YES WE CAN! Drill Our Way Out of This Oil Crisis!

May 13, 2008, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) announced, "We can't drill our way out of this." This was his response to pressure on legislators to increase oil drilling and exploration to help elevate high gas prices. To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time this phrase was picked up by the mainstream media.

It wasn't the last.

Before long the phrase was being repeated by many Democrats in Congress, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Presidential Nominee Barack Obama. Now I'm no expert in the area of economics, but I understand how supply and demand works. If you want something, and there ain't a lot of it, you'll pay a lot for it!

What really chaps my backside is the mindset of many Americans on how the high gas prices are saving the planet. Higher gas prices have definitely altered our driving habits, but we still have to drive. It's pretty sad when filling the gas tank costs more than the car payment and monthly insurance premium combined. Besides, didn't we already try this approach with cigarettes? "Tax the heck out of a pack of cigarettes and less people will smoke them," right? I'm not a cigarette smoker, but the people in my life that do smoke still smoke. They've had to rearrange their spending habits a bit, but they still buy their Marlboros.

I Paid $4.04 for Gas Last Night!

This is killing my budget!
This is killing my budget!

Being a stay at home dad, I am more sensitive to the cost of the stuff I buy. When my wife and I made the commitment to our kids to have one of us available to each of them at all times, we sat down and carefully honed our budget to reflect the loss of my income. There isn't much wiggle room. Gasoline was hovering around $3 per gallon at that time, so we budgeted accordingly.

Consider the over the road trucker. If it costs him more to transport goods from the producer to the retailer, prices go up. If the manufacturer of a product is forced to pay more to have raw materials shipped to him, guess who covers that? You and me. High gasoline prices affect every consumer- not just my wife who commutes 3o miles per day. My budget is in need of constant revision. I find myself cutting more and more of the ‘unnecessary expenses' because my grocery bill has increased nearly $100 dollars per month.

We need a big vehicle to move our family around.  Ok, maybe not THIS big, but you know what I mean...
We need a big vehicle to move our family around. Ok, maybe not THIS big, but you know what I mean...

So what's the big deal? Gas has only gone up a buck per gallon and the grocery bill is $100 more a month, stop whining and move on, right? Easier said than done for a family like mine that still has the same income as one year ago and a very tight budget; and my family isn't the only one in this position.

Please understand that I am all in favor of energy alternatives and conservation. Georgia has been in one of the worst droughts in decades this past year and we have been living with very tight water restrictions. We have learned many ways to save water and have cut our water use considerably. But the water authority didn't inflate prices or cut supply to convince me to conserve.

I can't help but feel that we are going about this oil crisis we face a little bass-ackwards. Cutting production, or inflating the cost of gasoline to force less consumption is the equivalent of quitting your current job because you plan to get a new one- before you have a lead on a new job!

I am also growing weary listening to the talking heads in the media bemoaning the fact that the US comprises a measly 4% of the world's population yet we consume more oil than the rest of the world put together. Whether this is true or not, we cannot simply alter our consumption levels overnight. I'm not just talking about individual consumers, I am talking about our enitre way of life. We can reduce our dependency, but this is a ,ajor undertaking that can not be accomplished over the weekend.

We can, however, drill our way out this crisis.

Consider ANWR, for example. If we had started drilling in ANWR when Clinton was in office, I'd bet gasoline would not be anywhere close to $4 per gallon now. No use fretting over what could have been, but did you notice earlier this week oil prices fell just over $10 per barrel in two days, and as of this posting is down another $5 per barrel. Down fifteen dollars a barrel in three days; how can this be? Mind if I tell you why I think this is happening? George W. Bush lifted the 18 year old ban on off-shore drilling on Monday, July 14th. Coincidentally, (or not) oil prices began a sharp decline.

Supply and demand. If there is more oil, prices will go down.

Not one industrialized country in the free world can survive without oil. Petroleum and its derivatives are found in so many products, that less supply doesn't just translate to $4 per gallon gas, everything containing the substance costs more. I will do my part to conserve and I am confident that the day will come when our dependency on oil and its byproducts has been diminished significantly. But until that day has arrived, can we all agree that more oil would be a good thing?

I was praying last night as I watched the dollars ticking off on the pump!
I was praying last night as I watched the dollars ticking off on the pump!

Music Soothes My Soul

I found this video today. It is spot on!

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Comments 18 comments

Health Conscious profile image

Health Conscious 8 years ago from South Florida - USA

Very informative -

This is another example of the desire for something better being attempted to quickly regardless of the actual reality.

I seem to remember during the last congress ellection cycle that many were saying the only incentive for reducing consumption would be high gas prices in the $4 to  $5 range.Surprise Surprise.

The majority voted for change, now you got it.

 


magnoliazz profile image

magnoliazz 8 years ago from Wisconsin

Stay At Home Dad...check out my hubpage "America Has More Oil Than Saudi Arabia" and it's true, I backed up every statement with links. Under North and South Dakota alone there are billions of barrels of oil. These oil fields were considerd too expensive to harvest when oil was still 10-20 dollars a barrel, now all that has changed, along with new horizontal drilling which gets more oil out of the ground than before. With gas projected to go up to 7.00 a gallon by the end of the year, it's time to start drilling and keeping all that money in this country. Once our fields are up and running, we can tell the Middle East what to do with their oil too....we should have been doing this a long time ago.


Stay at Home Dad profile image

Stay at Home Dad 8 years ago from Georgia Author

HC- To make matters worse, Pelosi and the gang won't even allow the ban on off-shore drilling to come to a vote. This Democrat Controlled Congress is a disgrace...


Stay at Home Dad profile image

Stay at Home Dad 8 years ago from Georgia Author

magnoliazz- I'm with you. I have not spent a great deal of time researching the oil reserves available here in the US, but I have enough common sense to know there is a lot more out there what we have already discovered. I am blown away at the complete disregard the 'No Drill Democrats" have shown the electorate.


Write On! profile image

Write On! 8 years ago from United States

I too, have a great concern that the current shortage of oil, is being taken as a huge opportunity to perpetuate a mindset that there is not enough... and therefore the "only" answers are to the left.

Very practical hub. Thanks

Write On!


Stay at Home Dad profile image

Stay at Home Dad 8 years ago from Georgia Author

I have heard many estimates. Even the most conservative speculate 60 years of untapped crude oil in the ground. At the rate technology is advancing, I am sure we can come up with alternative well before the year 2068. Shoot, my parents thought we would be flying around in personal space ships like the Jetson's by now!

Thanks for reading... :-)


viralprospector profile image

viralprospector 8 years ago from DFW Texas

Here are a couple of things to consider:

1. Our military is dependent on oil. We need to conserve oil for them. We cannot run stealth bombers or battleships on hydrogen. So, I doubt if the militray will allow our security to be compromised by being too aggressive with our limited reserves.

2. We are way behind on alternative energy, particularly wind. The regulations making that difficult are what could be lessened to make more energy available. Speaking of military, perhaps we could pull out of Iraq and use some of that savings to subsidize wind and solar?

We are all hurting by this rapid run up in gas prices. This year, 87% of Americans say that their lifestye is impacted by high gas prices. That is on top of 77% of us making concessions to our lives last year.


pgrundy 8 years ago

Thank you for this well-written hub. Your frustration comes through loud and clear, and I think you speak for many Americans. We do have oil left in the US, but drilling for it is expensive and refining it is even more expensive. Oil production in the US has been dropping since the 1970s because only about 75% of the oil in anybody's reserves in easily obtained and refined. Currently we import over 70% of our oil for this reason. I think that if we have to invest in infrastructure to increase energy production (and we do, desperately) it might as well be for renewable energy. We could use the oil we still do have for the military and industry, and we could learn to live on wind, solar, and geothermal. It's possible, all we have to do is make the committment. That would also help us detach from the mess in the Mideast.

I think anyway you slice it, we are if for some horrendous bad times. Thanks for a great hub!


Stay at Home Dad profile image

Stay at Home Dad 8 years ago from Georgia Author

Viralprospector- It isn’t just our military, unfortunately.  There are so many everyday products used around the world that require petroleum for production.  I am not against the alternatives.  I just wish common sense was a factor with the decision makers in DC.

I have not spent a good deal of time researching the efficiency of the alternatives available, so I cannot responsibly comment on the cost effectiveness of each.  I do think a little foresight in the 90’s could have prevented the situation we are in now.  Even still, there must be a better way to approach the situation.   


