With gas prices hitting $4 a gallon (again), House Republicans are pressuring President Obama to expand offshore oil drilling, saying that increased domestic production will help bring prices down. The House passed a bill on Friday that would require the Secretary of the Interior to grant approvals on offshore lease applications within 30 days to help get more oil flowing quickly. But administration officials say they need more time to assess the potential environmental impact of new wells, and energy industry experts say the new production will have little impact on gas prices anyway. Is more domestic drilling really the cure for $4-a-gallon gasoline?
Of course increased production will bring down prices: President Obama's war against offshore drilling is one of the reasons for "rocketing gas prices today," says David Limbaugh in the Washington Examiner. Gas prices went down by 9 percent when George W. Bush was in office, because he "took proactive steps to increase our supply and reduce price." Expensive gas is back because Obama is discouraging oil production so he can "cram his preferred energy alternatives down Americans' throats."
"Obama's scandalous war against domestic oil"
Drilling more won't help: The Right's mindless drill-baby-drill chant is no solution, says The New York Times in an editorial. The U.S. has just 2 percent of the world's oil reserves. Even if we triple production on the outer continental shelf, it would have no impact until 2020, and even then we'd only save pennies a gallon. But doubling the fuel economy on America's cars over the next 15 years would reduce fuel prices by 20 percent. So why aren't Republicans helping Obama repeal $4 billion in annual oil-industry savings and investing the savings to develop more fuel-efficient cars and alternative fuel sources?
"The return of 'drill, baby, drill'"
Hiking taxes on Big Oil won't help either: Nothing revs up politicians quite like $4 a gallon gas, says former Republican Sen. John Sununu in The Boston Globe. But demonizing oil companies and hiking their taxes — as we'd effectively be doing by eliminating tax benefits — is certainly not the way to get them to reduce their prices. Nor will throwing tax money at ethanol plants, hydrogen cars, and bullet trains. "If cars ran on crazy talk, we'd all drive for free."
"Wasting time on oil company taxes"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The lessons of Japan's latest recession
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
- Why the poor can't catch a break on Thanksgiving
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
Subscribe to the Week