Are you a sucker?
Big Oil and their pals in Washington are treating you like one.
The five biggest oil companies made a record $137 billion in profits last year, and now we’re seeing gas prices reach historic highs for this time of year. But industry's oily political pals in Congress want us to help them drill for more even more oil.
Some people may not realize it but the fact is, when we drill more domestically, other countries can simply cut back on their own exports, so prices will continue to rise. More drilling simply means more profits for oil companies -- and more pain at the pump for us.
The only thing they care about is making a profit. When they can make more money by selling oil drilled here in America to foreign countries, they do it. When they can raise gas prices and use the resulting public outcry to push for more drilling, they do that too.
The industry is operating more oil and gas rigs during this time of year than they have in nearly three decades, and extracting more oil in the United States than they have in eight years. But it’s not making one bit of difference to the American consumer. So don't believe any politician who claims to feel your pain at the pump, then tries to sell you snake oil solutions like drilling even more.
There’s a reason Big Oil can keep charging us more, even as they’re drilling more: we’re too dependent on oil. We may not like the higher prices, but it doesn’t change the fact that right now we don’t have strong alternatives.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The best way to break Big Oil’s monopoly is to offer people more choices, not deepen our dependence.
To give Americans more freedom of choice, we need to offer new types of vehicles that run on electricity or biofuels. We need policies that support public transit, ridesharing, telecommuting and bike paths. And in the meantime, we need cars and trucks that get better mileage. See, the way to break our addiction to oil is not by chasing supply, but by curbing demand. That's right, using less oil promises us more energy freedom.
So how do we pay for investments that will help reduce our pain at the pump? For starters, we can get rid of the $4 billion per year handout the oil industry gets from U.S. taxpayers, and put that money toward real solutions. Why are we subsidizing an industry that’s making record profits anyway?
I’m not going to fall for their spin, or stand silently by while they try to treat us like suckers… and I hope you won’t either.