Now that the right-wing hive mind has decided that today's free-market mantra is "Drill Here, Drill Now, Pay Less!"…resistance is futile. It's as if the Borg has directed the think tank drones to signal that their assimilation is complete by embedding the moronic meme in their blogs. Like other examples of right-wing GroupThink ("Lower Taxes, Increase Revenue!"), this one is embarrassingly and demonstrably false. But why take my word for it…let the Bush Administration summarize their findings from the EIA (Energy Information Administration…The Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government). Completed in early 2008, the EIA study concluded:
The projections in the OCS access case indicate that 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. Leasing would begin no sooner than 2012, and production would not be expected to start before 2017. Because oil prices are determined on the international market, however, any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant.
Got that, wingnuts? Nancy Pelosi can agree to allow drilling from here to eternity, and the effects on the price of gas at the pump will be insignificant.
But the most ridiculous claim from market fundamentalists is that the recent decrease in crude oil prices is due to merely discussing whether to allow more offshore drilling. (Go here and here to see examples from local right-wingers.) The Law of Supply and Demand is immutable, we are told by the drilling dilettantes at Pope, Inc. Of course, there is plenty of evidence to show that the recent decrease in the cost of crude is due to less demand (ie. conservation, recession), not the potential for increased supply…in 2017. You have to ask yourself why these guys never talk about decreasing demand (hint: conservation does not increase corporate profits).
Speaking of the Law of Supply and Demand, what sort of madcap speculator in Freedomworld would decrease prices more than 20% ($140 per barrel to $110) because of the potential for an increase in supply in 2017 of less than one quarter of 1% (200,000 more barrels per day in addition to worldwide production of 85 million per day)? Geez…hasn't the Law of Supply and Demand ever heard of the Law of Proportionality?
Using this sort of crazy calculus, inflating our tires and driving the speed limit (measures which truly would decrease demand and lower the amount you spend on gas) should drop crude oil to $30 per barrel. Which, coincidentally, was about what it was when Bill Clinton left office.
Drilling Here, Now, and Everywhere will do nothing to ease the pain at the pump for Americans, although it will help fuel the growth of China, India, and Japan. There are better ways to achieve energy independence.