Monday, June 16, 2008

$4 gas -- the project of decades

One of the correct assertions being made by the left in the current arguments over high gasoline prices is that even if we were to start drilling in ANWR and other domestic sites, that oil wouldn't get refined and into the domestic supply soon enough to make a difference in prices. Some estimates are that it would take 10 years for ANWR oil to make a difference.

There are some flaws to the argument, since the effect on oil futures prices might be registered significantly earlier.

But it is important to take this assertion largely at face value, understanding that the project of keeping new oil refineries from being built and putting the brakes on domestic oil production has been pursued by the left for more than 3 decades.

Conservatives are likewise to be faulted for not sufficiently encouraging free market approaches to developing alternative energy sources and conservation -- all are needed in addition to more aggressive development of traditional energy resources. It isn't as though we couldn't see this coming -- "this" meaning the eventual outstripping of worldwide supply by worldwide demand.

We didn't get here overnight -- and we won't get out of our current problems overnight. But the fact that it will take decades to undo the damage of decades of failing to develop our domestic energy sources is no reason not to get started.

Given the trends of recent polling data, $4/gallon gas appears to be what it takes to get Americans moving down the path to developing our domestic oil, coal, and gas resources. Approval for drilling in ANWR and off-shore is starting to approach 60%.

The time is rapidly passing when our leading Montana Democrats can pay lip service to traditional energy development while getting by with deferring to the environmentalist lobby in practice.

2 comments:

MTSentinel said...

I'm a bit confused by this: "Conservatives are likewise to be faulted for not sufficiently encouraging free market approaches to developing alternative energy sources and conservation -- all are needed in addition to more aggressive development of traditional energy resources."

What, exactly, should conservatives have done to encourage free market approaches? There was no free market demand for these, and that's not the fault of conservatives. Even so, Conservatives joined up with the economic string-pullers using every trick in the tax-book (credits, write-offs) and government grant-book to encourage development of alternatives.

I think that realistically no one is to blame - this was ultimately inevitable. Democrats are to blame for when this sort of energy crunch occurred as 30 years of domestic production could probably have put off the crisis some time. But we're dealing with scarcity and demand, principles that rise above partisanship.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting to see this start to play out the last couple days. It could have a major impact on the presidential race, just as the Supreme Court ruling on Gitmo might.

It looks as though there is overwhelming support in polls to doing more domestic drilling, and McCain has Obama on the defensive with his proposal.

Democrats really don't have much of an answer except to say: It won't work. They point to conservation and alternative energy, which is fine, but that will only produce a drop in the bucket of what is needed.

This reminds me of a recent cartoon I saw that showed the Capitol Building and the voice of a Democratic congressman coming from it that said: "We demand that you energy companies do something about these high energy prices."

In the next panel an energy exec says: "We can drill in ANWR." Congressman: "Forget it."

Panel 3. Energy exec: "How about offshore." Congressman: "Are you crazy!"

Panel 4: Energy exec: "Clean coal?" Congressman: "Out of the question."

Panel 5: Energy exec: "Nuclear power?" Congressman: "Are you out of your mind?"

Panel 6: Energy exec: "...uh" Congressman: "Well, don't just sit there, do something!"

That about sums it up, doesn't it?