Rising gas prices at the pump: What you need to know

President Trump got the message in a bottleneck. Despite the fact that the U.S. is the biggest oil and gas producer in the world, prices at the gasoline pump are rising and we saw some shortages of natural gas last winter. One of the reasons is a lack of pipeline capacity.

Trump took bold action this week signing executive orders aimed at speeding up approvals of new oil and gas pipelines.

“Too often badly needed energy infrastructure is being held back by special interest groups, entrenched bureaucracies and radical activists,” Trump complained before signing the orders.

The Associated Press reported that Trump singled out New York for his harshest criticism, saying “obstruction” by the state on the energy front “was hurting the country.” Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y.,  snapped back, calling Trump’s executive orders a gross overreach that would undermine his state’s ability to protect water quality and the environment.

Maybe the governor should have been fighting instead for more natural gas supplies when shortages this winter forced some of his state’s residents out of their homes. But instead, New York was using a legislative loophole to push a larger green energy agenda that is based on ideology and not on facts.

The facts are that the U.S. needs to add pipeline capacity to take advantage of the American energy revolution.

For many years the United States was mainly an oil and gas importer, before the shale revolution unlocked our abundant natural resources. We had built most of our energy infrastructure based on the assumption that we would forever be dependent on foreign oil and natural gas. But today, oil companies are looking to expand operations to meet rising demand from our growing economy, but it is becoming almost impossible because of inadequate pipeline capacity.

Why are states, like New York, against pipelines? Mainly because of concerns about climate change. Yet there is evidence that shows blocking these pipelines is actually worse for climate change and the environment as a whole.

The anti-pipeline frenzy reached a fever pitch during the battle over the Keystone XL pipeline. Yet because the pipeline was not built, it increased the risks to the environment as oil is now hauled by truck and rail. It has also cost the U.S. consumer more money and has made our economy more susceptible to economic harm due to the loss of oil from Venezuela.

It is one of the reasons we are seeing gasoline prices rise, with the average price of regular gas now $2.75 per gallon, as prices are already above $3 a gallon in six states: California, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Alaska.

In Texas, the lack of pipeline capacity is causing firms to burn off excess supplies of natural gas, instead of sending it to parts of the country that need it to keep people warm or cool and lower their utility price. Last winter, while Texas was burning excess gas, people in New York had to leave their homes because there was not enough adequate pipeline capacity to keep the flow of natural gas going during a cold front.


While many people fear oil and gas pipelines, they really should not. In fact, in Chicago on my way to work I walk over hundreds of oil and natural gas pipelines every day. They not only help our economy; they help keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. They help the economy by keeping energy costs down for businesses and also help create millions of jobs.

Phil Flynn is senior energy analyst at The PRICE Futures Group and a Fox Business Network contributor. He is one of the world's leading market analysts, providing individual investors, professional traders, and institutions with up-to-the-minute investment and risk management insight into global petroleum, gasoline, and energy markets. His precise and timely forecasts have come to be in great demand by industry and media worldwide and his impressive career goes back almost three decades, gaining attention with his market calls and energetic personality as writer of The Energy Report. You can contact Phil by phone at (888) 264-5665 or by email at pflynn@pricegroup.com.