Increasing Domestic Oil Production Would Have Little Effect on Gas Prices

By · April 26, 2011

Alaskan Oil Pipeline

As the national average gasoline price climbs steadily toward the $4 mark, calls to increase domestic drilling in the United States have grown louder. Drill hawks would like to see the administration open up new areas like the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge and Atlantic Continental Shelf to oil and gas drilling, and update laws and regulations to encourage development of unprotected but still-unused sites throughout the country. Likely feeling the pressure, president Barack Obama pledged this month to reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil by one-third within the next decade—largely by stepping up domestic production.

But while “drill baby, drill,” continues to be a popular refrain for administration critics and some Democrats hailing from oil-producing states, the argument's relevance to gas prices has recently come under greater scrutiny. A growing consensus of energy experts and analysts have lately come out against the idea that increasing the balance of domestically produced energy could yield significant relief to consumers struggling with high pump prices.

"This drill, drill, drill thing is tired," said Tom Kloza, AAA's chief oil analyst responsible for calculating gas prices, to CNN Money. "It's a simplistic way of looking for a solution that doesn't exist."

As the CNN article points out—and as we've pointed out here several times in the past—the interconnected nature of global energy markets means that while any increase in oil production technically results in downward pressure on world prices, the effect of increasing domestic production wouldn't be so much to lower prices in the United States, but to lower prices everywhere—meaning that American consumers would feel only a small fraction of the theoretical relief.

But since OPEC and other major producers tend to tie export levels to price, the reaction to more American oil on the market would likely mean cuts in production in places like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Venezuela. The net result? A barely-significant increase in the amount of oil available for purchase and little to no difference in the price of gas at the pump.

Then there's the matter of how long it will actually take to get the currently off-limits oil. The EIA estimates that it would be ten years (after congressional approval) before the first barrel of oil produced at ANWR hits the market, and peak production from offshore sites would reach just 500,000 extra barrels per day by 2030. While that would be a relatively significant increase in daily U.S. production—which currently hovers slightly below 10 million barrels per day—the impact that those new offshore areas would have on U.S. gas prices would likely be just a few pennies per gallon.

For drivers hurting from expensive gas, the choice is clear: Either wait years for the political dust to settle and domestic production to expand—all in the service of saving a few cents per gallon—or find a more fuel-efficient car that could cut your monthly fuel budget by 20 percent, 50 percent, or higher. Or if it works for your budget and commute, join the growing ranks of drivers who have had enough of oil shenanigans, and go electric.

Comments

· · 3 years ago

C'mon Zach, haven't you read the viral email being circulated that "exposes" the government coverup of the secret oil filed in North Dakota?

Amazingly, there is enough oil there to supply the entire world for over 2,000 years! Our politicians made a deal with big oil not to allow anyone to drill there. (I don't know why they would make a deal like that but evidently they did, it say's so in the email)

· · 3 years ago

Yeah, and then there's the secret reserve on the Moon and the already actively producing oil fields of Europa. I read about those on http://shiitethatdontexist.ru

· · 3 years ago

Unfortunately as peak oil hits it will be more or more difficult for politicians not to open up every sq. inch of land for drilling. We all know drug addicts don't quit easily.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

We should hoard our oil and then sell it back to OPEC after they run out and it is $300/barrel.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

Obama's "Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future", embraces "drill baby drill". It acknowledges Peak Oil on page 2, also.

I told my Republican relatives at Thanksgiving that we'd get around to the drilling that they're screaming for, but that it wouldn't matter. I hate being right.

· Travisty (not verified) · 3 years ago

$300/barrel? Peh. That'll happen within the decade. Wait until it's closer to 1k/barrel.

I really should buy some oil futures....

· · 3 years ago

First step is to charge at the pump what gasoline really costs us.
Last step is to ride a bicycle.

The in-between steps I'll leave up for debate. But nowhere should there be "drill more."

· Hayes (not verified) · 3 years ago

I love coming to this website to watch all the peak oil ground hogs stick their heads out of the ground. A peak oil doomer couldn't be found when oil went down to $32 per barrel. New technologies are making it easier to get to oil every day and we are far away from peak oil. I love the articles on this website because I am a hybrid owner, but I also love me some doomers. This oil rally is not being pushed by real demand, it is being pushed by "political peak oil" by people like Obama and the environazis. Speculators are also responsible because their endless greed is going to crush our country and nobody is doing a damn thing to stop them.

· Hayes (not verified) · 3 years ago

Darell, why are we the only country in the world that refuses to develop our own resources? We consume a lot, but we don't produce much at all. I guess it is because Obama wants to buy the oil that Brazil produces. He said that we want to be their biggest customer and that is complete insanity. I guess we could use Obama's magic unicorn sauce to fuel our cars from here to the end of eternity. Is this the Hope and Change that you can believe in?

· · 3 years ago

Claiming that the low cost of a barrel of oil contra-indicates peak oil is like saying that more snow in the mountains contra-indicates global warming.

The cost of oil will be manipulated constantly for a variety of reasons - almost none of which we have control over.

But heck, oil is abiatic anyway, so why worry? :sigh:

In the end, it doesn't much matter how much we have left, how expensive it is, or when Peak Oil hits. We need to stop using it for other even more compelling reasons.

@ Hayes - If your reply implies that we have nothing to worry about because Peak Oil is a hoax... well, we need to address that confusion.

· Travisty (not verified) · 3 years ago

@Hayes
No doom from me just living by the facts. There is not an unlimited amount of oil in the soil and we know peak oil will come - i do believe it will be sooner rather than later but it's not key to my point.

There are not enough refineries in the US to make enough gas for the US. For those who shout, "DRILL," should actually be saying, "DRILL AND BUILD REFINERIES!" Both will take 10 years to build and neither will make a dent in the price of oil as said in this news piece.

