Drilling is no laughing matter -- or is it?

High gas prices have become the dominant political issue this summer.  Clearly, people are feeling pain at the pump and they want the government to do something…anything…everything (!) to ‘fix’ this problem.  Unfortunately, many in Congress are exploiting this situation by clamoring to open up America’s protected lands and coastal areas to drilling. 

At a time when we’re facing a serious energy crisis in this country perhaps it takes a clever cartoon to put the debate over gas prices in perspective.


It’s irresponsible at best and disingenuous at worst for our elected leaders to promote the false hope that somehow drilling off more of our beaches and in special places like the Arctic Refuge will make enough of a dent in oil supplies to lower prices at the pump.  (Kudos to the good folks at Good magazine for explaining this in an entertaining video.)  Without a doubt, the only ones who benefit from this gambit are the Big Oil companies already raking in obscene profits at our expense.

Getting going now on long-term clean energy solutions to wean ourselves off oil is the path our leaders should be charting.  But even near-term solutions offer real relief in terms of cost-savings for drivers.  Making our cars and trucks go farther on a gallon of gas, for example, promises much more and extended relief to consumers than drilling ever could – see the evidence.  And simple vehicle efficiency steps can save drivers hundreds of dollars on average right now.

So what can drilling do for us? Not much, if anything.

Remember that America consumes roughly 24% of the world’s oil supplies yet the U.S. has only 2% of the world’s oil reserves.  Do the math: drilling is not a credible answer to the price pinch we’re all feeling.  Despite what President Bush claims, opening up our remaining offshore protected areas is a crude gimmick – pure and simple.

Years from now, after the current crisis gets resolved through a clean energy future, I trust that we’ll look back on the energy wasted debating the ridiculous notion that drilling for oil is a panacea for our problems and we’ll all laugh. Otherwise the joke will be on us.