Congress could send energy prices even higher, warns one conservative pundit. 


Carrie Lukas of the Independent Women’s Forum is urging consumers to be wary of “the policies opportunistic politicians will pass in a rush to ‘solve’ problems” such as rising fuel and food costs.
 
Lukas has written a new column for TownHall.com titled “Spare Consumers the High Costs of Bad Government Policy.” In the column, Lukas is especially critical of the Energy Price Gouging Act touted by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California). Under the measure, the Federal Trade Commission would have more power to levy fines against refineries and oil companies found to “artificially inflate the price of energy.”
 
“She really seems to think of oil companies and energy companies as the enemy and wants to target them and somehow punish them,” says Lukas. But Lukas argues that these types of policies would in fact “make gas more scarce and make prices go even higher.” The conservative columnist also suggests that the nationwide push for ethanol-based fuels has not driven down the price of gas, but rather caused problems in the agriculture market.
 
“Right now we have [a] pretty intrusive set of regulations and legislation that does restrict some of the creation of new energy supplies,” she explains. “We’ve had really limited ability to improve our refineries or to create new refining capacity; there’s a lot of limitations on domestic exploration for oil. All these things make it harder for American companies to generate more energy.”
 
Lukas notes there is no “magic wand” Pelosi and others can wave to fix problems related to soaring gas prices — but they can create more problems, she adds, with bad policies that restrict the creation of new energy supplies.
 
According to Lukas, consumers frustrated with high fuel or food prices should be asking politicians to “first do no harm.”