Since neither will happen, oil will continue to rise and if people don't start waking up, the problem won't be peak oil; rather the problem will be prices for everything going through the roof. Think food and water are expensive now? Wait until oil does cost $300-500 / barrel. Food prices have already started to rise (4% iirc from news this morning) just from a 70 cent increase / gal - now think of everything you buy going up 4% or 20% with a huge spike in oil costs.

What must happen is a huge public awarness raising and a HUGE push for EV and 60+ mile/gal hybrids. If we continue to say, "Oh oil will go back down," we're just putting of the inevitable. Even if it's small we need to start somewhere and the sooner the public understands what's going to happen the faster we can start moving toward the solution.

· · 3 years ago

@Hayes -

You're blaming the lack of a sound energy policy in this country on the current president? Fact of the matter is that nobody has yet had the cajones to do what we truly need to do. Yes, I wish we could have real change - and while other countries have intelligently taxed their fuel, that same action would be political suicide here in America where we patriots refuse to compromise or give up anything we perceive as our freedoms. We used to be a nation of "can do" and now we're a nation of, "somebody really needs to do something about this." I blame citizen apathy as much as anything else. We've had it too good for too long, and we have no concept of "greater good." Now when the idea of "greater good" is raised the person talking becomes a commie. Or (ironically) an environazi.

So if I understand your position correctly, you believe the solution is to just keep pumping oil out of the ground since it is basically limitless and that quantity of oil is our main concern?

· Tom (not verified) · 3 years ago

I'm actually in favor of strategies that delay using our oil reserves. When we think about it.. as time goes on and the world oil becomes more scarce, there will be more and more disputes (fights), political tensions, deals perhaps involving "something extra" (military protection, compromising foreign policy,etc) to get that oil. It makes sense to reserve our oil for those more "desperate" times, rather than use it now while the supply of oil is still "relatively" close to demand.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

How about countries that have zero domestic oil production? How much do they pay for crude oil? They pay the same as us. Because the oil is sold on the world market.

Even if we drill baby drill -- our own production will continue to decline; that is a geological inevitability. The "vast untapped American oil resources" is a politically-motivated myth.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

"You want to destroy OPEC’S monopoly over oil—and the only way to destroy that is to destroy oil’s monopoly over transportation,"
- James Woolsey, former CIA director.

· · 3 years ago

One of the most interesting things about the peak oil debate in recent years is that what was once called a "conspiracy theory" is now generally accepted as truth, and has quickly become... the subject of several conspiracy theories. The most mainstream of these theories is of course the one being floated by Palin and Co., that Tom and Nick eluded to previously: There's a vast ocean of oil hiding underneath U.S. soil, but Obama is in GM/ Tesla/ ACORN's pocket --- choosing to sabotage the greater American economy to make his union/ California elite/ socialist friends some extra money.

I poke around a few Tea Party message board and comment threads every once and a while, and it's clear that many of the more strident DBDers really do believe that if we opened up ANWR, gas would cost even less than it did when Obama took office.

The good news is that people are actually looking into and thinking about this stuff now, instead of just ignoring it and swearing at the sky every time the price goes up 50 cents. Some of the same people who think that Obama dreamed up peak oil while studying in a Soviet-run madrasah, also tend to be interested in CNG and the Pickens Plan, which --- at its very core --- is built on the premise that we need to stop importing/ using oil to power our vehicles.

The current climate may make any real political/ legislative progress on these issues tough to achieve, but I think that the public consciousness is changing. Of course, after a couple of years of $4-5 gas, that was going to happen anyway.

· Hayes (not verified) · 3 years ago

Darell, from your answer I see nothing that addresses our problem at all. In fact you sound a lot like Obama. Eutopia doesn't exist and we need oil to run our country and we will for a long time. I wish we didn't have to use oil and everybody could ride bikes to work and to the grocery store, but that isn't the real world. Yes, I do blame Obama for bending over backwards to appease his buddies at the Sierra Club and other environmental groups. He can either decide to tackle this issue like an adult with real world solutions or he can continue down the road towards a 35 percent approval rating. How about using natural gas or is that too dirty for Obama? This president is pathetic and I truly feel sorry for anybody who can' t come to grips with that. I don't believe he could run a lemonade stand much less the United States.

· · 3 years ago

My feeling is that, to the extent possible, we should seek to meet our resource needs with American production. Yes, this will not appreciably lower gas prices, but it will keep more money in the country and improve our national security.

The need for oil is not going to go away overnight. Even if all of our transportation were switched immediately to run on electricity and natural gas, we would still need all of the oil we produce for non-transportation purposes. Rather than eschewing more oil production, we should simultaneously be realistic about our continuing need for oil while incentivizing alternatives and greater efficiency. Predictable, stepwise increases in gasoline taxes could be a part of this.

· Hayes (not verified) · 3 years ago

Zach,is this a political website or is this a website for people to read about hybrid cars?

· · 3 years ago

@ Hayes - Thanks for the confirmation.

@Abasile - One of many problems I see with freeing up more of our oil NOW is that it postpones what we need to get rolling on. As long as oil even *appears* limitless (meaning nobody has to stand in line for it) we just keep going down the same path with blinders on. While I agree that we need energy independence for national security - throwing away our oil reserves on something as flexible as transportation seems folly. Let's get moving on energy independence while we still have some oil at out disposal to help with that transition. Certainly we want the same thing, I just don't see increased oil production as any sort of cure or even help.

And yes, taxing gasoline is the obvious step that other countries have managed.

· · 3 years ago

@ Hayes - This is a site about plug-in cars (hybrids are over on hybridcars.com). And the reason this site exists is because of the subject of this thread.

