Tuesday, August 05, 2008

McCain's New Rallying Cry vs. Reality: Guess Who Wins?

John McCain went to the Sturgis motorcycle rally yesterday. The salient bits of his address boil down to this:
“We’re not going to pay $4 dollars a gallon for gas (when I am president) because we are going to drill offshore and we are going to drill now. We are doing to drill here and we are going to drill now,” he said.

Awesome. One teeny tiny problem with that, though. The government's own research contradicts him. The Energy Information Administration (the Department of Energy's independent stats and analysis organ) pretty bluntly dismisses the notion that drilling here, drilling now will solve our gas pump price shock any time during the next president's administration. Or the one after that. Or the one after that.

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. Total domestic production of crude oil from 2012 through 2030 in the OCS access case is projected to be 1.6 percent higher than in the reference case, and 3 percent higher in 2030 alone, at 5.6 million barrels per day. For the lower 48 OCS, annual crude oil production in 2030 is projected to be 7 percent higher—2.4 million barrels per day in the OCS access case compared with 2.2 million barrels per day in the reference case (Figure 20). Because oil prices are determined on the international market, however, any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant.

And that's a best-case scenario that assumes "local infrastructure issues and other potential non-Federal impediments will be resolved after Federal access restrictions have been lifted." Want a picture? There's also a picture. The green line just above the blue line illustrates the expected gains.

Figure 20. Lower 48 offshore crude oil production in two cases, 1990-2030 (million barrels per day).  Need help, contact the National Energyi Information Center at 202-586-8800.

What about all that oil those stupid caribou and polar bears are squatting on in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? That would make a big dent in foreign oil dependence and prices at the pump, right? Uh, no.

The EIA also researched the impact of crude oil production in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. To put it in scale, ANWR is believed to have a potential for 10.4 billion barrels of crude oil, a little more than half of the projected potential for the offshore areas McCain has proposed opening.

ANWR would add only 1 to 2 percent to the overall world oil supply, said Philip Budzig, who authored the report for the EIA. The report concluded drilling there would subtract anywhere from 41 cents to $1.44 per barrel of crude oil around 2025. That translates to a savings of just a couple pennies per gallon at the pump. Again, in 2025.

Budzig noted that the report was prepared when oil was going for about $65 a barrel. It’s now double that. So, in theory, savings might be double what he projected last year.

So, (a couple pennies per gallon) x 2 = what, like four cents? In 2025 pennies? Are we even going to have pennies in 2025?

What will make a difference right away for all Americans' wallets? Let's see. John McCain says drill here, drill now. All the evidence indicates that magically conjuring fully functioning derricks positioned over every sweet spot in Alaska and the continental shelf will not tide me over to my next paycheck. The McCain campaign, which every day exhibits more and more evidence of being run by first-keg frat boys, has been handing out pressure gauges to mock Barack Obama's suggestion that if people want to reduce their own personal reliance on foreign oil, they should keep their tires inflated.

Let's check back with that notoriously liberal, tree-hugging entity known as the US government.

The Department of Energy estimated in 2005 that U.S. motorists wasted 1.2 billion gallons of gasoline a year from driving on underinflated tires -- roughly 61 million barrels of oil.

The government also offers "Tips to Improve Your Gas Mileage," and if you go through the whole onerous list of things like keeping your car tuned up, changing the air filter, and inflating your tires, you can see a fuel economy improvement of up to 17%, which at $3.96 a gallon translates to a savings of 68 cents per gallon, or over eight bucks per fillup on a 12-gallon tank. Compare the immediate 17% decrease in gasoline consumption you get from tuning and tires to the best-case 7% increase in domestic oil production by 2025 and tell me which makes the most sense in the short term. Then McCain and the 20,000 idiot bikers who cheered him in Sturgis can explain to me why a party that constantly touts self-reliance ridicules the notion of individuals adopting thrifty behaviors when it comes to gasoline. Never mind we're paying half what Europe does. We want ours and we want more, more, more, and we want it to be handed to us on the cheap right now.

Barack? You need to call him on this bullshit now, not "compromise" when the compromise is directly built on the bullshit idea that drilling is the solution to anything but Exxon's quest for the next quarterly earnings record.

1 comment:

A said...

I just ran across this post today, and it's great! It got me to thinking that you might be interested in some information about the current energy crunch. Here at The Wilderness Society, we’ve been compiling quite a lot of info that you might find useful for a future post. Hopefully we can talk a little more about the opportunities via email (Andrew_Peters ‘at’ tws.org). I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

In the meantime, you might want to check out a couple links: