California Independent Petroleum Association CEO Rock Zierman warned in an interview that aired on ‘Varney & Co.’ Tuesday that already high gas prices in Los Angeles will be even higher if oil is no longer allowed to be produced in the area.
Zierman, who heads the group representing nearly 400 oil and gas industry entities, made the comment less than one week after the Los Angeles City Council approved a measure to ban new oil and gas wells and phase out existing ones.
The move is the latest effort to curb the production and usage of fossil fuels in California as the state has been trying to meet climate goals and improve public health.
Zierman stressed that the city council’s measure would not only raise gas prices, but will also eliminate jobs and make the region more dependent on foreign oil at a time when tension are brewing.
As Russian President Vladimir Putin inches closer to Ukraine, the world energy markets are facing a potentially seismic event threatening a global economic recession.
With global oil supplies below normal and the International Energy Agency (IEA) reportedly admitting that it has been overstating global supplies, the loss of Russian oil and gas could be next to impossible to replace. In Europe, natural gas prices have surged to record highs as the continent feels the impact of being over-reliant on Russia for that product. On the petroleum side, Russia is currently the world’s second-largest producer, and if it chooses to cut off supply or if supplies were disrupted because of an active war, the void in the global market would be massive.
“Any of the oil we don’t produce here has to be tankered in from a foreign country and as a result, we already pay the highest oil prices in the United States, which then gets turned into gasoline, and diesel and fuel – which are also the highest price in the entire country – and that is going to be exacerbated if we are no longer producing here,” he warned on FOX Business.
On Tuesday, the national average for gas was $3.38, which is nearly one dollar more than the year before, according to AAA.
California’s average on Tuesday was $4.64, which is $1.26 higher than the national average. The average price for gas in Los Angeles was $4.67 on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council directed the city attorney to draft an ordinance to ban oil and gas drilling in the city, change zoning laws to make drilling illegal and study how to legally phase out existing wells.
Zierman argued that the city’s measure is illegal and warned that it will negatively impact the 8,000 jobs associated with oil extraction in Los Angeles, according to Grist.org.
FOX Business’ Kelly O’Grady reported on Tuesday that critics question whether oil and gas workers in Los Angeles will be able to find new jobs without developing new skill sets. The council said a jobs program will be created in an attempt to help transition those workers to other industries.
The decision came after a decade of complaints from residents about health problems, including coughing and wheezing, which they blamed on air pollution from the sites.
California reportedly consumes 1.8 million barrels of oil a day, according to Californians for Energy Independence, which also reported that the state consumes every barrel of oil and gas produced in the state and imports almost three times more.
California is the largest consumer of gas and jet fuel among the 50 states, accounting for 17% of the nation’s jet fuel consumption and 11% of motor gasoline consumption in 2019, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which also noted that the state is the second-largest consumer of all petroleum products combined, accounting for 10% of the U.S. total.
FOX Business’ Phil Flynn and The Associated Press contributed to this report.