According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, this coming winter could be one of the longest and coldest we’ve seen in years. But that’s not the only thought that should send a chill down Iowans’ spines. While temperatures are dropping, energy prices are expected to be much, much higher.

I’ve continued to hear from Iowans already impacted by rampant inflation and rising costs. The price of gasoline has already jumped 42 percent—and while that may not mean much to coastal elites living in big cities, for those of us in rural areas who rely on our cars and trucks daily, it’s a big deal. Right now it costs around $3.10 per gallon to fill up in Iowa. And our hardworking families feel that burden.

Sadly, the winter cold will only make things worse. Iowans who use natural gas to heat their homes could see their bills rise by as much as an astronomical 96 percent. Propane prices in Iowa are already 84 percent higher than a year ago, and the costs of heating oil and electricity are also skyrocketing. The average heating bill in Iowa, and across the Midwest, could add up to more than $1,800! That’s insane—and it’s happening as the prices of nearly every other good and service is going up too.

Moms and dads shouldn’t be forced to choose between staying warm and feeding their families this winter, but under the Biden Administration, that may end up being the case. As with so many other things, Washington Democrats are making a bad situation even worse. Instead of addressing the energy shortage our country currently faces, President Biden and his allies in Congress are throwing fuel on the fire by actively taking steps to further reduce supplies and increase costs.

After canceling the Keystone XL pipeline on his first day on the job—killing thousands of jobs and limiting our country’s access to oil and gas supplies—President Biden shut down new energy leasing on public lands. Now, Democrats want to put a carbon tax on gas and oil, before completing their goal of getting rid of these energy sources altogether.

While Democrats seem to think turning off American power as part of their Green New Deal is a noble cause, the result is the United States becoming more and more dependent on foreign adversaries for energy. Under the Biden Administration, we are buying more oil from Russia than ever before.

Iowans, and all Americans, want cleaner energy, but we need to be aware of the tradeoffs and prepared for the consequences of pulling the plug too soon on our existing fuel supplies. Rather than relying on Russia for oil and China for electric vehicle batteries, let’s declare energy independence—as we were able to do during the previous administration. Before the Democrats turn off the lights on the production of America’s traditional energy sources, we should first have affordable alternatives readily available.

Iowa is already doing our part to meet this goal with our homegrown American biofuel, and we are eager to do a lot more if Washington will let us. Greenhouse gas reductions from conventional corn ethanol are nearly 50% relative to gasoline. Unfortunately, the Biden Administration refuses to acknowledge that biofuel can be a solution for today. Our state also leads the way in wind—providing nearly 60 percent of our state’s energy—and is home to many terrific solar projects.

Clean energy supports thousands of good-paying jobs in Iowa and boosts our rural communities, and Iowans are eager to continue to help reduce energy costs, carbon emissions, and dependence on foreign adversaries by supporting cleaner energy. But by failing to tap into the potential of states like ours, President Biden’s misguided policies will leave much of the country in the dark and out in the cold this winter.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA)