Barack Obama should be blamed for high gas prices, and the solution to virtually every problem -- not just high gas prices, but tight family budgets and steep oil imports too -- can be solve by offshore oil drilling.
At least, that's what John McCain says or implies in this ad:
But FactCheck.org calls the ad "absurd":
McCain's new ad accuses Obama of keeping gas prices high, all by himself. That's absurd, and McCain knows it he has said repeatedly that our current problems were "30 years in the making."
The ad also tells us that gas prices are high because "some in Washington are still saying no to drilling in America." Not true. The federal government's estimate is that if the moratorium on offshore drilling were lifted today, it would be 2030 before we'd see a noticeable effect on supply and prices.
For the same reason, it's simply not true that drilling more now will "rescue our family budgets."
Offshore oil is at best a distraction that would enrich oil companies, and at worst a dangerous stalling of the changes that the country needs to make to continue to be a world superpower in the years to come.
Why? Offshore oil had an outsize influence on the political debate through the presidential campaign and the last session of Congress in 2008. But it would have a minuscule effect on oil supplies or prices -- the U.S. still only has 3% of world reserves, but uses 25% of output. But it might give a false sense of energy security at a time when it is critical to ween our economy off of oil altogether.
Dependence on oil and other fossil fuels is getting increasingly dangerous -- from an environmental perspective, as global warming spawns increasingly violent weather, and from a national security perspective, as the sources of oil continue to be controlled, to a large extent, by repressive or hostile governments. For three decades, the U.S. has been putting off the energy revolution that many experts have called for. Offshore oil is likely to be used as a crutch to put it off longer.
Obama has embraced offshore oil only as a political compromise to enact his broader $150 billion energy plan, which focuses on investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency. McCain has come to frame offshore oil as a "bridge" to a future running more on nuclear power and renewable energy. The question is whether offshore oil is just a bridge to nowhere.
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