· · 3 years ago

Hayes: your kind of debate is the kind I hate. I can honestly say I wish none of us with a firm grasp of reality—conservative and progressive alke—would have to waste energy trying to deal with myopic viewpoints that ignore reality and place blame on one person, ideology or group. It's silly. The world is far more complex than that.

Or do you really think any other political candidate out there would be in a better position than Obama right now? The truth is that there is not a single president in the last 30 years who has done anything for this country that really placed it on a sustainable path for energy policy, and there is no political candidate out there who could possibly do that b/c, as Darrell said, it would be political suicide.

What we need is less blame and more action. People need to be realistic and realize they're never going to get exactly what they want and crying to mommy about it stopped working when they graduated from middle school. The world runs on compromise, but this country has increasingly gone down a path where compromise is not an option because each fractionated group thinks they are entitled to get exactly what they want and is unwilling to budge on the issue. The Tea Party is a perfect example of this mentality gaining a stronger foothold, but make no mistake it has certainly started popping up in liberal circles too. All I can say is it's stupid and we're never going to solve anything if we continue down that path.

· · 3 years ago

@Hayes,

As your previous comments in this thread can attest to, there's an unfortunate intersection between policy, technology and markets when it comes to vehicles and fuel. I try to write about these issues from the perspective of someone who supports alternative fuel/ clean vehicle technologies and roots for their success in the marketplace.

As it happens, some people who feel this way are motivated by concerns about whether the planet can produce enough oil to meet skyrocketing demand from developing countries in the coming years, and the related economic/geopolitical ramifications. Some are motivated by environmental concern. Some, (perhaps yourself,) just love hybrid/electric cars and technology --- and probably don't mind saving money on gas either.

When you look at the incentives that have existed/ still exist for hybrids and plugins through the years --- or the fact that a series of California laws and federal CAFE standards are more or less the reason why every major automaker now produces or is about to produce hybrid or electric models --- the intersection between politics and these vehicles is pretty clear.

I don't advocate any single specific political approach to promoting alternative fuels vehicles, nor do I blame one party more than the other for creating problems that almost everyone now agrees exist. Still, I think that discussion and awareness of the political and economic factors applying to the market is useful, and something that many readers like to engage in. If it's not for you, just skip to the next post. There's plenty of car-only content to choose from.

· · 3 years ago

In other words:

This website is about the politics of cars.

(And about the technology, fuels and features related to cars that use little or no oil, and at the same time, are fun to drive).

Most car shopping sites put, to me, the most interesting content/issues related to cars on the sidelines. Let's put them front and center for a change.

· · 3 years ago

Obama’s Chief of Staff, William Daley was interviewed on “Meet the Press” this morning. (Mar. 8, 2011) In the interview, Daley said, “The issue of the (strategic oil) reserves is one we are considering ."

Thank you for an article which confirms Obama is full cr*p.

· · 3 years ago

Given that the top oil companies have been making profits to the tune 12 to 25 billion dollars each this past quarter, it was very encouraging that President Obama recently proposed that the 4 billion annual subsidies the industry receives for the federal government should be channeled, instead, towards renewable energy.

What is rather surprising is that House Speaker Boehner suggested just today that this is something that he thinks "is worth looking into." I suppose that a massive overall corporate tax break is what the Republicans ultimately want from all of this, as opposed to redirecting the oil subsidy money to renewable energy concerns. But perhaps its the start of a more constructive dialog.

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/obama-urges-congress-eliminate-oil-compan...

As for Micheal's observation that Zach's article confirms that "Obama is full of it" (or words to that effect,) I'm not quite sure where he's going with this. I'm deathly afraid, though, we're about to find out.

· · 3 years ago

Is there a full moon tonight? And where's my popcorn?

· · 3 years ago

It's not really that the price of Oil has gone up that much. It's the value of Dollars that has gone down about 30% in the past year:

http://finviz.com/futures_performance.ashx?v=16

Half of commodities have gone up more than oil, half less, but almost all have gone up.

As long as the fed keeps monetizing the government's deficits and out of control spending, inflation will continue.

As for speculators, unless they take physical delivery of the commodity, they do not affect the spot price. Those that buy futures, must also sell them before they expire unless they want to take delivery. What the futures market does do is give insight as to where prices are headed and provides real producers and consumers an opportunity to hedge. Speculators provide liquidity for these markets.

The issue of peak oil is a very real one and EVs go a long way toward solving it. The main benefit is that electricity can be produced in so many different ways, you can switch sources as necessary. A no-brainer for me is to convert all existing trains to electric.

Government however must dramatically reduce it's spending. I would say a 50% cut across the board would be appropriate. Cut warfare, cut welfare. Cut *all* government subsidies, both for oil and for renewable energy, and for corn, let the market be free.

The problem of EV adoption is clearly one of supply and not demand. I believe there are plenty of customers willing to buy all available leafs and volts even without the government subsidy. And if you let gasoline go up to it's real non-subsidized price, then there'll be even more demand. Unfortunately, people need to feel the pain to make changes, but that's ultimately how markets work.

I'm what you call a "green libertarian" conservative on financial issues, liberal on moral issues.

Immigration? open it, that will help with the housing bust and probably the economy in general.
Vices (drugs, prostitution, gambling)? legalize, tax, and regulate. The govt. is so good at discouraging things with it's presence, this is one area where it's needed.

· JJ - Can (not verified) · 3 years ago

We produce oil here in Canada but it doesn't stop the oil companies from jacking up the price of gas at the pumps whenever there is a problem elsewhere in the world such as in Libya.

· Peder Norby (not verified) · 3 years ago

I am a fan of the Danish solution
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1881646,00.html

In the1973 Arab Israeli War, the Danes were 98% energy importers. They were hit far harder than the US that only imported 30% of its energy. Both the US and the Danes as well as most other countries, promoted and promised energy independence. The difference is the Danes stuck to it and the US bailed when gas became cheap and plentiful again.

