On the eve of the Fourth of July, many Americans across the country already have their plans mapped out. Unfortunately, the estimated 41 million people that are expected to travel this holiday weekend are going to be disheartened when they pay big at the pump.

According to AAA Travel, the national average price of gas heading into Independence Day stands at $3.67 per gallon, roughly 20 cents more than last year and the highest mark in the last 6 years for Fourth of July weekend.  With over 41 million Americans planning to travel over 50 miles from their homes this weekend, “AAA does not believe that high gas prices will have a significant impact on the number of people traveling, but it could result in some consumers cutting back on dining, shopping or other trip activities,” wrote AAA’s Heather Hunter.

With rising escalation in Iraq, it is no surprise that the price of crude oil has increased domestically, but that shouldn’t confine Americans to higher gas prices. While the U.S. has seen drastic improvements in energy production through the oil shale boom and advancements in refining methods, the Obama regulatory regime has restricted the nation from reaching its true energy and economic potential.

ATR noted last year that Obama has the ability to affect gas prices by approving the Keystone Pipeline that would potentially deliver 830,000 barrels of oil to Texas and Oklahoma every day, but citing illegitimate environmental concerns, Obama has yet to approve the pipeline. By proposing unnecessary regulations, such as EPA’s Tier III Sulfur Rule which would set new vehicle emission and fuel standards, Obama is subjecting Americans to higher gas prices. Although the rule has not been implemented yet, if the mandates eventually come to fruition, it is the consumers who will pay big. Making matters worse, the President has ordered the EPA to issue stringent regulations that restrict the development of America’s Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Under the administration’s plan, 85 percent of offshore areas are untapped, eliminating potential job creation and energy production.

Opening up the Keystone Pipeline, eliminating dubious regulations, and authorizing more offshore drilling could be a great start in lowering the price of gasoline for Americans while also creating much needed employment and help establishing American energy ascendance. While Americans will be enjoying the holiday weekend with barbecues, fireworks, and liberty, the Obama administration’s flawed energy policies will be hurting the nation’s economy.