Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Drilling is good, but we can do more

How to fix the oil price crisis has become one of the great puzzles we’re all trying to solve. Some have proposed drilling for more oil at home.

I think we all agree that more domestic production would be good. Controlling our own domestic supply prevents disruptions in other nations from affecting our economy.

But we’re looking at 10, 20 or 30 years down the road before any of that drilling would have an effect on the price of fuel.

Our government can, and we can, do several things in the meantime that will have a much more immediate effect on fuel prices and our economy.

We’ve discussed those many times on our program. Regulating speculation in oil markets and cutting demand are among them.

For example, many of us look at fuel economy standards as something that just involves the four-wheelers. But if the four-wheelers used 10 percent less fuel, that would significantly reduce demand for oil overall, which could in turn lower prices that truckers pay.

If we find affordable ways to make alternative fuels, if we cut demand for other products that use petroleum, if we find ways to power things electrically that are now powered by oil-based fuels – anything like that could lower demand.

And there’s another issue – the oil companies already have leases to drill on thousands and thousands of acres of land in this country. Why aren’t they exploring or drilling there? And if they’re not going to, should we allow someone else to try?

I do think we need to tap our domestic reserves. But there’s a lot more we should look at as well.