High Gas Prices
Senator Franken is very concerned about the high gas prices Minnesotans are paying at the pump. When prices go up, people struggling to find jobs and working families with already tight budgets are hit especially hard.
As gas prices rise, so do oil company profits: the biggest five oil companies made $32 billion in just the first quarter of 2011, and they have collectively made nearly a trillion dollars in profit since 2000. With American families struggling to make ends meet, and the government making tough choices about reigning in America's deficit, this is no time to give billions of dollars of taxpayers' hard earned money to oil companies in the form of subsidies. Senator Franken believes that tax payer dollars are far more productive when used to help struggling families meet their energy needs and support clean energy jobs. For this reason, he supports legislation to end over $35 billion in oil and gas tax breaks and use that money to fund programs that support energy efficiency retrofits for home owners. He is also an original cosponsor of S. 940, the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act, which would repeal excessive tax subsidies to the world's five largest, most profitable oil companies, saving the government $21 billion over ten years.
Senator Franken is taking actions to reduce gas prices now and to prevent high prices in the future. Speculators, who make money by betting on the price of crude oil, can contributing to inflated oil prices. Senator Franken, along with 12 of his Senate colleagues, pressed the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to act to limit excessive speculation in oil futures markets.
Millions of acres of on-shore and off-shore land have been leased to oil companies, but aren't actually being used. To make sure that oil companies efficiently use the resources we have here at home, Senator Franken cosponsored S. 600, the Use It or Lose It Act, to make oil companies either develop these leases or step aside so that other companies can. Ultimately, we need a long-term national strategy that transitions America toward clean, homegrown sources of energy that aren't subject to damaging price spikes. As a new member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Senator Franken is working to support investments in clean energy like wind and biofuels from Minnesota as a clean alternative to expensive and volatile oil and gas.