A House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee held a hearing on what to do about rising gasoline prices. Most of the hearing focused on whether increasing oil production from federal lands and off shore and reducing environmental regulations on the oil industry would make a difference. The impact of oil market speculation and the costs and benefits of fuel economy and clean air standards were debated. But relatively little was said about the current and potential mitigating role of biofuels, and nothing was said about the effect that boosting oil production would have on the climate.

Witnesses for the March 7 House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Power hearing included representatives of the oil industry, refiners, and distributors, a trucking association, the Center for American Progress, and the Truman National Security Project. For the witness list, testimonies, and a committee background document, click here .

Independent energy analyst Robert McNally of the Rapidan Group testified that high prices and volatility are here to stay due to growing global oil demand and supply constraints. In a supplementary document attached to his testimony, an article published in Foreign Affairs , he and his co-author argued that "Demand-side policies, such as taxing gasoline and diesel, must be at the core of any serious strategy for coping with volatile oil prices."

For additional perspectives on "Oil Prices, Gas Prices and Domestic Production," click here , for a March 6 floor speech by Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM). The Senator argues "we do not face cycles of high gasoline prices in the United States because of a lack of domestic production. We do not face these cycles of high gasoline prices because of a lack of access to federal resources, or because of some environmental regulation that is getting in the way of us obtaining cheap gasoline."

For perspectives on "Ethanol’s Role in Reducing Gasoline Prices," click here for a background document from the Renewable Fuels Association. The article cites a recent study that found that in 2010, the blending of ethanol into the nation’s gasoline supply had the effect of reducing gasoline prices by $0.89 per gallon below what prices would have been.