The Oil Prices We Deserve

A good column on gas prices by George Will.

Can a senator, with so many things on his mind, know so precisely how
the price of gasoline would respond to that increase in the oil supply?
Schumer does know that if you increase the supply of something, the
price of it probably will fall. That is why he and 96 other senators
recently voted to increase the supply of oil on the market by stopping
the flow of oil into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve,
which protects against major physical interruptions. Seventy-one of the
97 senators who voted to stop filling the reserve also oppose drilling
in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

One million barrels is what might today be flowing from ANWR if in 1995 President Bill Clinton
had not vetoed legislation to permit drilling there. One million
barrels produce 27 million gallons of gasoline and diesel fuel.
Seventy-two of today's senators -- including Schumer, of course, and 38
other Democrats, including Barack Obama, and 33 Republicans, including John McCain -- have voted to keep ANWR's estimated 10.4 billion barrels of oil off the market.


  1. Dan:

    I've sometimes disagreed with Will in the past, but he makes some important points in this column. We can't expect the rest of the world to provide us our energy while we just sit on our supplies, afraid that accessing them will cause pollution. If we want to continue living the way we do, we have to drill.

  2. HTRN:

    ANWR is just a drop in the bucket. What we should be doing is overturn the ban on drilling on the Eastern Continental Shelf and the Gulf of Mexico. ANWR may give a million barrels a day, but Offshore platforms would give at least 10 times that.

  3. Dan:


    I agree with you we need to drill offshore in the Atlantic and Pacific, but I think you're overestimating how many BPD we can get from it. Probably by a large factor.

    And remember, it would be years before any of this could actually come on line even if we began paving the way instantly. So there's no easy, quick solution. However, even stating that the U.S. is willing to start accessing these resources might drop the price of oil quite a bit. It would be a huge psychological factor for the market.

  4. Yoshidad:

    George Will has always been a friend to the oligarchy keeping America dependent on oil, foreign and domestic. After all, he stole Carter's debate briefing book and gave it to Reagan, so we can hardly look to him for anything resembling an objective point of view. In a breathtaking display of arrogance, Reagan took Carter's solar collectors off of the White House, and rolled back the CAFE standards. No, lightning did not strike him down. (Sqeaky Fromme did)

    Even the ANWR mineral lease holders admit it wouldn't come online for a decade, and the (DOE) projected impact on prices at the pump would be one cent per gallon, then. Put another way, ANWR would supply U.S. domestic consumption for 200 - 400 days, that's all.

    Subjecting pickups and SUVs to the same mileage standards that cars now must pass would produce more oil than even ANWR at its peak, sooner, and more permanently. But Mr. Will wouldn't say that.

    Will also brings up the Jack field. There's a flaw in the drafting of the Federal lease for that field which the Bush administration has naturally not moved to remedy. The oil companies do not pay a single cent for royalties for drilling there. Paying no royalties is extraordinarily exceptional. It's like finding a nice apartment on Central Park with free rent.

    The World Resources Institute estimates that petroleum gets a $300 billion annual subsidy in the U.S. As any economist will tell you, this encourages the consumption of a scarce resource. It also means the money to build the alternative infrastructure (for when it runs out) is not available.

    Our host may decry the "Europeanization" of the U.S., but in the area of transit and petroleum alternatives, we could take a lesson. The U.S. spends twice as much petroleum on transportation as on everything else (heating, petroleum feedstocks, etc.). In the rest of the world, that ratio is 1-to-2, not 2-to-1.

    So could we conserve half of what we currently consume without discomfort? Is living in Paris, or Nice OK for you guys?

    Buying Will's B.S. about how we can drill ourselves out of the current oil shortage is not promoted by even API (The American Petroleum Institute -- the oil lobby). So let's not be completely clueless, shall we?

  5. Dan:

    Good post, Yoshidad.

    However, you have your presidential assassin hopefuls mixed up. Squeaky Fromme took a shot at Gerald Ford (and missed). It was John Hinckley who tried to take down Reagan.

  6. Luis Dias:

    I agree completely with Yoshi. Americans are completely fooling themselves if they believe that ANWR would save their butts but that there is an "evil" congress stopping them. PFF. The only thing that congress is stopping is Alaska Oil Profiteering.


    But first of all, get a fucking clue.

  7. Dr. T:

    Yoshidad and his two subsequent clown/clone posters are clueless idiots. George Will is a political columnist with no political power. He is not a thief of campaign briefing books: that claim is slander from nutcase democrats. He also is not a shill for oil companies or 'profiteers,' though he does support capitalism and free trade (how evil of him). He does not oppose energy conservation, and he nothing to do with removing the ugly and impractical solar collectors from the White House.

    George Will's current essay never said that drilling in Alaska or along our coasts would make us energy independent. Instead, he pointed out the massive hypocrisy of our politicians and our fellow citizens who demand that the Arabs pump more oil but refuse to touch our known but untapped resources. He also revealed the fig leaf 'solution' of drawing down our strategic oil reserves just to save a few pennies per gallon of gas.

  8. yoshidad:

    The claim that he stole the briefing book is a quote from Jimmy Carter. Google it for yourself. It's not a rumor.

    Here's a little further info about Will's "ethics":

    "The Carter/Reagan debate, and Will's role in it, changed journalism forever. Will went on national television that year to comment live and "objectively" on Ronald Reagan's debate performance - without disclosing that he was working for the Reagan campaign and had helped Reagan prepare for that very debate - using stolen property.

    This unethical behavior set a new low for journalistic ethics. What was equally ground-breaking was the fact that, once his behavior was made public, he paid absolutely no professional price for it. No censure, no widespread criticism, no loss of employment." from

    Will's behavior is of a partisan, not an objective seeker of truth. All you've got to answer that accusation, Dr. T, is name calling and denial. Pretty much on par for the right... I pity the fool who believes that is an effective argument.

  9. Mesa Econoguy:

    This is more entertaining than the Onion.

    So the fact that George Will “stole” some debating points from the most ineffective dolt we’ve had as president in the last century (he didn’t) invalidates his very salient point that Democrats have blocked every single major effort to drill domestically, and we could definitely use that oil right now.

    And now that Democrats and the environmental lobby have blocked domestic drilling and refinery construction for over 30 years, the punch line is “it won’t make any difference anyway…?” Never mind the fact that Chuck Schumer, along with most Democrats, is an economic ignoramus.

    If you worked for me yoshidad, and thankfully you don’t (because you would wash out your first day), I would fire you immediately for making such a statement.

    Attack the messenger, ignore the message. That’s not even an argument.