Unpatriotic Lies About Energy Solutions


I'm sick of it.

There's a new campaign with a bumper sticker slogan that's attracting a lot of attention because it offers easy solutions to our oil-addiction woes. You may have seen it: Drill here, drill now, pay less. 

Sheer deception.

Drill here: We already do drill here, and we've been drilling more and more. As a House Natural Resources Committee describes in this analysis, the number of domestic drilling permits has almost doubled in the past five years, and from 1999 and 2007 the shot up 361 percent. Almost 80 percent of oil in federal offshore areas is open for leasing.

Drill now: We do that already, as described above. But in terms of new production, this is a non sequitur. Drill years from now is more like it. Even the American Petroleum Institute has admitted that it would take 7-10 years to bring new production online.

Pay less: Fat chance. As I have talked about before, this is about saving pennies at the pump, assuming oil companies decide to pass the savings along to consumers like us (which is hardly a sure thing). From 2005-2007, according to the Energy Information Administration, U.S. oil and natural gas production grew at four times the rate as consumption. Did prices drop? Nope. This also ignores the global oil marketplace of 80 million barrels a day. Any new production that America can bring online, given that we hold a paltry two percent of global reserves, is a drop in an enormous bucket. In fact, what they don't tell you is that we export plenty of the oil we produce domestically, while importing even more of the stuff. That's the reality of a gigantic global marketplace for this commodity.

My friend Tom Friedman has clearly also had it with the lies, which shines through in his recent piece about the folly of President Bush proposing to prolong our addiction by drilling offshore:

It’s as if our addict-in-chief is saying to us: “C’mon guys, you know you want a little more of the good stuff. One more hit, baby. Just one more toke on the ole oil pipe. I promise, next year, we’ll all go straight. I’ll even put a wind turbine on my presidential library. But for now, give me one more pop from that drill, please, baby. Just one more transfusion of that sweet offshore crude.”

What is especially frustrating about this scam is that it ignores the greatest opportunity we have to protect consumers: Driving up the fuel-efficiency of U.S. transportation.

How does the oil saved by doing that compare to what we'd get with more drilling? To find out, NRDC added up oil savings from four commonsense efficiency measures (inflating our tires, requiring more efficient tire designs and high fuel-efficiency performance standards for cars and trucks) and compared them to the oil we'd get from opening up new offshore and Arctic drilling areas. Here's what we found:

Know what this means?

It means that this fourth of July, true patriots should sport bumper stickers that say: "Unshackle America from OPEC and Big Oil: Boost fuel-efficiency of cars and trucks."

Happy fourth of July, everyone!

waving flag