Gaseous politicians: Nonsense, demagoguery on gas prices
Every increase in gasoline prices gets a rise out of gaseous American politicians seeking to fuel voter anger in their drive for power.
Quick fixes get featured. Lower prices are promised. Boilerplate press releases attach blame (Monday’s: “Obama’s Energy Crisis” from Republican National Committee). White House hopefuls claim that a nation with 2 percent of the world’s oil reserves, which consumes 20 percent of the world’s oil supply, has an easy way out: “Drill, Baby, Drill”.
Here is a selection of politicians’ gas about gas prices, the sense and the nonsense:
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President Obama was speaking for himself as well as predecessors back to Richard Nixon when he declared Saturday:
“It’s easy to promise a quick fix when it comes to gas prices. There just isn’t one. Anyone who tells you otherwise, any career politician who promises some three-point plan for two-dollar gas, they’re not looking for a solution. They’re looking for your vote.”
Gaseous partisan rhetoric aside, here are a few indisputable facts about energy, how much America produces and how much America consumes. The picture actually holds some good news.
Domestic U.S. oil production drilling was at 10.3 million barrels a day in 2011, its highest level in nearly 30 years. The number of oil rigs deployed has quadrupled. The Obama administration has approved oil exploration in Arctic waters off Alaska, against protests from environmental groups.
Fuel efficiency in automobiles and SUV’s has gone from 24.7 miles a gallon in 2001 to 29.6 miles a gallon. New auto efficiency standards will require 55 mpg. cars by the middle of the next decade. (Only one Republican, Sen. Slade Gorton of Washington, championed fuel efficiency during the 1990′s.)
Total U.S. use of oil has declined from 20.8 million barrels a day in 2005 to slightly lower than 19 million barrels in 2011. Oil imports have fallen from 60 percent of America’s domestic consumption, seven years ago, to 45 percent in 2011.
Oh yes, when you see one of the American Petroleum Institute’s slick drill-baby-drill TV spots, remember that oil companies have 7,000 government-approved on-shore drilling permits that are not being used.