Officials Call for Revised Energy Policy

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts says the United States must institute a comprehensive energy policy with a stronger emphasis on domestic oil production to resolve the current gasoline crisis.

"A national energy policy that relies on foreign production, foreign policies and foreign politics is a failed energy policy," said Watts, R-Okla., in a letter Wednesday asking President Clinton to name a White House crisis management team to develop a legislative and regulatory action plan before July 4.

Gasoline prices have been on the rise across the United States with some areas of the Midwest paying more than $2 a gallon for unleaded gasoline. A variety of reasons have been put forth for the rising costs, including new fuel emission regulations, broken pipelines and production demands for reformulated gasoline.

Prices are beginning to decline in Oklahoma after rising to a statewide average on Friday of $1.82 per gallon. The statewide average Wednesday was $1.76; the Oklahoma City average was $1.71.

Mickey Thompson, executive director of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association, said he saw gasoline selling for $1.59 along Interstate 35 in southern Oklahoma as he returned from a trip to Fort Worth. Meanwhile, OPEC ministers agreed Wednesday to increase oil production by 708,000 barrels a day, or roughly 3 percent.

"It's not a non-event, but it's close," Thompson said. "That kind of a reaction by OPEC will probably make oil prices go up instead of down."

Thompson said OPEC likes the production level where it is. …

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