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    lower gas prices; lower diesel prices
    Recently we have heard politicians on both sides of the aisle blame high gas prices for slowing the growth of the economy. We starting thinking about the ways the U.S. Government could bring gas prices down. Pulling on the decades of experience at Pricelock we've created a list of 10 policies that could reduce prices. In no particular order, we have limited our comments to the impact on gas and oil markets but understand that each would have more far reaching implications that should be considered before any action is taken.
    1
    Reduce or eliminate the state and federal gasoline taxes.
    Why it would work: Currently, the federal government collects 18.4 cents per gallon and the mean combined state and local tax is 31.1 cents per gallon. Reducing taxes would lower prices.
    Reality: Most government budgets cannot afford tax cuts. There is even some talk of adding a mileage tax to raise tax revenues. Ironically, only 60% of the federal tax goes to specific highway and bridge projects.

    2
    Approve gulf oil drilling permits faster.
    Why it would work: Oil projects can take up to 10 years due to regulatory approvals, environmental impact studies and public opinion. Quicker turnaround on permit approvals is crucial in moving the process quickly. The quicker we have access to greater supply the more likely prices will drop.
    Reality: The Interior Department has been very slow to issue permits even after the gulf drilling ban was lifted last November. According to the Institute for Energy Research, only 14 permits have been issued since November compared to 10 permits issued per month before the ban. Also, some companies do not want to invest in the U.S. due to the length of time from capital allocation to oil production.

    3
    Open up additional federal lands in the Interior to new energy drilling.

    4
    Open up the East and West Coasts and additional Alaskan tracks to new energy drilling.

    5
    Government organizations could expedite the oil pipeline expansion project permitting process to transport crude oil from Canada to the U.S.

    6
    Pass legislation that would provide tax credits to encourage the purchase and production of natural gas vehicles.

    7
    Release crude oil stocks from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR).

    8
    Provide tax credits for electric vehicles or raise fuel economy standards.

    9
    The Fed raises interest rates, stops tinkering with monetary policy and Congress passes a balanced budget.

    10
    The EPA could create a standard set of gasoline grades and regulations to be used by all states.
    While any of these could potentially lower gas prices, many would take time to implement and depend greatly on the current political environment. Given worldwide demand growth and various geo-political issues, it's expected that gas prices will continue on a volatile path so be sure you take the proper steps to protect your business and fuel budget today.

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