Even Fossil Fuel-Friendly EIA Says Massive Expansion of Offshore Drilling Won't Lower Gas Prices Even Fossil Fuel-Friendly EIA Says Massive Expansion of Offshore Drilling Won't Lower Gas Prices
Environment

Even Fossil Fuel-Friendly EIA Says Massive Expansion of Offshore Drilling Won't Lower Gas Prices

by Ben Jervey

April 30, 2011


By 2030, if we increase fuel efficiency in cars 6 percent every year for just eight years starting in 2017, per gallon gas prices would be $3.44 per gallon. Compare that to the $3.59 per gallon price that we'd get under the massive expansion of offshore drilling. That 6 percent scenario wasn't pulled out of thin air—it's a legitimate proposal being debated in D.C. that would yield a fleet-wide standard of 60+ miles per gallon by 2025. (See Go60mpg.org) Even the less ambitious 3 percent increase in gas mileage would bring about cheaper gas ($3.51 per gallon) than maxing out our offshore oil reserves. 

In short: increasing the gas mileage of American cars is a far better way to cut gas prices than drilling.

If you think about it, this all makes some intuitive sense. The U.S. consumes roughly one-quarter of the world's oil, but holds only 2 percent of the world's oil reserves. So, a far more effective way to reduce gas prices is to address domestic demand than supply. In other words: make vehicles more fuel efficient, and increase energy efficiency incentives.

Our level of oil production as a percentage of global supply is always going to be too small a percentage to have a big impact on prices.Check out our offshore drilling transparency to see just how little of the global oil reserves are located off our coasts.

"This drill drill drill thing is tired," said Tom Kloza, the chief oil analyst for Oil Price Information Service, which calculates gas prices for AAA, hardly a champion of environmental causes. "It's a simplistic way of looking for a solution that doesn't exist." 

Anyone who tells you we can drill our way to lower gas prices in the short term is just plain wrong. It is simply not true. 

Photo (cc) from Flickr user eschipul

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Even Fossil Fuel-Friendly EIA Says Massive Expansion of Offshore Drilling Won't Lower Gas Prices