Wayne Winegarden

Wayne Winegarden

Why gas prices could skyrocket again

By Wayne Winegarden

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

Gas prices are the highest in United States history at a nationwide average of $4.59 as of May 19, according to AAA. Many states surpass this average with California at $6.050, Nevada at $5.224, Washington at $5.148, and New York at $4.868, to name a few.

But lawsuits filed by several cities across the country could actually drive gas prices even higher. In the name of climate change, over a dozen federal lawsuits have been filed by state and local governments, including New York City, Baltimore, and several California cities. They are suing oil and gas companies for alleged damages they caused contributing to climate change.

So what do climate change lawsuits have to do with the devastating gas prices sweeping the nation?

GSWNH WayneWinegarden 070122

Wayne Winegarden

State and municipal climate lawsuits are anti-growth, anti-innovation and anti-environment. They could impose large economic costs on families and businesses as the hundreds of billions of dollars in damages these municipalities are seeking in these lawsuits would inevitably be passed along to consumers.

As calculated in a new Pacific Research Institute study, for every $100 billion in potential judgements in these cases, gas prices could rise by 31 cents per gallon — or an additional $326 per household per year in higher energy costs.

As Americans suffer through painful inflation increases, such additional costs are simply unaffordable for most households.

Burdening consumers and businesses with additional costs is detrimental not only to economic growth but discourages the private sector innovation required to meet America’s clean energy goals. A strong economy fosters an environment more conducive to developing the meaningful innovations required to address the global climate change these municipalities claim to be fighting for.

In fact, increasing use of natural gas contributed to the decline of carbon emissions over the past twenty years. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has noted that “the 4% decrease in U.S. carbon intensity came largely from a decrease in the consumption of fuels with high carbon contents. Part of this change came from the continuing trend of natural gas and renewables displacing coal for electric power generation, both of which have lower or zero carbon content. Low natural gas prices supported this switch from coal use, and higher natural gas prices in 2021 have started to reverse this trend.”

The development of once-celebrated natural gas through private sector innovation has resulted in lower overall emissions. Investors see this litigation effort as a threat, making them less likely to make future investments in nuclear energy advancements, new battery technology, improved fuel efficiency and other innovations required to continue lowering emissions.

We cannot afford to stifle positive incentives for innovation in this space. Rather than continue with these lawsuits, there are other, better ways that state and local governments concerned about climate change can make positive changes. For example, they could increase incentives for private sector investment through reducing taxes for the companies working to develop innovative technologies that reduce GHG emissions. Such a positive-focused policy has the potential to address the risks associated with climate change through the private sector, rather than punishing innovators who have successfully reduced emissions through misguided lawsuits.

It’s time to find new ways to make America’s clean energy potential a reality. If these lawsuits are successful, we will continue to see increased energy expenditures for consumers across the country, further strained family budgets, rising costs of production for businesses, and decreased motivation to innovate — while ironically reducing our progress in combating climate change.

Dr. Wayne Winegarden is a senior fellow in business and economics at the Pacific Research Institute and author of the new issue brief, “Counterproductive.” Download a copy at pacificresearch.org.

Local News

Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart

Dart warns of Kia, Hyundai thefts

Suggests steps to protect vehicle owners From staff reports Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart is warning the public about what he is calling a dramatic rise in thefts of certain models of Kia and Hyundai vehicles. He is urging owners to take additional precautions to reduce the risk of theft. In the past few…

Roberts Road closures and detours. (Supplied by Illinois Tollway Authority)

Overnight closures coming Monday night for Roberts Road, 87th Street

Overnight road closures, including weekend full intersection closures with detours, will be scheduled on Roberts Road and 87th Street during the next two weeks to accommodate mainline bridge beam placement as part of the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) Project. Overnight lane closures will also be scheduled on southbound I-294 during this time to complete the work. On Monday, August 15,…

IllinoisTollwayLogo_HiRes

Traffic shift coming Monday on Tri-State between 83rd Street and Mile-Long Bridge

Beginning Monday, night, a traffic shift is scheduled on the northbound Central Tri-State Tollway between the 83rd Street Toll Plaza and the Mile Long Bridge, including removal of the current counterflow configuration. Four lanes will remain open. Overnight August 15, on northbound I-294 between the 83rd Street Toll Plaza and the Mile Long Bridge overnight lane closures will be scheduled, with traffic reduced to a single lane…

Sandburg's Jillian Cosler finished second in a prestigious tournament in Decatur on Friday. Photo courtesy of Sandburg High School.

