With energy prices being at an all time high, Republicans have returned to arguing that the key to energy independence is drilling for more oil. I am here to tell you why this view is not only wrong, but also incredibly stupid.
Here are the basic numbers from the U.S. government’s own Energy Information Administration. America uses 20.68 million barrels of oil a day, of which the United States produces 5 million barrels a day. It imports 5 million barrels a day from OPEC, and another 1.8 million barrels a day from Canada. The rest comes from other sources.
According to Republicans, if we produce more oil, then we are energy independent, problem solved, right? Wrong, because we don’t have enough oil fields left to explore to feed our habit for the long term. Republicans always want to drill in Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), but according to the U.S. Geological Survey there are only 4.3-11.8 billion barrels of oil there. At our current consumption rate this translates to 7 months or at max about 14 months worth of oil.
What about coastal oil drilling? Chevron’s discovery of a big oil field off the Gulf Coast is estimated to contain 3-15 billion barrels of oil. If this oil was only sold in America, which it won’t be, the oil may be drilled in America, but it belongs to the oil companies, and goes on the global market, it would last 5-19 months here in America.
The people who argue for more drilling seem to forget that the oil doesn’t belong to the United States. If the oil companies drill it, they own it, so oil drilled in ANWR could easily end up in China or India. The drill for more oil argument reminds of the gas tax holiday issue. These aren’t real solutions. They are temporary Band-Aids at best. The only group that stands to benefit from increased exploration is the oil companies.
The only real solutions to this problem involve cutting consumption and developing alternative fuels. If solving the nation’s energy problem was as simple as drilling for more oil, don’t you think that this would have been done already? Despite what many want to believe, oil is not an infinite resource. Pretending like we can just go get more is a moronic non-answer to one of the most significant issues of our time.
USGS ANWR Estimate: