Wash. Times Op-Ed Repeats Myths About Gas Prices

Blog ››› ››› JOCELYN FONG & JILL FITZSIMMONS

In a Washington Times op-ed pinning this summer's high gas prices on Obama's energy policies, Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner wrote, "If the Obama administration were serious about lowering gasoline prices, it would immediately lift the moratorium it placed on deep-water drilling."

But the Obama administration did lift its moratorium on deep-water drilling in October 2010. Just last week the administration issued its 25th deep-water drilling permit since the BP oil spill.

Nevertheless, Feulner suggests that the deep-water moratorium led to higher gas prices by constraining domestic oil production. But as we have reported, data from the Energy Information Administration indicates that domestic oil production actually increased in 2010, and EIA projects that production will increase in 2011 and 2012 as well.

In fact, the number of crude oil rigs in operation is greater than at any point since 1987, when record keeping began:

Monthly U.S. Crude Oil Rotary Rigs in Operation

Furthermore, experts say Obama's energy policies can't be blamed for the spike in gas prices since minor changes in U.S. production have little impact on the global oil market, which determines the price of gasoline.

As Doug Holtz-Eakin, who served on George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisors, said recently, "you can't change the oil price very much with the U.S. exploration." Tellingly, lowering prices is not one of the reasons given by the American Petroleum Institute for expanding drilling in the U.S.

In the op-ed, Fuelner suggests the Obama administration can't "claim it's concerned about gas prices" when it hasn't opened up Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

In fact, the Energy Information Administration says that drilling in ANWR would yield "only a small portion of total world oil production and would likely be offset in part by somewhat lower production outside the United States. "

A Joint Economic Committee analysis concluded in 2008 that based on EIA projections, "crude oil production from ANWR would have a limited effect on the prices of crude oil and refined products ... pump prices will fall anywhere from 0.4 percent to 1.5 percent - or between $0.01 and $0.04 per gallon." Hardly enough relief at the pump to warrant the vast ecological consequences of opening this pristine wildlife refuge to drilling.

Posted In
Environment & Science, Drilling, Energy
Network/Outlet
The Washington Times
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