That’s why gas prices may rise again – Daily Local

We are all looking for relief from record high gas prices these days.

Gas prices are the highest in the history of the United States and average $ 4.59 as of May 19, according to AAA. Many states exceed this average: California at $ 6,050, Nevada at $ 5,224, Washington at $ 5,148 and New York at $ 4,868.

But lawsuits filed by several cities across the country could actually raise gas prices even higher. In the name of climate change, state and local governments, including New York, Baltimore and several California cities, have filed more than a dozen federal lawsuits. They are suing the oil and gas companies for the damage they have caused due to climate change.

So what do climate change claims have to do with devastating gas prices spanning the nation?

State and municipal climate lawsuits against growth, against innovation and the environment. They can impose large economic costs on families and businesses as the hundreds of billions of dollars of damage that these municipalities seek in these lawsuits will inevitably be passed on to consumers.

According to a new study by the Pacific Research Institute, for every $ 100 billion in potential estimates in these cases, gas prices could rise by 31 cents per gallon – or an additional $ 326 per household per year at higher energy costs.

Because Americans are suffering from a painful rise in inflation, such additional costs for most households are simply unaffordable.

Burdening consumers and businesses with additional costs not only harms economic growth, but also hampers the private sector innovation needed to achieve America’s clean energy goals. A strong economy creates an environment more conducive to developing the significant innovations needed to combat the global climate change that these municipalities claim to be fighting for.

In fact, increased use of natural gas has helped reduce carbon emissions over the past twenty years. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) noted that “the 4% reduction in carbon capacity in the U.S. was mainly due to lower consumption of high-carbon fuels. Some of these changes have resulted from the persistence of the trend of displacing natural gas and renewable coal for electricity generation, both of which have lower or zero carbon content. Lower natural gas prices have supported this transition from coal use, and higher natural gas prices in 2021 have begun to reverse this trend. ”

The development of natural gas, once celebrated through private sector innovation, has led to lower overall emissions. Investors see this lawsuit as a threat, making them less likely in future investments in nuclear power, new battery technology, improved fuel efficiency and other innovations needed to further reduce emissions.

We cannot afford to stifle positive incentives for innovation in this space. Instead of continuing these trials, there are other, better ways both state and local governments concerned about climate change can make positive changes. For example, they could increase incentives for private sector investment by lowering taxes for companies working to develop innovative technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Such a positive policy has the potential to address the risks of climate change through the private sector rather than punishing innovators who have successfully reduced emissions through erroneous litigation.

It is time to find new ways to realize the potential of America’s clean energy. If these lawsuits are successful, we will continue to see increased energy costs for consumers across the country, further strains on family budgets, rising production costs for businesses and declining motivation to innovate – and, ironically, our progress in the fight against climate change will decline.

Dr. Wayne Weingarden is a Senior Research Fellow in Business and Economics at the Pacific Research Institute and the author of the new issue of Counterproductive. Download a copy at

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