Area Sports Roundup: Sandburg golfer Jillian Cosler opens high school sports season with a bang

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The 2022-23 high school sports season opened with a bang. Practices were allowed to begin on Aug. 8 and the IHSA unleashed boys and girls golfers on Aug. 11; and there was some excitement the next day. Sandburg’s girls golf team participated in the Prep Tour Showcase at Hickory Point…

Fire goalie Gabriel "Gaga" Slonina and his teammates have four games scheduled at SeatGeek Stadium in the coming months. Photo courtesy of Chicago Fire

Pro Soccer Report: Chicago Fire to play four matches at SeatGeek

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Before soccer fans could blink their eyes, SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview has been tabbed to host four Chicago Fire games. SeatGeek was the MLS club’s home from 2006 until 2019, when it moved to Soldier Field. Conflicts with Soldier Field’s prized tenants, the Chicago Bears, and damage to the playing…

With the color guard flags whipping in the breeze, the Shepard High School marching band rehearses their new field show. (Supplied photos)

Marching Astros take the field

Weeks before the start of the new school year, marching band members from Shepard High School baked in the summer sun to prepare for the coming competitive season. As much as any event, marching band camp signals the start of a new school year. For a week, the Marching Astros arrived early and stayed late…

Ryan Clancy talks about his sister, Chicago Police Officer Patricia "Patsy" Swank, 29, who committed suicide last month. Clancy said the pressure on all police officers is a heavy burden and supports the Oak Lawn Police Department following a controversial arrest of a teen last month. Clancy made his comments during the Oak Lawn Village Board meeting Tuesday morning.(Photo by Joe Boyle)

Oak Lawn residents offer staunch support for police

By Joe Boyle Oak Lawn residents came out in force to offer support for the village’s police department after a well-publicized arrest of a teen following a traffic stop last month. Residents jammed the Oak Lawn Village Hall for the board meeting Tuesday morning to provide testimony in support of officers after the arrest of…

American English, an award-winning Beatles cover band, entertained the large crowd for over two hours, despite on-and-off rain, as the final act of Sunday's event. (Photos by Isabella Schreck)

Tunes and tons of local restaurants come together at the Taste of Orland

By Isabella Schreck The Supremes, John Mellencamp and The Beatles came to the Taste of Orland. Well, really, tribute bands brought their music and presence to Orland Park Village Center’s stage. “I was really impressed with American English,” Rebecca Whealan, of Palos Heights, said. “From the costumes to their sound [Eric Michaels] as Paul McCartney,…

election 2022

Calandriello announces Biking the 17th District on Sunday

From staff reports Daniel Calandriello, the Democratic nominee for the Cook County Board 17th District, announced a “Biking the 17th District” event from Elk Grove Village to Orland Park on Sunday to raise awareness of the Cook County Forest Preserve. Calandriello, of Orland Park, plans to bike several trails located within the Cook County Forest…

Bob Krusza shows off his 1964 Chevy Impala SS at Thursday night's Auto Show. (Photo by Steve Neuhaus)

Willow Fest 2022

Willow Springs Willow Fest will take place through Sunday at Willow Springs Village Center, 1 Village Circle, Willow Springs (corner of Archer Avenue and Willow Springs Road). Hours are 4-11 p.m. Friday, 1-11 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. Special needs hours 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Free parking. Free shuttle service…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart

Dart warns of Kia, Hyundai thefts

Suggests steps to protect vehicle owners From staff reports Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart is warning the public about what he is calling a dramatic rise in thefts of certain models of Kia and Hyundai vehicles. He is urging owners to take additional precautions to reduce the risk of theft. In the past few…

Roberts Road closures and detours. (Supplied by Illinois Tollway Authority)

Overnight closures coming Monday night for Roberts Road, 87th Street

Overnight road closures, including weekend full intersection closures with detours, will be scheduled on Roberts Road and 87th Street during the next two weeks to accommodate mainline bridge beam placement as part of the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294) Project. Overnight lane closures will also be scheduled on southbound I-294 during this time to complete the work. On Monday, August 15,…

