Drilling down into the truth

Updated
 

When it comes to energy policy, “all of the above” used to encapsulate the Republican approach. The GOP didn’t just want nuclear, drilling, reneweables, etc. – the party said it wanted all of them.

That was four years ago. Now that President Obama agrees with them and has now endorsed “all of the above,” Republicans have decided they don’t like their position anymore, and now want an energy policy based on drilling, drilling, and more drilling. As gas prices have gone up, the frequency with which the GOP uses the talking point has gone up, too – if we could only increase supply, the argument goes, prices would fall. That oil production has already increased every year of the Obama presidency is generally a detail Republicans prefer to ignore.

To its credit, the Associated Press reports this week that the drilling-equals-savings argument just isn’t true.

A statistical analysis of 36 years of monthly, inflation-adjusted gasoline prices and U.S. domestic oil production by The Associated Press shows no statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump.

If more domestic oil drilling worked as politicians say, you’d now be paying about $2 a gallon for gasoline. Instead, you’re paying the highest prices ever for March. […]

Sometimes prices increase as American drilling ramps up…. [O]il is a global commodity and U.S. production has only a tiny influence on supply. Factors far beyond the control of a nation or a president dictate the price of gasoline.

I don’t imagine reality will have too great an impact on the discourse, but these details are worth keeping in mind as the year, and the debate, progresses. It’s also worth remembering that those promising less pain at the pump by expanding domestic drilling are either confused or they’re hoping Americans won’t know the difference.

Incidentally, President Obama was in Boulder City, Nevada, yesterday, delivering a speech on energy at the Copper Mountain Solar Project, and he took a pretty aggressive line, touting a vision that “relies on producing more oil and gas here in America, but also more biofuels, more fuel-efficient cars, more wind power and, as you can see, a whole lot more solar power.”

Barack Obama

Drilling down into the truth

Updated