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Drill, baby, drill?

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10/25/2008 -- Drill, baby, drill?

Election day is coming closer ... time for a least one small blog entry regarding this. So - here is the initiative I understood least in the campaigns :)

In a speech in Sturgis one of the contestants showed himself delighted by the sound of roaring bikes: "It's the sound of freedom ... we're not going to pay 4 dollars per gallon and for gas, we're going to drill offshore and we're going to drill now. And we're going to drill here and we're going to drill now."

That's meant as a short-term relief to the "energy crisis" as explained in another statement: "Providing additional incentives for states to permit exploration off their coasts would be very helpful in the short term in resolving our energy crisis."

So you want to ask: is investing in offshore oil fields and/or drilling in wildlife refuges a short term solution at all and how effective will it be? How much of a difference at the pump will an additional 21 billion barrel (McCain) make, at a world consumption of currently around 30 billion barrel per year (EIA)? The opponents argue, this will lead to a relief of about 2 cents per gallon, starting in 10 years earliest . Even the current Bush administration agrees: "(...) access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030. (...) any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant." (statement from the U.S. Energy Information Administration in its February 2007 annual energy outlook ).

So all in all, with drilling offshore and in wildlife refuges, we are looking at a relief of a few cents for a limited time, starting in more than a decade from now. It's not effective, and it's not even a short-term solution as claimed, right?
Why investing into a environmentally questionable step, which yields less than 1% relief in gas prices, while there are means that have less to none negative side effects, but promise easily 25% in savings (e.g. reverting to cars with better fuel economy)?

I.m.o., if these numbers are roughly correct, a single oil-spilled bird won't be worth that minimal relief. Over a period of 10 years, gas prices will not change by the cents, they will change by the dollars. They already did within the last couple of months.

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