While every US President has identified energy independence as a national strategic interest, none have been able to deliver it. The Danes delivered and their solution is multi faceted not one silver bullet. The drilled for oil in the North Sea, They found coal in southern Denmark, They used combined home heating (pipes are run from the plants into the homes of the town) and energy plants that burn trash after a through vetting of recyclables and repairables. They balanced their roadways and town development patterns to promote walkability, bicycling and mass transit, thus lowering the percentage of trips, They invested heavily in high tech. They invested heavily in wind mills and are on increasing their percentage of renwables every year.

They are heavily promoting electric cars (it's a small country) teaming up with project better place. Why? Because the wind blows mostly at night and they have no energy storage. Enter a few million electric cars and what do you have? Storage. This combination of wind and storage has the capacity to take their renewable up to 60% in the next decade. This would not be possible without the storage capabilities of the electric car.

So for the US? Its wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, natural gas, oil, coal, and I’m sure I’m missing some. Job one is US energy independence at 100% with a national policy of investing heavily in renewables and increasing the percentage of renewable every year. This paired with planning policies that balance roadways with other forms of transportation thus reducing vehicle trips will put us on a similar path.

Perhaps one day soon the American people can be self reliant and the happiest people on earth. As it is now I sense a greeat deal of hopelessness and anger. Two really good indicators of a dependency problem, oil or other.

Peder
Mini-E #183 28,000 sunshine powered miles.

· · 3 years ago

@darelldd "The in-between steps I'll leave up for debate. But nowhere should there be "drill more."

Unfortunately, there is no stopping drill more. I just wish we got better compromises on that than what Obama did - just gave away offshore drilling for nothing (which was all forgotten as gulf oil rig blew up soon).

Homo Sapiens are no better than bacteria. They will expand and use up the resources until they run out of it. We will keep drilling & burning coal until there is no more economic incentive to do so.

· Digitgary (not verified) · 3 years ago

BS Increased domestic oil production would have effect on prices. Basic economics!

· JohnM (not verified) · 3 years ago

Domestic production may not bring down he cost, but it sure keeps the money locally.

· Samie (not verified) · 3 years ago

I would think a true conservative would question why our government is using taxpayer money to promote an economy based on cheap oil.

I see no reason for oil subsidies or artificially low prices in this market. Where I think we need some wise ingenuity & government support is with transforming our cooperate/small business vehicle freights.

Oh I must quote this:
"Obama's magic unicorn sauce" That is the funniest comment I have seen in quite some time.

Can't agree enough with Zach & others who are really thinking about this problem & applying real economic thought.

· · 3 years ago

Yes, JJ-Can, good point. This is precisely what the "Drill, baby, drill" crowd hasn't yet figured out. The increasing demand for oil in India and China has far more of an effect on price than whether we destroy ANWR to get at a couple of years worth of crude which we won't even see for another decade . . . or what's going on in Libya, which only provides about 2% of the petroleum imports here in the US.

Jose G . . . While I don't agree with all of what you say in regards to your "Green Libertarian" philosophy, thank you for advancing it in a diplomatic and nuanced fashion. This goes a long way towards being able to have a discussion at a speaking level and not resorting to shouting at each other.

Peder . . . I think the Danish solution is marvelous. Unfortunately, the Tea Party over here would simply write it off as "more government intervention."

Sorry, Darell . . . it appears that we're only at around 36% of a full moon this evening . . .

http://www.moonconnection.com/moon_phases_calendar.phtml

Butter and seasoning salt on those kernels? :-)

· Samie (not verified) · 3 years ago

Digitgary
Please explain your economic reasoning.....
"BS Increased domestic oil production would have effect on prices. Basic economics!"

JohnM
Is it possible that fuel efficiency or say shifting to more renewable energy resources could make up for lost jobs in the petroleum sector? If it takes ten years for oil production to go online wouldn't solar or wind farms be a quicker way to supply employment?

· · 3 years ago

Yay Peder! Thanks for your awesome, intelligent post and for personally being part of the solution.

@ EVNow - I hear you, and can't find much to disagree with. Notice my comment was, "nowhere SHOULD there be..." I'm fully aware that there will be!

· · 3 years ago

> BS Increased domestic oil production would have effect on prices. Basic economics! <
Of course! The same way that a drop in the ocean will increase it's depth.

Oil isn't priced through "basic economics." The price is artificially controlled by those who have the product that runs our economy. Those of us who need the product are at their mercy. Yes, we can be a tiny bit less at their mercy, and maybe drop the price by a few cents. Yay.

· Peder Norby (not verified) · 3 years ago

Benjamin

A comment I like to make to the tea party folks is:

While our nation suffers in dependency on imported oil, We justify our supersized vehicles as a personal freedom of choice, Our founding fathers who set us on a course as an independent nation with great personal risk and sacrifice, won't mind the gigantic detour away from independence while you fill up the gas tank of your Escalade, will they?

Personal freedoms and ideologies that drive this country to dependency are not my idea of a more perfect union. The tea in Boston was spilled to shed dependency. Drill baby Drill and the repeal of renewable energy policies will lead into greater dependency.

Peder

· · 3 years ago

@darelldd
"While I agree that we need energy independence for national security - throwing away our oil reserves on something as flexible as transportation seems folly."

Yes, I totally agree that transportation, particularly the more inefficient forms of transportation, is a poor way to use a resource that has many applications. We also agree that it would be best for fuel prices to increase, though I would add not so quickly as to cause a major economic downturn.

