Knoxville, Tenn. (July 18, 2008) – Americans today face an apparent brick wall of high fuel prices that have created a rippling effect throughout our economy. In late June, Senate Republican leaders responded to this growing dilemma with a false solution—the Gas Price Reduction Act of 20081. Attempting to surmount this brick wall by drilling deeper and in more places for domestic oil and gas resources, this bill will do nothing to actually relieve Americans of high fuel prices in the near term. According to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) 2007 Annual Energy Outlook, developing America’s offshore oil resources will not significantly affect oil production until at least 2030. Even then, any impact on oil prices would be minimal. The EIA analysis states:
Leasing would begin no sooner than 2012, and production would not be expected to start before 2017. Total domestic production of crude oil from 2012 through 2030…is projected to be 1.6 percent higher than in the reference case…. For the lower 48 [outer continental shelf], annual crude oil production in 2030 is projected to be 7 percent higher—2.4 million barrels per day in the [outer continental shelf] access case compared with 2.2 million barrels per day in the reference case.2
It would be irresponsible to destroy some of our region’s most pristine coastlines, protected wilderness areas, and publicly owned land to access to obtain a marginal increase in oil production. Instead of false solutions, Congress should focus on even higher fuel economy standards and additional clean technology development that will help Americans conserve fuel and reduce our oil dependence. We’ve done it before, and we can do it again. According to energy analyst Amory B. Lovins, “From 1977 to 1985, U.S. GDP rose 27 percent while total U.S. oil imports fell by 42 percent, or 3.74 million barrels a day… more efficient cars… were the most important cause.”3
The solution to high fuel prices lies in our ability to be increasingly efficient in our fuel use while we develop sustainable, renewable fuel sources such as cellulosic biofuels here in the Southeast. It is disappointing that almost all of our region’s Senators fail to recognize that drilling is not a real solution to fuel prices or oil independence. This challenge requires real leadership and a new way of doing business instead of simply continuing down the path that got us where we are today.
The Gas Prices Reduction Act of 2008 is supported by many of the Senators from the Southeast, including: Senators Alexander and Corker (TN); Senators Burr and Dole (NC); Senators Graham and DeMint (SC); Senators Chambliss and Isakson (GA); and Senator Martinez (FL).
3 http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20010701faessay4995/amory-b-lovins-l-hunter-lovins/fool-s-gold-in- alaska.html # # # Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a nonprofit organization thatpromotes responsible energy choices that create global warmingsolutions and ensure clean, safe, and healthy communities throughoutthe Southeast.