Creating and selling urban myths has become a highly successful cottage industry in the United States. Take the latest Big Oil myth created and spread by Big Oil that says we will get a price break at the gas pump if we just let the industry drill anywhere and everywhere.Oh, and by the way, speaking of drilling for oil out west, this New York Times story tells us that has often yielded not oil, but natural gas.
Selling the Big Myth has been so successful that now a majority of Americans believe Big Oil actually wants us to pay less for its product. It doesn’t help that Big Oil is spending millions on ads to get us to ignore the facts and buy into its fairytale; We’re with Big Oil and we’re here to save you money.
Yes, that’s the same Big Oil that helped drill us into our energy crisis, and made record profits doing it. The fact is, Big Oil’s backward-looking, drill-here-drill-now propaganda will not get us the promised price break at the gas pump, it will not help us fight climate change, and it will certainly not help America break its addiction to oil. Even if we drilled every last precious place in America, we have neither the oil reserves nor the ability to produce it in large enough quantities to make a dent in world oil prices.
According to the Bush Administration’s Department of Energy (DOE), the total additional oil that could be brought onto the global market from drilling in the Arctic Wildlife National Refuge, the Outer Continental Shelf, and the Rocky Mountain states combined is likely to be only about 1.2 million barrels a day at peak production. That amount might, according to DOE, drop the price of a barrel of oil by $1.20 (provided OPEC oil producers don’t drop production by the same amount to keep prices high), and might save Americans a few pennies at the pump – about three cents a gallon. And if the savings happened at all, they would not be seen by Americans for at least another 10 years, and maybe not for 20.
Back to Perry…
The truth is, we can overcome our addiction to oil, fight climate change, and get a break in fuel costs with solutions already at our fingertips. For instance, global warming legislation, like the Climate Security Act recently considered in the Senate, would save Americans $180 billion through 2030 in foreign oil costs. You won’t hear Big Oil telling you this, but the provisions of that bill are four times more effective at reducing oil imports than drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, off America’s beaches, and in the Rocky Mountains combined. Even the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that under the Climate Security Act, U.S. petroleum consumption would drop by more than one third by 2030 – saving far in excess of the amount of oil we could ever pull from U.S. lands or coasts.I should also note that the Courier Times has another good Guest Opinion on this subject today for which no link is currently available – let’s see if they provide one or if they want to continue favoring the blowhards instead.
Any plan to put America on a path to a new energy future must take into account more than just the need to break our addiction to oil and the price we pay at the pump. It also must address the price we pay for doing nothing about climate change and the need to recharge America’s economy by tapping the rapidly developing clean energy industry.
In 2006, the renewable energy and energy efficiency industries generated 8.5 million jobs and nearly $970 billion in revenue in America, touching every aspect of our economy. Imagine where we could be in a few years with climate legislation designed to drive investment and innovation that puts America on the path to a clean energy future.
A shift to clean energy technologies offers us the best possible long-term solution to our global warming and energy challenges. Fossil fuels account for 95 percent of the global warming pollution produced in the U.S. But if Congress fails to act on climate legislation soon, technology investments and innovation may not occur fast enough to wean us off those fuels in time to stimulate our economy and protect it from the worst damages of climate change.
Climate legislation like the Climate Security Act offers America the best roadmap to achieve energy independence, global warming solutions, economic stimulus from clean energy jobs, and long term energy cost reductions.
Americans deserve better choices than the oil and gas industry is offering us today. Instead of drinking Big Oil’s Kool Aid, we need to ignore its propaganda and break its stranglehold on our wallets, our wildlife, our economy, and our choices.
And by the way, I thought this was a neat ad by Barack Obama on this subject (h/t The Daily Kos).