Why new offshore drilling won't solve (and won't even help solve) the energy problem in the United States

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Here's why.

The U.S. uses 15 million barrels of oil at present, and two-thirds of that is foreign oil. Offshore drilling would start producing 200,000 barrels a day sometime after 2020, taking care of a whopping 1/90th of oil consumption (by that time it would be up to 16 million barrels a day).

An announcement that offshore drilling was going to take place could drive prices down ever so slightly but the fact that it wouldn't start until 2020 means that the effect would be minimal in the long term. A much better idea would be to begin in the first year with a nationwide campaign for proper tire pressure, tune-ups and all the rest, while at the same time changing the insurance system to provide benefits for those that drive more efficient cars. The province of B.C. in Canada did something similar a few year ago - a slightly higher cost for those driving less efficient vehicles and a tax credit for those driving more efficient vehicles, but revenue-neutral in that the extra taxes paid by one side was balanced out by the tax credit obtained by the other. I think vehicles that could be proven to be necessary for work (pickup trucks for example) were exempt, so as to not punish small business owners that relied on certain vehicles.


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