I probably ought to give further consideration to the idea that we should not increase drilling now because that would leave us with less oil in the future for more compelling uses. It seems that you would not necessarily be against eventually opening up new areas for drilling, just not now when that additional oil is less likely to be put to good use. So, as long as we are squandering oil, we might as well be squandering other countries' resources. That is bad for our trade deficit, but arguably tolerable if we can find other ways to improve our trade balance while endeavoring to transition away from oil for transportation. This is not an easy problem.

In any case, the fastest route to solving this problem would be for everyone buying a new car to get an EV, hybrid, or CNG vehicle depending on their needs, and for existing cars and trucks to be converted en masse.

· · 3 years ago

@Benjamin,

"As for Micheal's observation that Zach's article confirms that "Obama is full of it" (or words to that effect,) I'm not quite sure where he's going with this. I'm deathly afraid, though, we're about to find out."

I'm sorry you don't understand my post.

BTW, my name is spelled Michael.

· · 3 years ago

@Peder: As a self-identified conservative, I also don't understand why so many of my fellow conservatives, with whom I do agree on many issues, seem to have no problem depending on hostile nations to fuel their gas guzzlers. Many seem to justify their vehicle choices, as in "Yes, my vehicle uses a lot of gas, but the problem isn't my vehicle, it's that we aren't drilling enough." (Hence this article.) To me, my LEAF represents freedom.

· · 3 years ago

Abasile - Generally we're definitely on the same page, as usual. At least reading from the same book. I so appreciate the civil discussion even when we disagree.

I think our best way to solve the trade deficit thing is to do what we used to do back when we truly were a superpower - and that is to make stuff that other countries want. Let's take a green energy leadership role, and export that technology so China and India can leapfrog the disaster we find ourselves in today. Let's make something other countries want and need - instead of wasting our time trying to figure out how to save a few pennies at the gas pump.

· Norbert (not verified) · 3 years ago

"I would think a true conservative would question why our government is using taxpayer money to promote an economy based on cheap oil."

Exactly, a conservative should be the first to ask for solar power and electric cars.

· · 3 years ago

Yes, Michael. Sorry for the dyslexic spelling job on my behalf. Perhaps what I was trying to say is that you might find that people here would take your comments a bit more seriously if they weren't peppered with snarky asides. I know you're capable of getting your salient points across without having to say that so-and-so "is full of it."

In one of your posts from the other day you mentioned "you don't even know what I do for a living." This brings up an interesting point that applies to many here, not just you (and I addressed this to Brad in an off-list email a couple weeks back) . . . If one goes to the trouble to set up an account at an online place like this and comes back day after day, spending a few extra minutes to post a short bio in your profile and placing a photo in there as well is never a bad idea. For lack of a better phrase, it "humanizes" the poster.

I've gone the extra step and volunteered my first and last name. Not something that everyone would want to do, perhaps. But I find that, since my identity isn't shrouded in mystery or hiding behind a "handle," I tend to choose my words with a bit more care, knowing that my more incendiary thoughts and off-the cuff insults could come back to haunt me.

· · 3 years ago

@abisile,

"conservative"? You might as well use the phrase "Internal Combustion Engine" on this site. You'll get the same response.

I'm just kidding of course. :-)

In all seriousness, though, I think the issue you bring up is starting to become apparent to conservatives through a secondary problem of our growing national debt, and the loans provided by other countries, particularly China. We have become beholden to those nations as a result. This has brought the entire trade deficit issue to the forefront, with a big "X" labeling the oil deficits created by purchasing oil from Middle Eastern countries. That's not comfortable for conservatives, because it puts us in a position of weakness. By purchasing Middle East oil, we are also indirectly funding our own terrorist attacks against us. I think a lot of conservatives feel we have crossed the line now, and we need to work to bring the trade balance in line, including oil imports. If the movement gains momentum, we will finally see things happen.

I hope we finally get a real energy policy on the table, one that considers all options.

· · 3 years ago

Gas prices can't be that bad. I don't see many people car pooling or telecommuting. I think people in general are actually OK with this price.

· · 3 years ago

@Benjamin,

"I know you're capable of getting your salient points across without having to say that so-and-so "is full of it."

I wouldn't normally use such sharp language, but when someone comes on and calls a group of people racists, because of their political party affiliation, I felt it was deserved. Nobody should put up with that. Period. That is so far over the line of common decency.

"In one of your posts from the other day you mentioned 'you don't even know what I do for a living'."

If ex-EV1 stated I work for GM to hurl his insult at me, when I have never stated my occupation, and it is false, I think my comment was deserving, don't you? What should I be saying?

Do you think, "I'm deathly afraid, though, we're about to find out." is choosing words with more care? I didn't make a comment on this thread about anything you said, but you took it upon yourself to make a negative one about me.

While I see your point about a bio, name, and photo, making things more personal, at this point, I have been attacked only by the ones with all three, so it is a bit counter-intuitive for me at this point. I'll still consider it, if things become more civil.

· · 3 years ago

@Chris,

"Gas prices can't be that bad. I don't see many people car pooling or telecommuting. I think people in general are actually OK with this price."

This is surprising, and SUV sales are up this year! $5/gallon might be the trigger point, based on a consumer sentiment survey I saw.

· Norbert (not verified) · 3 years ago

The remaining oil in this planet is not ours. It belongs to future generations. In the last 100 years, we have already used many times our share of what took millions of years to be produced.

· · 3 years ago

>We have become beholden to those nations as a result. This has brought the entire trade deficit issue to the forefront, with a big "X" labeling the oil deficits created by purchasing oil from Middle Eastern countries. That's not comfortable for conservatives, because it puts us in a position of weakness. By purchasing Middle East oil, we are also indirectly funding our own terrorist attacks against us<

This is the main reason I became involved with electric cars, not the only reason mind you, but the original reason I started looking into alternative fuel vehicles years ago. We are funding both sides of the wars that we have been fighting since Desert Storm. We export one billion dollars a day to buy foreign oil, that money leaves our economy and most of it never comes back, what are the long term effects of that? Yes, we are beholden to the countries that control the oil supply and the countries that hold our debt from our insatiable appetite for oil. There is no question it weakens us, and we continue to get weaker the longer it goes on.

