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Alternative Energies
See other Alternative Energies Articles

Title: Fill 'Er Up. And Head for the Beach.
Source: Weekly Standard
URL Source: http://www.weeklystandard.com/fill- ... for-the-beach./article/2008670
Published: Jul 3, 2017
Author: Geoffrey Norman
Post Date: 2017-07-03 08:35:17 by Tooconservative
Keywords: None
Views: 127



Remember when Obama and others said we “couldn’t drill our way out” of an oil crisis? They were wrong.

Americans will be hitting the road in record numbers this Fourth of July. This is the prediction of AAA, anyway, and it seems like a fairly safe one. And the good news, as Steven Mufson writes at the Washington Post, is

gasoline prices are hitting lows at the start of the summer driving season, a time when increased demand typically bumps up the cost of gas. This year, however, for the week that ended June 19, the nationwide average price of regular gasoline was $2.32 a gallon, about the same as June 2000 when adjusted for inflation.

So what happened?

Well, above all there is the advent of

U.S. shale oil production, a technological phenomenon that took off in 2009 and has since boosted U.S. output by about 4 million to 5 million barrels a day.

So, these days, when the Saudis and other oil oligarchs scheme to keep prices high by reducing production, the frackers fill the gap. The oligopolists are reduced to cheating and scheming against one another and Americans can tell themselves that it couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of guys. Then fill ‘er up and head for the beach.

It is probably uncharitable to recall how remote this possibility seemed a few years back. How $4 gasoline seemed like a possible floor price. In 2008, the price of a barrel of oil went above $140 and the experts were confidently predicting that it would soon hit $200. Gasoline, diesel, and home heating oil are not discretionary purchases for most Americans. Oil at $200 a barrel would impose real hardship, to which the political left said, essentially, “Get used to it.”

There would be no relief, according to John Kerry, Barrack Obama, and others. Increasing domestic production might sound like a good idea, they said, in the patronizing way they have of explaining things to the masses, but this just wasn’t possible. “We can’t drill our way out of this,” they said, with the sort of certainty and authority that allows no dissent.

In the decade since, Obama and the others have been proved not merely wrong but spectacularly wrong. We did drill our way out. Did we ever.

One suspects that people for whom “we can’t drill …” was something of an incantation were speaking as much from hope as rational analysis. They don’t like cars and oil and gasoline. In their view, the sooner we ran out of petroleum, the better. This view eventually took an almost bipartisan, conventional wisdom cast with President George W. Bush warning against an American “addiction to oil” and a vision where, in two decades, 75 percent of the nation's Mideast oil imports would be replaced by … ethanol. Among other sources.

So we would grow our way out of this crisis. In corn would be our salvation.

Another view, held in contempt by the political class, was summed up in the pithy war cry: “Drill, baby, drill.” Sarah Palin, among others, pushed this one and was widely mocked for troubles. She, and those in her tribe, were to be pitied. They were not only addicted to oil, they were also deluded. To the point of believing that the oil was actually there and that it was just a matter of getting it.

Divining the reasons behind ordinary Americans’ disenchantment with the political class is a robust industry these days. They might, in their searches, want to consider that smug, unequivocal assertion that “we can’t drill …” And that patronizing, “addicted to oil” line. The people saying these things were so sublimely confident in their predictions. Seems they weren’t familiar with the wisdom of Yogi Berra who said, immortally, that, “Predictions are hard. Especially about the future.”

Or, perhaps, some among our betters in the political class simply didn’t want to for America to produce more oil. Wanted, instead, for scarcity to drive the price to $200 a barrel so that Americans would do all those things that would make them more like Europeans. Drive less. Switch to electric cars. Take the train. Grow more corn. And so forth.

Either way, the people who said “we can’t drill …” don’t look so smart or much like real leaders these days.

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