State Sen. Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids took to Gray's Lake Park in Des Moines today to say that energy costs for all Iowans soared to $13.8 billion last year.
"Energy -- motor fuels, electricity and natural gas -- cost Iowans more than $4,500 per person in 2011," Hogg said in a news release. "This is killing our economy. It is not sustainable economically or environmentally."
Citing a study by the Legislative Services Agency, he said that in 1998, energy cost Iowans a total of $5.4 billion, or less than $2,000 per person. By 2005, that number had grown to $10.2 billion, and in 2011 it climbed to $13.8 billion, a growth rate of 7.5 percent per year over 13 years.
Although electricity and natural gas prices have increased too, the largest cost increase has been from motor fuels, which have grown to $8.3 billion from $2.2 billion, he said.
"Iowans can successfully reduce energy costs if we recognize the problem and take actions within our control," Hogg said. "Hoping that oil companies will solve this problem with dirty, expensive foreign oil will not work. We need a new state energy policy."
Hogg was joined at a press conference by Jeremy Symons of the National Wildlife Federation, who said the controversial Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to Port Arthur, Texas, in not a solution to Iowa's energy costs.
"Oil companies would actually drive up energy costs in Iowa and across the Midwest by using the pipeline to bypass Midwest refineries and taking the oil to the Gulf of Mexico so they can export it," he said.
Symons is visiting Iowa as the keynote speaker for I-RENEW's 20th Anniversary Renewable Energy Expo at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids. The Expo runs today through Sunday. For more details, visit www.irenew.org.