Upsetting the oil drum

The big push from the hard right is that the solution to our gasoline problem is unlimited drilling in the United States. This is roughly like saying the solution to losing your 100,000 dollar a year job is to fish harder for coins under your couch.

The global consumption of oil is roughly 86.8 million barrels per day. The meme the right is pushing, as always, is ANWR and unrestricted coastal drilling. The best estimates of unrestricted drilling in the US put about 25 billion barrels of oil, which sounds like a great deal, until you realize that this is less than a year of global oil demand. The reality is that the United States is the most drilled in area of the world, having had the petroleum economy more, longer, and harder, than any other place in the world. If there were easy oil to be had, we would have it.

The cost of that effort is not making things that we can sell for oil that is much easier to get at. The cry of ANWR for ever is the Republican Party telling everyone that they have no faith in the American worker, the American entrepreneur, or the free market system. It is them telling everyone that Americans cannot make things the rest of the world wants to buy. Import substitution does not in general work, because it is almost always more expensive than trading, and focusing on what can be done better inside the national unit, rather than trying to do less worse at what it does worst.

Let me repeat that. ANWR forever is a giant middle finger at everyone who works in America at any job that exports.


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