A new poll by the Pew Research Center indicates that
Americans are beginning to become more supportive of the idea of
domestic oil drilling. Driving this shift in public opinion is the idea
-- advanced by numerous Republicans -- that increased drilling on U.S. lands ...
A new poll by the Pew Research Center indicates that Americans are beginning to become more supportive of the idea of domestic oil drilling. Driving this shift in public opinion is the idea -- advanced by numerous Republicans -- that increased drilling on U.S. lands will quickly put an end to high gas prices at home. But it's not be that simple.
In an interview today on WRHL's Michael Koolidge Show,16th District Democratic congressional candidate Bob Abboud pointed out why -- contrary to suggestions by his opponent, GOP Rep. Don Manzullo -- drilling is not a quick-fix. Abboud, a nuclear engineer, is running as an energy pragmatist and he raises some very practical concerns. Here's what he had to say:
ABBOUD: The real question that I ask is: “What does it do for you?” If you look at drilling crude -- crude is a globally traded product. So anywhere that you drill -- whether domestically or on the other side of the globe -- it doesn’t necessarily say that that crude is going to wind up here in the United States.
The second problem is we’re running at essentially 100 percent refinery capacity here in the United States. We have virtually no spare capacity. And so, you know, you can work and create all kinds of new supply of crude, but it’s certainly not going to create new supplies of what you really use and that’s gasoline, diesel fuel, and ethanol.
A recent Time article backed up Abboud's first point:
[T]he U.S. has an estimated 3% of global petroleum reserves but consumes 24% of the world's oil. Offshore territories and public lands like ANWR that don't allow drilling may contain up to 75 billion barrels of oil, according to the EIA. That may sound like a lot, but it's not enough to make a significant difference in a world where global oil demand is expected to rise 30% by 2030, to nearly 120 million barrels a day. At best, greatly expanding domestic drilling might eventually lower the proportion of oil the U.S. imports — currently about 60% of its total supply — but petroleum is a global commodity, and the world market would soak up any additional American production.
As this election cycle continues we will hear more and more about domestic drilling as a cure-all to our energy woes. It's good to see Democras such as Abboud taking that myth on from an economic (as well as environmental) standpoint.
In a new finding that underscores Abboud's point, the Center for Economic and Policy Research has just released a study about how john McCain's offshore drilling plan would impact fuel prices at home. The answer? It wouldn't:
Senator McCain’s proposal would have no impact in the near-term since it will be close to a decade before the first oil can be extracted from the currently protected offshore areas. The EIA projects that production will reach 200,000 barrels a day (0.2 percent of projected world production) at peak production in close to twenty years. It describes this amount as too small to have any significant effect on oil prices.
Conversely if the U.S. had continued on its policy of creating more fuel efficient cars at the same rate that it did from 1980 to 1985 our current fuel savings would be phenomenal.
If fuel efficiency had improved at this rate, then the average car on the road would be more than 50 percent more fuel efficient than is currently the case (32 miles per gallon compared with 20.2 miles per gallon). If increased efficiency did not change the number of miles driven each year, then this would imply a reduction of more than one-third in the amount of oil used for the country gasoline needs. This savings would be equal to approximately 3,300,000 barrels per day.