We received a letter recently from one of our regular readers, encouraging everyone to organize a boycott of gas stations each Wednesday. One-time boycotts don’t work, he says, but refusing to fill up on the same day each week “will directly affect the price per barrel of oil; thus, the price of gasoline will also fall.”
That won’t work, either. We’ll tell you why in a minute.
But we shared that letter to show just one local example of some people’s thought process on gas prices – that if we ratchet up domestic oil drilling everywhere, the price of gasoline in the United States will instantly drop.
It’s not nearly that simple. Oil-producing nations determine the output of oil, then the laws of supply and demand kick in when the crude flows into the free market. There are a lot of moving parts in the way gas prices rise and fall.
But America absolutely has to expand its opportunities for domestic drilling if our country is going to meaningfully increase its energy independence.
You won’t hear that from President Obama, though, who often drops this erroneous line in his speeches on energy: “We’ve got 2 percent of the world oil reserves. We use 20 percent.”
He’s only technically correct. Want to know why we have only 2 percent? Because Obama is just talking about “proven” reserves, according to the nonprofit, industry-supported Institute for Energy Research. He isn’t also counting the untapped reserves under American soil.
If you include what’s referred to as “technically recoverable” energy, estimates even from federal agencies increase our country’s reserves from 10 to 60 times Obama’s stated amount.
Meanwhile, the president cynically stumped in Oklahoma last week to tell all who could hear how much he supported the Keystone oil pipeline he so vehemently opposed just a few months ago. Of course, he just wants to expedite construction of the southern leg of the pipeline – not the northern leg that would bring between 500,000 to 700,000 barrels a day from Canada.
The left’s anti-oil energy strategy is laughably unrealistic. Certainly we need to develop alternative energy sources at affordable prices. Of course, we have no idea if Obama’s algae-as-biofuel proposal could ever leap from the pages of science fiction into sustainable reality. But America’s motorists can’t stop driving to work while waiting for that to happen.
For now, the world runs on oil. This continent has it. And we need to go get it.
But back to our letter writer’s “boycott” idea. It won’t work because it’s not really a boycott. The drivers who don’t fill up each Wednesday will simply fill up each Thursday instead. They’re using the same amount of gas, which doesn’t hurt the oil companies at all. Big Oil still gets its money from you – just on a different day.
Now, if every driver conserved gas, using less of it, and maybe improved maintenance on their cars to improve mileage – that would send a message.