IllinoisTollwayLogo_HiRes

Traffic shift coming Monday on Tri-State between 83rd Street and Mile-Long Bridge

Beginning Monday, night, a traffic shift is scheduled on the northbound Central Tri-State Tollway between the 83rd Street Toll Plaza and the Mile Long Bridge, including removal of the current counterflow configuration. Four lanes will remain open. Overnight August 15, on northbound I-294 between the 83rd Street Toll Plaza and the Mile Long Bridge overnight lane closures will be scheduled, with traffic reduced to a single lane…

Sandburg's Jillian Cosler finished second in a prestigious tournament in Decatur on Friday. Photo courtesy of Sandburg High School.

Area Sports Roundup: Sandburg golfer Jillian Cosler opens high school sports season with a bang

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer The 2022-23 high school sports season opened with a bang. Practices were allowed to begin on Aug. 8 and the IHSA unleashed boys and girls golfers on Aug. 11; and there was some excitement the next day. Sandburg’s girls golf team participated in the Prep Tour Showcase at Hickory Point…

Fire goalie Gabriel "Gaga" Slonina and his teammates have four games scheduled at SeatGeek Stadium in the coming months. Photo courtesy of Chicago Fire

Pro Soccer Report: Chicago Fire to play four matches at SeatGeek

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Before soccer fans could blink their eyes, SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview has been tabbed to host four Chicago Fire games. SeatGeek was the MLS club’s home from 2006 until 2019, when it moved to Soldier Field. Conflicts with Soldier Field’s prized tenants, the Chicago Bears, and damage to the playing…

With the color guard flags whipping in the breeze, the Shepard High School marching band rehearses their new field show. (Supplied photos)

Marching Astros take the field

Weeks before the start of the new school year, marching band members from Shepard High School baked in the summer sun to prepare for the coming competitive season. As much as any event, marching band camp signals the start of a new school year. For a week, the Marching Astros arrived early and stayed late…

Ryan Clancy talks about his sister, Chicago Police Officer Patricia "Patsy" Swank, 29, who committed suicide last month. Clancy said the pressure on all police officers is a heavy burden and supports the Oak Lawn Police Department following a controversial arrest of a teen last month. Clancy made his comments during the Oak Lawn Village Board meeting Tuesday morning.(Photo by Joe Boyle)

Oak Lawn residents offer staunch support for police

By Joe Boyle Oak Lawn residents came out in force to offer support for the village’s police department after a well-publicized arrest of a teen following a traffic stop last month. Residents jammed the Oak Lawn Village Hall for the board meeting Tuesday morning to provide testimony in support of officers after the arrest of…

American English, an award-winning Beatles cover band, entertained the large crowd for over two hours, despite on-and-off rain, as the final act of Sunday's event. (Photos by Isabella Schreck)

Tunes and tons of local restaurants come together at the Taste of Orland

By Isabella Schreck The Supremes, John Mellencamp and The Beatles came to the Taste of Orland. Well, really, tribute bands brought their music and presence to Orland Park Village Center’s stage. “I was really impressed with American English,” Rebecca Whealan, of Palos Heights, said. “From the costumes to their sound [Eric Michaels] as Paul McCartney,…

election 2022

Calandriello announces Biking the 17th District on Sunday

From staff reports Daniel Calandriello, the Democratic nominee for the Cook County Board 17th District, announced a “Biking the 17th District” event from Elk Grove Village to Orland Park on Sunday to raise awareness of the Cook County Forest Preserve. Calandriello, of Orland Park, plans to bike several trails located within the Cook County Forest…

Bob Krusza shows off his 1964 Chevy Impala SS at Thursday night's Auto Show. (Photo by Steve Neuhaus)

Willow Fest 2022

Willow Springs Willow Fest will take place through Sunday at Willow Springs Village Center, 1 Village Circle, Willow Springs (corner of Archer Avenue and Willow Springs Road). Hours are 4-11 p.m. Friday, 1-11 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 10 p.m. Sunday. Special needs hours 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday. Free parking. Free shuttle service…

CRR NH Foran Funeral Home House Ad
CRR NH Fireside Realty House Ad