When people talk about not wanting to deal with the inconveniences that living with an electric car may bring (worrying about range anxiety, where they can plug in.. etc) I wonder if they are ready for the inconveniences they will face when countries like China decide they're not going to loan us any more money, or to sell off their treasuries? We owe China about one trillion dollars, do we let that go to two trillion, three trillion? I'm not saying electric cars are the cure all by any means, but they are a path to drastically reducing our oil imports and that will drastically reduce our trade deficit and I'm willing to deal with any small sacrifices that might come with a car that has a 100 mile range.
100% of the electricity for EV's is produced locally, employing Americans and keeping every penny spent on it here, instead of shipping 60 to 70 cents of every dollar spent on gasoline to a foreign economy.
I know everyone here has heard this before, and I haven't told you something that you don't already know, but in my opinion we can't say it enough.

· JJ - Can (not verified) · 3 years ago

This is to help back Tom's point:

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

· tRUTHFINDER (not verified) · 3 years ago

What produces Enough ENERGY to Allow us to tell the Middle East OIL SHEIKS to take a flying leap into an active Volcano???
What will allow us to NEVER BUILD another Nuclear Plant????
BIO FUEL "Each acre of hemp would yield 1,000 gallons of methanol. Fuels from hemp, along with the recycling of paper, etc., would be enough to run America virtually without oil."
According to Herer's research, "Farming only 6 percent of the continental U.S. acreage with biomass [from hemp] crops would provide all of Americans' gas and oil energy needs, ending dependence upon fossil fuels."
Hemp and waste hemp residues after processing can also be used to create fuel pellets. Hemp fuel pellets, unlike other grass pellets produce very little ash, no clinker or slag formations and a very low corrosion risk. These properties will see hemp pellets as key biomass fuel pellet in the future.
Hemp, like all plants, fix’s carbon from the atmosphere when growing this same amount of carbon is then re released when it is used as fuel, thus you are in a closed loop, you are not adding CO2 to the atmosphere nor are you adding Sulphur, thus you lessen the effects of acid rain significantly.
Hemps hurds are 77 percent cellulose - a primary chemical feed stock (industrial raw material) used in the production of chemicals, plastics and fibers ... an acre of full-grown hemp plants can provide from 50 to 100 times the cellulose found in cornstalks, kenaf or sugar cane.
The meat of the seed is also highly nutritious and versatile as a seed "meal" and may be made into hemp milk and cheese, non-dairy ice cream, burgers, and anything else one might conceive of. Left over from pressing the oil is the "presscake" -- high in amino acids, which can be crushed for animal feed or pulverized for flour to make breads, pastas or pancakes.The whole seed contains roughly 25% protein, 30% carbohydrates, 15% insoluble fiber, Carotene, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc, as well as vitamins E, C, B1, B2, B3 and B6. Hemp seed is one of the best sources of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) with a perfect 3:1 ratio of Omega-6 Linoleic Acid and Omega-3 Linolenic Acid, good for strengthening the immune system. It is also a source of Gamma Linoleic Acid (GLA) which is otherwise available only from specialty oils like evening primrose oil or borage oils.

· Traveler (not verified) · 3 years ago

Author is without a clue! Just issuing permits and having a government that is pro oil and exploration is enough to put market pressures and drive down the cost of oil. If it does take 10 years to build a refinery - why are we waiting. The green answer is decades away and by then we will be third world.

· Traveler (not verified) · 3 years ago

Author is without a clue! Just issuing permits and having a government that is pro oil and exploration is enough to put market pressures and drive down the cost of oil. If it does take 10 years to build a refinery - why are we waiting. The green answer is decades away and by then we will be third world.

· · 3 years ago

>Just issuing permits and having a government that is pro oil and exploration is enough to put market pressures and drive down the cost of oil.<

I'm sorry traveler but that simply is not true. You vastly over estimate our country's influence over the global market price of oil. You can take the position of drill baby drill, but please back it up with something that gives others to consider your point of view. The above statement only make readers come to the conclusion that you are the one without a clue. Zach did a much better job of explaining his position that you did.

· · 3 years ago

We will never be able to drill and refine our way to oil energy independence. How does being dependent on foreign energy keeps us from thirdworldness?

· Norbert (not verified) · 3 years ago

"The green answer is decades away and by then we will be third world."

Better an answer that is decades away than one which is just smoke and mirrors. And we won't be third world in decades, especially not if we start an economy that will last.

· · 3 years ago

The green answers are here. The public and elected officials need to become informed.

Electricity is all around us, we just need to start harnessing it. Two examples of remaking our highways

Piezoelectric highways: http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/thinking-tech/california-highways-may-so...
-Produces large amount of power during rush hour and continuous power throughout the day/night

This is probably less practicle but still very cool: http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/03/03/solar-roadways-offer-a-possib...
-Allows for a dynamic roadway and collects solar power. Think about the ability for highways to switch from 3:3 lanes to 4:2 lanes during rush hour in the morning and then to 2:4 lanes during evening rush hour. Then back to 3:3 the rest of the time.
-This option can also move us away from a roadways with oil-based concrete in it

For those who say Green Power is not constant and not dependable, it's true that the source of power is not constant but the power can be stored at 97% efficiency on a large scale: flywheels
http://www.energyboom.com/emerging/regulating-nys-grid-beacon-powers-fly...
-Flywheels also add stability to the electric grid which is another huge plus.

