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The False Hope of Increased Offshore Drilling

We are witnessing the beginning of the end of the grip of Big Oil … and Big Oil is Angry. Gasoline, diesel, and fuel oil prices are high because Big Oil can see its demise on the horizon. History will mark these words. This is their last gasp. Once the power of market control slips from Big Oil’s hands, their product will become as worthless as salt. Developed as well as developing nations will spurn its use.

Make no mistake about it. Increased offshore drilling will not lower the cost of our daily commutes any time in the near future, if ever. It will not fuel our trucks and trains this decade. It will not turn this economy around. It will not put masses of Americans to work.

Increased offshore drilling is a ruse created by the oil industry. It is a ruse that is intended to take our eyes off the real long-term solutions.

There is no question that we need to decrease the cost of fueling our transportation fleet. There is no question that America needs be energy self-sufficient.

The answer is rapid domestic production and implementation of high-technology products, not the foolhardy extraction of oil from places offshore that put our fragile food chain at risk.

The answer will primarily come from three places, namely, the increased domestic production of electricity, biofuels, and natural gas.

Electrons are sticky, for the most part. They stay on or near the land mass on which they were created; or to which their power lines are connected (in the case of offshore wind farms). Ask any of the brave souls that currently own a 100 MPG plug-in hybrid electric vehicle … driving on electric-power costs a tiny fraction of gasoline. Following the urging of Andy Grove, we must convert a significant portion of our existing fleet of pickups, SUVs, and vans to hybrid electric plug-in vehicles.

(For the doubters, the capability to build and charge these vehicles exists today, without building another power plant, as long as charging takes place during off peak hours.)

The right biofuels are infinitely renewable, carbon neutral, fast to produce, and low-impact. And they can be grown near where they’re needed, eliminating the expense and trouble of international transport. Biodiesel can and will carry the weight for heavy transport and high-MPG clean diesel passenger vehicles alike.

T. Boone Pickens is on the right track. Wind power can displace natural gas use in electric production, freeing up massive quantities of the fuel for transportation. Huge portions of our existing fleet of pickup trucks can be quickly and easily converted to run on natural gas today. The technology is well-proven. In parts of the west, natural gas can be had for a mere fraction of the cost of gasoline, offsetting installation costs in a short time frame.

This is a battle of the old economy vs the new economy, of the entrenched power vs the upstarts, of the dinosaurs vs the thinking man. Big Oil is betting that America will not understand the facts that are being presented. We must prove them wrong.

No matter who is elected this November, we need leadership — not just from day one — but from the very next day. This country must be mobilized and all the resources at our disposal must be put in play.

We must be prepared for the leadership not to come from Washington, but from the market itself. Our fellow Americans are sitting on the sidelines, waiting for the products to cure the ills that have befallen us.

The risk and rewards have never been higher.

When (not if) we build it, America will buy …

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2 comments ↓

#1 Mike on 10.02.08 at 8:57 pm

No one questions the value of hybrids, alternative energy, and doing all we can to increase the speed of production here at home… But you say, “The answer is rapid domestic production and implementation of high-technology products, not the foolhardy extraction of oil from places offshore that put our fragile food chain at risk.

So what “high technology products” and “rapid production” is going to solve the energy crisis over the next decade? Or 5 years? Or next week? With your “three places,” how are we going to increase electricity production, or natural gas? And you think corn or other products for biofuels is the answer?

Can you imagine how many jobs and economic benefits we would realize if we would stop sending billions of dollars to foreign countries? Over a decade ago, former President Clinton vetoed any attempt to increase drilling for oil. Democrats have refuted every attempt to increase domestic oil production every year since then. What has that gained us? And now they preach the same thing without considering what increased domestic oil production might benefit us 5-10 years from now.
Alternative energy will not solve our need for energy in 5, 10 or even 20 years. And many Americans are finally saying “enough!” We don’t want to send billions overseas anymore. We have tons of natural resources here at home, including oil, gas and more. We can be environmentally conscious, and technologically saavy and produce more in America.

#2 mpg-o-editor on 10.02.08 at 10:41 pm

@ Mike – Many thanks for weighing in!

I don’t have to imagine how many jobs and economic benefits we will realize when we stop sending billions of dollars to foreign countries. I can see it, quite clearly. I’ve spent the last year and a half immersed in this study.

President Clinton wasn’t the big roadblock to making energy independence a reality. Big Oil was and is, but Big Oil’s reign of power is ending, thank heavens.

Your thoughtful comment just inspired another post, which clarifies my position …

http://www.mpgomatic.com/2008/10/02/drill-baby-drill-pffffft/

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