The news of record high gas prices have disappeared from the headlines. But the fears — even expectations — that they could return are still very much with us.

In some suburban Chicago areas, gas prices reached as high as $4.51 per gallon. You really can't understate the impact that those kinds of costs can have on a working family. To fill the 16-gallon tank of the average mid-size car, you'd shell out a whopping $72.16.

And that extra money spent on gas is less money the family has at its disposal for important necessities, such as food, clothing, and even planning for their financial future.

Sky-high gas prices don't have to be the new norm. We don't have to plan on paying more and more each time we go to the pump.

But, to do that, we need to hold our politicians accountable for the policy choices they make — and, particularly, for the energy producing policies that they oppose.

Approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline has languished for far too long. Approving Keystone would complete a connection to a friends and allies in the great white north, Canada, bringing new Canadian oil down to the refineries near the Gulf of Mexico. Canada is already the number 1 sources of America's imported oil. And, importantly, that relationship does not carry the baggage of many of the unstable regimes that make up the Middle Eastern oil producing countries.

And that's not to mention that approval of Keystone would create 20,000 immediate, well-paying, new American jobs. Plus, experts estimate that the economic activity generated by the pipeline's construction will add tens of thousands of more jobs.

Yet, Congress and the President have failed to approve this common sense policy that would help spell our nation's energy worries and set us on a path to reducing our dependence of Middle East oil.

We can't afford the price — most particularly at the pump — of politicians continuing to pander to special interests at the expense of securing our energy future.

This November, we as voters have the opportunity to elect a Congress and a President that be forward-looking in their energy policy. Before heading to the ballot box, voters should take a close look at the positions advocated by those asking for the vote to be sure that they are advancing policies that will help secure America's energy future and create new American jobs in the process.

America's energy future shouldn't be about partisan politics. It should be about doing what is best to provide the fuel that makes the American economy go. In November, voters need to let Washington hear loud and clear that they want common sense energy solutions for America's future.

Brian Kasal
Illinois Energy Forum, State Chairman

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