Gas Price Reduction Act of 2008 hits Congress

Politicians puffed up today in Washington over gas prices, each side with their own canned hyperbole-laden talking points at the ready. My pick of the day is House chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Rep. David Obey’s statements :

An Inexhaustible Energy Source: Heated Words. But Can It Be Tapped? NYTimes

“This is a con job,” he said. “It’s a diversion. These guys ought to be given a Mandrake the Magician permanent title, for pretending that this has anything to do with solving gas prices today.”

Explaining his decision to call off the hearing, he said: “We can spend our time on real things or we can spend it in a playpen with Jerry Lewis. The latter does not interest me.”

Democrats’ “use it or lose it” failed this time around – it needed 2/3rds given hopes for expedited passage. Republicans are wildly attempting to use the same tired approach, beating the oil out of the public environmental interest, resting such hopes on framing high priced gasoline as the fault of environmentalists and public lands advocates:

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, New Energy Plan Introduced to Reduce Cost of Gasoline Right Side News

Unfortunately, Democrats and environmental activists have pursued a strategy to shift the focus from the real issue of increasing domestic supply to issues that won’t bring down the price of gas.

This is remarkably similar language I listened to the other day on a local news report, the kind of report where the affiliate station sells time on the broadcast for an Oil & Gas representative to act as a newscaster decrying “radical” environmentalists as at blame for American’s woes at the pump. It’s just not true, but that doesn’t mean the public won’t be impressed by the vast resources being pumped into the illusion.

They’re blitzing every angle to gain access to our public lands and to associate environmentalism and wildlife advocacy with high gas prices – a framing that will shroud what is now a conspicuous illustration of the economic vulnerability of fossil fuel energy dependency.

A welcome reprieve :

More Drilling Extends National Addiction to Oil; Will Not Save Americans Money at the Pump Union of Concerned Scientists



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  1. Maska Avatar

    Sounds like a good time for the conservation “big dogs” to put their PR strategists to work hatching some new messages to combat this snake oil.

  2. Brian Ertz Avatar

    Oil & Gas has been exposed with climate change, war, environmental damage, etc. Now they’re attempting to use the country’s pinched wallet to go on the offensive – very effectively using the economic condition, consequences which are the result of their very influence and lack of regulation, to opportunistically retake the saddle.

    They’re always better at the organization of message – they’re value ($$$) is an easy galvanizer & coordinator ~ easy to frame, much more so than the value of public lands, wildlife, economic justice, etc. ~ and they have vastly more resources to make such spin reverberate through the public consciousness.

  3. cm Avatar

    A. Woldwide supply and worldwide demand set the price for oil (as well as future prospects concerning the same)- there is no such thing as domestic supply which would change the price for a fungible which is produced and sold on a worldwide basis.
    B. Domestic production, whether offshore or ANWR is not projected to be significant enough to have an impact on worldwide supply according to the director of the Harvard Natural Resources program.
    C Offshore drilling and ANWR would, no doubt provide temporary jobs for Americans and tax revenues on a US produced commodity – but this was always true and was not thought to be sufficient reason to drill there in the past.

    Is this a solution to the problem or merely a cynical attempt to identify an issue which will convince the average American to consider voting for a Republican next fall? Each person has to judge for himself.

  4. jimonline Avatar

    First, more oil brings the cost down. How do we get it? Dig for it.

    Second, less dependency on oil brings the cost down. How do we do it? Create alternative sources for power.

    Pick one and get off the fence.

  5. moniqueth3intern Avatar

    More reason why not to be Republican. Environmental activists are not the reason for high gas prices. The oil and gas companies are not using all the land that they have for drilling. Also the Enron Loophole have a lot to do with high gas prices.

  6. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    “Pick One and get off the fence,” says jimonline.

    They picked corn ethanol and even mandated production levels. It was a horrible choice.

    Do you want to put all the eggs in one basket again?

  7. Brian Ertz Avatar


    third, less wasteful consumption brings my cost down, and when encouraged en masse – it brings everyone’s down ~ that’s the one i pick.

    we will not produce nor consume our way out of this. continuously kicking that can leaves our children’s generation with a mighty burden.

  8. kim kaiser Avatar

    you are uninformed if all you have to bank on is oil companies arent drilling leases they already have,, you simply do not understand the oil and gas business,, I was in it for 15 years,, as an independent producer,

    conservation has been encouraged en masse for years, and demand on the world scale continues to rise. that is also picking one bag of eggs for your basket. Until the chinese and indians get on board with this thing, its a F–t in the wind,,,we conserve they use what we conserve, and we pay the high price..

  9. JB Avatar

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record. I pick solar power+plug-in electric vehicles. Zero emissions, zero pollution, and if you generate your own power the only cost is that of installing and maintaining the PV panels. Now, I just have to find a car company whose willing to produce a plug-in vehicle…

  10. JB Avatar

    Oh, and until such time as I can the solar/EV combo is available, I hope gas prices rise to $10/gallon. It will encourage us to invest in alternatives (like solar), which will ultimately reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and discourage sprawl.

  11. Brian Ertz Avatar


    conservation of energy helps in two ways – it helps lower demand (which you maintain will be offset by developing world), but it also hedges us against high costs – because we’re not using as much – that economic behavior makes for the strongest and most resilience to the flux of energy prices.

    we need to break up this idea that energy problems are uniquely production problems. i don’t care what technology we use – there are consequences. we know the consequences of fossil fuels because we’ve had time using them and are experiencing them. “clean” energy is a scam – not having employed it long enough to have social awareness of the consequences and vulnerabilities does not make a technology “clean”.

  12. dbaileyhill Avatar

    Be glad that your states did not mandate 10% ethanol in every gas station. On my trip to YNP in May, once all that gummy crud ethanol was out of my Mini Cooper I got 50 mpg. Now back at home I get 28-33 mph. So, not only am i dealing with low gas mileage because of ethanol, regular maintenance
    will be significantly more expensive and more frequent.
    Hip, hip, hurray for ethanol…..

  13. kim kaiser Avatar

    Brian i agree coservattion helps, but its not gonna stop or help in any meaningfull way until we utilize at 2-3 addl sources of energy, and dinking around by both sides for years has left us in this mess,,,and it wont fix overnight, it may take 5 years to get some relief, but if we incorporatae efforts on numerous fronts,,, which has to include oil, as well as nuke, wind, solar,, in 5 to ten years, hopefully our energy demands will be more diversified and not so subject to these spikes… i am not usually a followwer of polls, but i heard several of them to day in re, , drilling onteh coast of california,,,, and now,, as there pocket books are crashing,,,,,californians are answering polls in some measure of 60-40 to drill, AND to drill anwar at some 52-45 in favor, so unless something happens, public opinion is going to force addl drilling somewhere. whether they understand we also need diversity is another question, but to simply say just to conserve and let it off at that,,,, i simply cannot aggree on that.


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Brian Ertz