Investing now in green technology will pay back exponentially. The US needs to start closing down oil power plants and build innovative power generation + nuclear for backup.

With the surplus energy electric cars will be much easier to manage with the ability to charge anywhere and possibly as you drive - create electro magnetic fields in certain lanes on the freeway or electric tracks in roadways to charge from (the last one being less safe).

· · 3 years ago

@Traveler,

I do agree with you that if we produced more oil, it could have some impact on prices, and the U.S. is still the world's third largest oil producer. The problem is we produce about 7.9 billion barrels a month, and the world market is 85.6 billion barrels a month. You can see that even if we increased production by 50%, it would only increase world supply by only 5%. The price elasticity of oil will determine the impact on prices, except much oil production is controlled by a Middle East oligopoly, so the price impact could be minor to none.

· JJ - Can (not verified) · 3 years ago

The US owes Japan $885 billion.

Does anyone know if Japan will continue to lend money to the US because they might need their money to rebuild the cities damaged by the Tsunami and the nuclear accident?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_public_debt#Foreign_ownership

· JP (not verified) · 3 years ago

We import $300 Billion dollars worth of Oil every year. Why would we not want to produce it domestically? Because everyone enjoys its benefits but they want it extracted in someone else’s back yard. Don’t get me wrong I am all for alternate energy sources. I fill up my truck with E85 every week to do my part. But until that time comes that we can wean ourselves from our Oil dependency we need to have the security (and the jobs) by producing domestically.

· Norbert (not verified) · 3 years ago

"But until that time comes that we can wean ourselves from our Oil dependency we need to have the security (and the jobs) by producing domestically."

Are you suggesting we could produce enough domestically to have security? I don't think so. So why should we waste our resources in a time when supply is still there? Just to artificially reduce oil prices? To accurately reflect the true danger of the situation, oil prices should already be much higher. Probably they start going up only in the last 5 minutes.

· · 3 years ago

> Why would we not want to produce it domestically? <

Want to? We can't. Not for any significant time.

· JP (not verified) · 3 years ago

Darell - It would not take as long as the person that wrote this article suggests to drill domestically. Do not believe everything you read. There are already companies extracting oil here.

Norbert – no I am not suggesting that we could be self sustaining. I am saying we can help offset demand while we bring on new technologies and alternates to petroleum. With the unrest in the Middle East anything could happen. If our supply from that region was cut off tomorrow there will be dire consequences here.

· Norbert (not verified) · 3 years ago

"I am saying we can help offset demand while we bring on new technologies and alternates to petroleum."

We could probably offset demand a little, but to me that seems exactly the wrong thing to do. Our supply is much more likely to be cut off in 20 or 40 years, than tomorrow. Higher oil prices more realistically reflect the true situation, and will help a free market to support necessary alternatives.

· · 3 years ago

@ JP - when I said, "Not for any significant time" I didn't mean we couldn't START for a long time, I meant that we couldn't sustain pumping enough oil out of the ground to support our habit for any significant amount of time.

Sorry for the confusion. I blame the English language, and my lack of facility with it.

There are companies already extracting oil in the USA? Say it isn't so! :jeez: Yeah, until domestic peak oil, we were net exporters of the stuff. And I didn't just read that, you understand. I lived through it.

Don't believe everything I read? Why do people keep saying that to me like I'm some sort of sheep that can't think for himself? (no offense to sheep. I actually really like them).

· jim1961 (not verified) · 3 years ago

I see a disturbing trend in this country. It seems that some people, including our president, are giving up on trying to argue for greenhouse gas reductions as the number one priority. As a former climate change denier I think changing the subject is a bad strategy. Arguing for the reduction of imported oil leaves the door open for more domestic drilling and more reliance on coal and natural gas. (natural gas is turning out to be much less green than formerly thought of. Google methane leakage for more info) There are many paths to reaching our goal but the goal MUST be to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. When someone wants to argue for more domestic drilling I will not fall into the trap of avoiding the subject of climate change. I hope you will all do the same.

· · 3 years ago

Good points, Jim. If one looks at the statistics of such things, though, more people (at least here in the US) have moved into the denier camp than moved from it.

Pardon the PBS commercial here (I work for the Tucson affiliate,) but all here should watch this week's Nova episode, Power Surge.The subject matter is about how we get can get energy independence by 2050 and doing so without increasing our carbon output. Here's a link for free streaming of the hour long video . . .

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/power-surge.html

The consensus is that it's doable, but it will take a real commitment.
Discussed in detail is wind and solar, biofuels for jet aircraft, carbon scrubbers for coal plants (I didn't know how those things actually worked until I watched this,) increasing efficiency of consumer consumption and a description of how next-generation nuclear works.

· ffinder (not verified) · 3 years ago

With $8 Billion the company Better Place can make the US an oil free country saving the US more than $360 Billion a year and the financial devastation of an oil controlled US economy.
(Oil price shocks and price manipulation by OPEC at 2004-2008 cost the US $1.9 trillion.. In 10 years it will cost the US 7 Trillion!!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hk-aVB7LgFI
Fast forward to:

**** Brand new SUV's $5,000 >> 24m:57s

****Entire US filled with 10,000 Battery Switch Stations
in 3 months >> 23m:02s..

ff

· Anonymous (not verified) · 3 years ago

While more drilling won't reduce the cost today and will take years to have an effect it will moderate increases in the future. Now we do need all the alternatives mentioned but with a large stock of current vehicles including large trucks we need domestic production. Large deposits in the west could be obtained for about current prices in massive volume. We only need the will to do so.

· · 3 years ago

@Anonymous, "While more drilling won't reduce the cost today and will take years to have an effect it will moderate increases in the future."

