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The offshore-drilling hoax, Part 2: The truth is, Conservatives Want You To Pay High Gas Prices

By Joe Romm  

"The offshore-drilling hoax, Part 2: The truth is, Conservatives Want You To Pay High Gas Prices"

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In Part 1 we saw that lifting the moratorium on coastal drilling can’t possibly reduce gasoline prices. After all, two years ago, we opened most of the Gulf of Mexico — with its estimated 41 billion barrels of oil — and oil prices then doubled. The remaining prohibited coastal areas have only 18 billion barrels, of which 10 billion is off of California and likely to be blocked by the state. Another 4 of the 18 billion is in the Eastern Gulf off of Florida, which most Republican bills do not fully open for drilling since that would piss of Sen. Martinez.

Tom Cole, chair of the National Republican Congressional Committee, sent out an email (reprinted below) titled “Democrats Want You To Pay High Gas Prices.” The email quotes a conservative publication claiming, “Given that lower gasoline prices would defeat the purpose of their entire environmental program, Democrats are in a very awkward position on the energy issue.”

That is among the most laughable things I’ve read. It is conservatives who want high gas prices because energy companies are among their biggest donors, and high prices mean bigger profits. That’s why Republicans have consistently opposed serious efforts on energy efficiency, fuel economy standards, conservation, and alternative for over a quarter of a century (see “Who got us in this energy mess? Start with Ronald Reagan“). That’s why former maverick and now card-carrying hard-core conservative John McCain flip-flopped on this position (see “You’ve heard of ‘polluters pay’? So has McCain.)

Deep Throat said, “Follow the Money.” Duh!

Progressives have been working for decades not merely to lower oil prices by reducing dependence on oil but also to lower consumers’ oil bills – which is far more important.

Progressives have been working for decades to lower fuel bills by promoting fuel economy standards and much cheaper alternative fuels, especially electricity (see “Why electricity is the only alternative fuel that can lead to energy independence“). But conservatives have blocked all serious efforts and pursued strategies that have no possibility of working, as we’ve seen.

Now I am not one to consider Republicans stupid. They certainly know that we have dramatically expanded drilling in the past several years, and oil prices have soared through the roof. They simply understand that, as with the “Death Tax” — they can win on the politics (or at least not lose on the politics) by staying on message, and reap the financial rewards from the fat cats at the big energy companies.

Anyway, here is the letter from the RNCC:

I’m emailing you from my office in Washington because I am outraged. And I know when you read this email, you will be outraged, too.

Barack Obama says he is “fine with the high price of gas.”

[Uhh, no. Try googling that, and you will not find any sources for it other than a few conservatives.]

Nancy Pelosi is going on a vacation instead of holding a vote to give Americans relief at the gas pumps.

Why?

This article pretty much says it all:

“Given that lower gasoline prices would defeat the purpose of their entire environmental program, Democrats are in a very awkward position on the energy issue. They know it, too. They are caught between their environmentalist allies, well-funded groups with a very loud voice in Washington, and their constituents, working people with almost no voice in Washington.” (David Freddoso, National Review, 7/18/08)

That’s right. Democrats are fulfilling a radical agenda at the expense of hard-working Americans like you.

It’s time to send Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and their liberal friends a clear message – America wants relief from the high cost of fuel!

You can send this message now by clicking here to make a donation of $37.00. That is a dollar for every day Nancy Pelosi will be on vacation without calling for a vote to give America relief.

To make your donation now, please visit….

Your donation will be used to elect Republicans this November who will represent your interests, not the agenda’s of Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and the liberal special interests.

With only eight days left until Nancy Pelosi takes her vacation, please make your donation of at least $37.00 before she leaves Washington, D.C. on August 2nd.

Your donation, combined with the over 91,000 Americans who have signed our gas relief petition, will show the Democrats we need, and deserve, relief from the high cost of fuel.

To make your donation now, visit: www.nrcc.org/NoVacationWithoutVote <http://list.nrcc.org/t/1921230/10135941/2447/0/>

Thank you and let’s keep the pressure on until Nancy Pelosi acts!

Sincerely,

Tom Cole, M.C.
Chairman

I would have filed this under humor were it not such a sad commentary on the state of U.S. politics and energy policy.

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3 Responses to The offshore-drilling hoax, Part 2: The truth is, Conservatives Want You To Pay High Gas Prices

  1. Tom says:

    ‘Vacation’ meaning ‘House August Recess’ presumably…

    Shame on Boehner for going on vacation too then!

  2. jj mollo says:

    The best cure for high prices is — high prices. I’m happy when the oil companies make huge profits. That means that there’s some part of it that OPEC isn’t getting. I suspect most oil company profits find their way back into the American or European economies. It also means that people will adjust. The benefit of high prices is that they change behavior — for consumers and entrepreneurs. The problem with high prices is that they might come down, will probably come down. People are afraid to invest in alternative energy; people are afraid to invest in fuel efficient vehicles — unless they can count on prices remaining high. McCain’s biggest environmental crime has been supporting measures to lower the prices.

  3. crf says:

    “McCain’s biggest environmental crime has been supporting measures to lower the prices.” — jj mollo

    Uh huh. What measures? The senate doesn’t set gasoline prices. It could tax gas more, or less, but taxes have not been the driver of gas prices.

    “The problem with high prices is that they might come down, will probably come down.”

    The world market sets the price, and the price is rising because there is scarcity and the utility of oil is so great that people will likely keep paying more for it. It’s a rare expert that thinks they’ve hit their high.

    “I’m happy when the oil companies make huge profits. That means that there’s some part of it that OPEC isn’t getting.”

    You are being inscrutable.

    “People are afraid to invest in alternative energy … unless they can count on prices remaining high.”

    Partially that might be true. It is major issue of contention, actually, and the reasons as to why alternative energy has not been widely deployed have probably shifted in recent years as technology has only recently greatly improved. But mainly, utilities don’t invest in alternative energy, in a very large way, because it has been cheaper to burn coal and oil to create electricity, even now despite improvement in technology and rising prices, and this will continue for some time into the future. I think there are very few utilities that have been fearful of investing in renewable energy because they thought that coal and oil were NOT going to rise in price. They continue to not invest in renewables, today, for reasons of price competiveness, uncertainty in the cost of C02 emissions, and purely practical reasons of the technology and expertise in renewables not being sufficient enough. To invest in renewables, utilities will need to know, most importantly, what rules there will be for emitting carbon, what sort of plan there will be for improvement in the electricity grid, and what sort of subsidy regime, if any, there will be, and that there will be enough engineers and workers and mature technology to make it possible.

    Joe Romm argues strongly that right now, unlike the past, some low carbon energy technology is at the level in price and maturity it needs to be to be successfully deployed. And that it is necessary to deploy it now, because the cost of not doing so will be too great. Others argue that renewables are not ready.

    “People are afraid to invest in fuel efficient vehicles.”

    Toyota and Honda are making money selling small cars, and have unfearfully been investing in hybrid and small fuel-efficient engines for decades now, while the domestic automakers have slowly death-spiraled. This is more a case of badly run companies refusing to do what was best for themselves for decades on end, not a case of consumers making bad choices.