Thursday, June 19, 2008

Time to DRILL

It really baffles me that we've let a minority of crazies prevent us from accessing the billions of barrels of oil in our own backyard for this long. It's taken $4/gallon gasoline to wake people up to the fact that we could be doing something about our dependence on anti-American terrorists for the lifeblood of our economy. (And yes, like it or not, our economy would collapse without a continued supply of oil) In fact, we could have done something about this years ago. If it wasn't for Bill Clinton, we'd be pulling oil out of ANWR right now.

I realize that finding our own supply of oil is not the complete solution to our energy problems. There are many factors contributing to the high cost of gasoline right now - for great analyses of these factors, see the many posts by blackhedd at Redstate - but one factor that everyone agrees is contributing significantly to the price of oil is the lack of supply. Combine the fact that, according to many experts, global oil supply has peaked for the first time ever, with China and India's explosion in demand for oil, and you only need a basic understanding of economics to realize that higher prices will result. Decreased supply + Increased demand = higher prices.

There are changes to the above equation which will result in lower prices: Decrease demand, increase supply, or both. Of course, the assumption that we remain true to free market principles of economics is taken for granted. Based on the rhetoric of some Democrats lately, that assumption may not be valid. The socialist's solution to this is simply have the government control the price, or even the supply, of oil. I'm too young to remember the 1970's, but from what I hear, that little experiment in price controls didn't go over well. We've already seen examples of Democrats' disdain for the free market with their mandating of fuel economy standards for vehicles, not to mention their outright ban of the lightbulb.

So, according to most "environmentalists", the best solution by far is to decrease our demand for oil. It's not that difficult - just stop using it, mkay? Right. I think we can all agree that, barring the discovery of a car that runs on B.S., that solution just isn't feasible right now. That's not to say we shouldn't be developing alternative fuels. The simple fact is that we are. Right now. It doesn't take a genious in marketing to realize that fuel-efficient is the new holy grail for vehicle manufacturers. You see, that's the beauty of free markets.

Suppliers are pretty good at reading what consumers want, and it's pretty obvious that consumers want an alternative to gasoline-based transportation. Evidence of the free market at work solving this problem is abundant. You can't watch a television show on any channel without seeing a commercial advertising eco-friendly or fuel efficient. The greatest minds in science and engineering are right now at work on this very problem, and guess what? They don't need the most inefficient bureaucracy ever established (our government) telling them what to do. Got that Pelosi? Let American businesses do what they do best. Innovate. And get the @%#! out of the way.

Now I feel better. The other solution, as mentioned above, is to increase supply. Here we see where common sense has once again - shock of all shocks - been cast aside by our hapless leaders in Washington. We can't access the billions of gallons of oil in our own country, relying instead on oil-rich nations who would like nothing better than to see our economy collapse. It's time to access that oil right now, if for no other reason but to buy us the time to let American ingenuity work out another solution. The simple announcement that we are opening up ANWR and other areas off the coast to oil exploration would produce an instant drop in the price of crude oil, and send a message to our suppliers in the middle east and elsewhere.

The technology now used to harvest crude oil is pretty remarkable, and leaves an almost negligible footprint on the surrounding environment. The Prudhoe Bay sight now in operation, right next door to the proposed ANWR sight, is a great example. The caribou population in the region has thrived since its inception, despite the ridiculous warnings from those opposed to the project.

Opening these regions to oil exploration is not a permanent solution to our problems. But it is a common sense approach to the current crisis, and would have an immediate impact on gasoline prices. We must continue to develop alternatives, but until we have something viable, this is really our only option.

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