Stay at Home Dad profile image

Stay at Home Dad 8 years ago from Georgia Author

Pgrundy- I just can’t help but believe there is a better way to go about this situation. And when I hear comments from legislators in DC heralding high gas prices as a good way to control consumption, I have to question their priorities.

It’s as though some members of Congress are trying to ‘teach us a lesson’ because we use too much of the only thing we’ve known for years as a means of powering our vehicles.

I am afraid you are right about things getting worse before they get better and I am planning accordingly.


BaliMermaid profile image

BaliMermaid 8 years ago from Ubud Bali

Hi Stay at Home Dad. Let me know if your hits on this hub pick up. My dad book marked your article ( hubpage ) on a new social book mark site that seems to get great back links. It would be helpful to know if you notice any increase.

Where in Georgia are you from? My grandfather was born in Warthen Georgia in Washington County ( Sandersville, Sparta).

Thanks,

Balimermaid


Stay at Home Dad profile image

Stay at Home Dad 8 years ago from Georgia Author

Hello Balimermaid- Tell your dad I really appreciate book marking my hub and I will be sure to let you know if traffic picks up. 

I am not actually from Georgia, but I have lived a little north of Atlanta for the past 6 years.


terenceyap07 profile image

terenceyap07 8 years ago from Singapore

Dear Stay at Home Dad,

Living in one of the richest economies in the world and having one of the most efficient governments at controlling inflation, we too have felt the "crunch" of soaring oil and food prices.

I empathize with what you, your family and friends are going through. Prices across the board have escalated beyond what could have ever been believed possible. But there are other problems that have directly pushed oil prices up, too.

The recent "leak" from the World Bank has revealed a report that has attributed the push for bio fuels to be responsible for about 75% of prices increases in food and oil. This link from The Wall Street Journal Blog refers:

http://blogs.wsj.com/environmentalcapital/2008/07/...

I don't normally leave links in comments and I assure you that this is not any type of spam or self-promotion.

I hope that you and every reader that views this news article from The Wall Street Journal will be compelled to respond by helping to spread an awareness of the major causes to price increases that have nearly crippled our way of life and, are making food unaffordable to the poor and less privileged.

And yes, I agree with you that more oil at this particular juncture of time would be beneficial as long as we remain on track and are committed to the development of alternative sources of energy.

Thank you for this useful article, my friend. May you always be blessed for the effort that you have put into it.


Stay at Home Dad profile image

Stay at Home Dad 8 years ago from Georgia Author

Terenceyap07-

I may get into the ethanol debate in a future hub. I have some good friends in Illinois that actually built an ethanol plant and they would be a good source of information.

I checked out the link and find it most intriguing. I’m not sure about any cover ups by the government, but I am afraid the ethanol response was just a knee jerk attempt to put a band aid over the situation.

Thanks for your comments and for reading my hub…


02SmithA profile image

02SmithA 8 years ago from Ohio

I have to agree with your sentiments here. I keep hearing "well if we start drilling today these measures won't help for quite a while" I keep thinking, yeah and if we keep putting off drilling it is going to take that much longer. Just because something won't help tommorrow doesn't mean we shouldn't do it.


Stay at Home Dad profile image

Stay at Home Dad 8 years ago from Georgia Author

You are exactly right 02SmithA! Clinton had the chance to start the drilling in ANWR and did not. That was how long ago?

The price of oil has come down to nearly $100 per barrel since last week. Imagine that! And the liberal-run media is claiming that the sole reason for this is people not driving as much. They won’t even acknowledge that oil prices began to tumble as soon as Bush lifted of the offshore drilling ban. Imagine what would happen if Pelosi and the gang got off their hands and committed to domestic drilling. I know it would definitely help my family.

Thanks for reading…


02SmithA profile image

02SmithA 8 years ago from Ohio

Yeah they definitely haven't been short on chances to act. They also like to blame it purely on speculators. That's a nice game to play when you want to deflect the fact that we need more supply to meet the demand.


Stay at Home Dad profile image

Stay at Home Dad 8 years ago from Georgia Author

The finger of blame is always looking for a scape goat. It is maddening to listen to them skirt the issue and blame everyone except themselves.

Best to you...

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