Over the past 4 years, gas prices have risen to absurd levels across the nation. Granted, we generally have cheaper prices than the U.K. does, but it hasn’t been too long since most of us in the USA felt like 2.00 for a gallon of gas was ridiculously expensive. Many would like to attribute this to the Bush administration. Some want to point the finger at oil companies, claiming that their profits have been going up. Still, others would say that catastrophic events like 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina are the ones to blame.
While certainly some of those factors may have played a part in why our gas prices are so high, most would agree that a large part of our problem is our dependence on foreign sources of oil. This is terribly troubling when you consider that the USA as a nation consumes 25.2% of the world’s oil. But before we start hugging trees and throwing cinder blocks at gas-guzzling SUV’s, we have to keep in mind that there are several other products that are made from petroleum including: ink, crayons, bubble gum, dishwashing liquids, deodorant, eyeglasses, records, tires, ammonia, and heart valves. Needless to say, oil is important for making many different things we make in this country, not just gasoline.
We must understand that while it is very important to reduce our oil consumption and aggressively pursue alternative sources of energy, we still need oil. But instead of getting it from countries that hate us like Iran and Venezuela, we need to have our own, which is why we need to drill for it domestically.
So where does Senator Barack Obama fit into all of this?
Obama claims that the problem is not that gas prices are so high, but it’s that the American people should have had a more gradual adjustment to them. In a way, I could give him the benefit of the doubt in pointing this out. However, when you consider that gas prices have risen faster in the past 6 years than they have in the past 30, I believe that Senator Obama is largely understating the problem.
It is no secret that Senator Obama wants to increase taxes on oil companies. Fair enough. But who really pays for that increase in taxes? Do the oil companies generously agree to pay those taxes without raising the price of gas for the average consumer? Hardly! An increase in taxes on oil companies will definitely increase the price at the pump for you and I.
What about drilling? As I said earlier, we must reduce our dependence on foreign sources of oil. In addition to pursuing alternative sources of energy, one of the ways we can acheive energy independence is by drilling here in America. No wonder 67% of Americans support offshore drilling and 64% believe it will reduce gas prices. Besides, basic economic principles teach us that if the supply of oil increases, demand goes down, and therefore the price goes down.
But does Obama support offshore drilling here in America? No.
Sure, it’d be nice to immediately have all hydrogen-powered cars and 100% eco-friendly homes that run on clean energy. And of course, this is definitely the ultimate goal that we all strive towards. But until we are comfortably able to make that transition, we need to keep gas prices low by drilling domestically. We can also pursue alternative sources of energy that are readily available like nuclear power. We simply cannot afford the high gas prices that will result from Senator Obama’s energy plan.