’ and a day trip,” said Joann DelVescio, the advocacy committee head at the New Jersey Tourism and Industry Association (NJTIA) and executive director of the New Jersey Campground Association.  “We applaud Sen. Menendez’s commitment to American families and the New Jersey tourism economy by introducing this common sense legislation.”

Half of New Jersey’s $44 billion industry, employing over 500,000 people, is attributed to the Jersey Shore, with half of that coming during the summer months, according to the NJTIA.

Sen. Menendez outlined his four-point plan during a press conference in front of the gas pumps at the Vince Lombardi Service Area on the New Jersey Turnpike in Ridgefield. 

MENENDEZ 4-POINT PLAN TO STABILIZE RISING GAS PRICES

#1 – Keep American Oil in America

#2 – Share Trump Tax Windfall to Big Oil with Consumers

#3 – Stand Up to Oil Cartel

#4 – Less Gas = More Savings

#1 – Keep American Oil in America

Sen. Menendez announced he will introduce the American Oil for American Families Act to ban the export of American crude oil and petroleum products derived from federal lands and waters, representing about 21% of the nation’s oil supply.  By keeping a portion of American-produced oil at home, the bill aims to improve energy security, lower domestic gas prices, and ensure that federal lands are being used for the good of U.S. residents, rather than to increase oil profits through access to higher-priced foreign markets. This would reduce American reliance on foreign oil by providing a significant cushion against global instability and OPEC’s artificial supply constraints. The U.S currently imports about 300 million barrels of crude and petroleum products per month.    

“My bill is simple.  It says if you drill for oil on federal lands, that oil has to stay here in America to help lower gas prices,” Sen. Menendez said.  Whether it’s offshore rigs in the Gulf of Mexico or drilling in the pristine Arctic wilderness, there’s something seriously wrong about using public resources for the exclusive profit of the oil industry.  Oil drilled on American land should mean lower prices for the American people.”

#2 – Share Trump Tax Windfall to Big Oil with Consumers

Sen. Menendez, a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee that sets national tax policy, called on Big Oil to use its tax windfall to lower gas prices.  At a time when the oil industry benefits from $10.9 billion in taxpayer subsidies and new tax loopholes under the Trump Corporate Tax Cut, it provided wealthy executives and shareholders $15 billion in stock buybacks, instead of passing on their tax breaks to consumers by keeping gas prices in check.

Corporation

Share Buyback Announced in 2018 (Millions)

Date

Marathon Petroleum

$5,000

30-Apr

Phillips 66

$3,300

14-Feb

Valero

$2,500

23-Jan

Hess Corporation

$1,000

8-Mar

Devon Energy

$1,000

7-Mar

Noble Energy

$750

15-Feb

Anadarko Petroleum

$500

7-Feb

ConocoPhillips

$500

1-Feb

Delek US

$150

27-Feb

TOTAL Corporate Buybacks Authorized in 2018 by Oil Companies

 

$14.7 Billion

“It’s outrageous that New Jersey families are getting pinched at the pump, while Big Oil CEOs and foreign shareholders are laughing their way to the bank,” said Sen. Menendez.  “Republicans pitched these trillion dollar corporate tax cuts as the cure-all solution to all of America’s economic woes.  Yet, since President Trump signed the GOP tax bill into law, gas prices have risen nearly 20%.  If the top four oil companies can spend $13 billion buying back their own stock, surely they can spare some change to lower prices at the pump.” 

#3 – Stand Up to Oil Cartel

Sen. Menendez, the Ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, urged President Trump to use his authority to take immediate action to pressure OPEC and cooperating countries to increase world oil supplies in order to lower prices at the pump.  Production cuts by OPEC members, namely Saudi Arabia, as well as political uncertainty in Venezuela and Iraq, have caused world oil prices to skyrocket 75% in just the past year to up to $100 a barrel.  

Earlier this week, the senator sent a letter to President Trump with Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) laying out seven specific policy objectives his administration could immediately carry out to drive down gas prices, including leveraging the President’s personal relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, initiating World Trade Organization dispute proceedings, and exercising vigorous U.S. regulatory agency oversight of oil markets.

“The impact of rising fuel prices on our economy and on family budgets is significant and widespread,” the senators wrote.  “The current run up in world oil prices is effectively a tax on every American family’s discretionary budget, except that the money goes to the OPEC cartel rather than the U.S. Treasury.  Adding to our constituents’ pocketbook concerns is their understanding that our nation’s continued dependence on oil is at the heart of many of our nation’s greatest economic, environmental, and national security challenges.”

#4 – Less Gas = More Savings

Sen. Menendez called on the Trump Administration to abandon plains to rollback Obama-era fuel economy standards that would save the average car owner more than $6,000 over the life of the vehicle and cut the nation’s oil consumption by over two million barrels per day by 2025. 

“If your car can travel farther on less gas, you won’t have to fill up as much and end up keeping more of your money in your own pocket—that’s real savings,” Sen. Menendez said.  “Consumers need fuel efficient cars now more than ever.  It’s Big Oil who wants the federal government to change course and encourage automakers to sell more gas guzzlers.”

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