Not really. As mentioned by others above, oil prices are set by a world market. The only way increased production in the US could affect prices would be if it significantly increased total world oil production, which is very unlikely. And if production did increase enough to lower oil prices significantly, OPEC (primarily Saudi Arabia) could lower production to offset the increase; that's how a cartel works.

Even if the US produced enough oil domestically to cover all domestic consumption — which is essentially impossible at current usage levels — the price would still be set by the world market. Why? Suppose that oil in the US was priced at $90 a barrel and oil overseas was priced at $150 a barrel. Domestic oil producers would start shipping oil overseas to take advantage of the better prices and the domestic and overseas oil prices would rapidly equilibrate until they were roughly equal, except for differences in shipping costs or quality. That's how a free market works.

The only real advantage of increased domestic production would be that the revenue would stay here, rather than adding to the trade deficit. But the same thing could be achieved by converting most of the auto fleet to electricity, nearly all of which is domestically produced.

· · 3 years ago

>> But the same thing could be achieved by converting most of the auto fleet to electricity, nearly all of which is domestically produced.

And... I wonder if there are any OTHER advantages to this approach??

· · 3 years ago

@darelldd, "And... I wonder if there are any OTHER advantages to this approach??"

Well, I suppose I could come up with a few if I thought about it hard enough...

Seriously, I was trying to keep to the topic at hand without going too far astray, else the post would get too dense and hard to parse. For example, I take personal exception to the claim that "large deposits in the west could be obtained for about current prices in massive volume" since western Colorado, where I live, is home to the oil shale that provided the boom/bust boondoggle in the 1980s. And I know first hand how environmentally destructive trying to convert that shale to oil would be. It makes the bitumen mining in Canada look benign by comparison.

So I get real annoyed at the idea that we can "Drill, Baby, Drill" our way to energy independence, as I've said before. The people who think that simply do not understand basic economics, so I try to take that perspective, rather than point out the myriad environmental issues. (I sure thought about mentioning the studies you've highlighted before that show that the electricity used to produce and refine oil to gasoline would be enough to power an EV, skipping the whole liquid fossil fuel chain entirely.)

But where does one stop? I wanted to keep the point I was trying to make simple and easy to understand.

· · 3 years ago

Totally understand. And it is good that most folks have better self control than I. ;)

· christopher m (not verified) · 2 years ago

Yes it may take a few years to reap any real benefits of drilling, however we may get oil cheaper from opec countries if they sense a threat to their export futures. We also have to get a bit more ballsy with everything we export. Mainly food and farmed out product assembly. Times are tough and we are largely responsible for the world economy. We should start keeping industry internal. This would put a damper on alot of countries that take us for granted and give some domino effect to getting the worlds attention as to who really puts bread on their table. Yes it would be nice if there was an unexaustable other form of energy but we are even further away from that being used realistically then we are from building refineries for oil for now. You cannot exist in a game that is still being played by other major countries who will continue to use oil. You really will fall by the wayside for a long long time. Transition periods can leave us vulnerable to all the wild dogs just waiting for us to not be paying attention. The world for the most part is not evolved enough for anything other than oil for the forseeable future. We only learn from horror and that day will come but for now i shall continue to mainline the black gold. Lets become adults and start thinking a more effective nuclear power plant.

· · 2 years ago

@christopher m,
I think that by electrifying much of our transportation, it will scare OPEC a lot more than desperately trying to drill for ever more expensive oil.
I'm sorry you're still hooked on that black gold. I don't need oil for my normal daily life and I commute nearly 80 miles per day. It really isn't that hard to get off of oil for most people now that the Leaf is available and fairly affordable.
I definitely wish that the American car companies would do something smart but that doesn't seem to be their way. Tesla is the big hope for America as far as I can tell.
Do you have any ideas how to get American industry back on track?

· christopher m (not verified) · 2 years ago

I will get back to you on some of this. Thanks. .....One fleeting thought.. if one car company thought being first with a real work force type elec car or truck could make them billions why arent they building it. I would think that would be more lucrative than any big oil bribe that would come their way, they would be heros to our nation and would single handidly save america thus insuring loyalty to their contribution yet they dont. They must also realize when we can no longer afford to drive we wont be able to afford their automobiles and we all go down together yet they dont. I believe there is more than meets the eye. We have so many bi-partisan scientists that can split atoms create mini blackholes and re create the big bang theory in particle accelerators but no real gain in alternative energy. I will get back to you. ..Good talking to you

· · 2 years ago

@christopher m,
The reasons that the auto makers refuse to make EVs are varied and everyone has opinions. I, personally don't believe in any big-oil bribes. I think it is more the fear by senior executives of: short term losses, uncertainty, unknown technologies, obsoleting current facilities, processes, and investments. History has shown that industry leaders often refuse to change, often destroying their companies instead of adapting to change. Among the historical examples are: Kodak (inventor of digital camera but slowest to sell it), Western Union (refused to get into telephones), Baldwin Locomotives (refused to embrace diesels), etc.
My direct answer to your question "if one car company thought being first with a real work force type elec car or truck could make them billions why arent they building it." is that they clearly aren't sure they could make billions or at least not enough to risk sticking their necks out and risking their current fat-cat positions and mansions in Bloomfield Hills. Remember that at the top of a huge organization, not making mistakes is a better career strategy than introducing successful new things.
Nissan's President, Carlos Ghosn, seems to be the exception to the rule but even he is having trouble getting his lower level executives at Nissan USA to commit to EVs. They seem to be padding around EVs, trying not to annoy Ghosn today while distancing themselves from EVs, just so they don't go down with him in case EVs fail.
It isn't the scientists or engineers who are holding EVs back, it is the willingness to commit the money to mass-produce them so that they are cheap enough to be affordable.
I hope you've had a chance to test drive a Volt, Leaf, or even better, a Tesla Roadster. You'll see that EVs really are awesome.

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