“Drill-baby-drill” worthless for lowering gas prices says 36-years of data

Slogan might sway elections, has no effect on gasoline prices-

Whenever the price of gasoline rises, we hear what is by now a coordinated shout that there needs to be more domestic oil drilling and “damn, the damn bunnies” and the rest of the wildlife too.  Thirty seconds thought tells a person that a short term price rise will not be fixed by a long term program. However, looking at the actual data is very information too.

The Associated Press looking at 36-years of gasoline price and domestic production data. They concluded:  “A statistical analysis of 36 years of monthly, inflation-adjusted gasoline prices and U.S. domestic oil production . . . shows no statistical correlation between how much oil comes out of U.S. wells and the price at the pump.”

Here is the entire story: Fact check: Does more US drilling ease gas pump pain? Math, history show that hasn’t happened.  By Jack Gillum and Seth Bornensteain. Associated Press. The story goes to deflate the drilling myth in many other ways.

One thing fewer regulations do other than trash the planet, is fill some folks back accounts and stock portfolios; generally those who already have plenty.



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  1. Immer Treue Avatar
    Immer Treue

    Global market, sooooooo makes little to no difference, despite what the CONmercials say.

  2. Gal Yellowstone Avatar

    The other slogan that needs a response based on data analysis is that US drilling will “reduce dependence on foreign oil.” Lowering demand is the #1 hope for reducing prices and dependence on the whims of the world market. At the moment I live in a large city and can – and do – take public transportation a high percentage of the time; my heart really goes out to those in rural areas where the nearest Wal-Mart is 30 or 40 miles away. They can’t do much to reduce their consumption, and they are hostage to high pump prices. Solution # 2 – high efficiency vehicles.

    1. Immer Treue Avatar
      Immer Treue

      In rural areas, high efficiency vehicles do not fit the utilitarian needs. One can’t haul, pull or plow with a Prius.

      1. Gal Yellowstone Avatar
        Gal Yellowstone

        My point exactly! It’s high time we put resources to developing sufficiently roomy, powerful, efficient vehicles that can pull a 4-horse trailer or a frontloader!

        1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
          Ralph Maughan

          A hybrid could easily be built to do this. Very powerful hybrids are being built as fancy passenger cars.

  3. Wolfy Avatar

    My Prius hauls about 300 pounds of horse feed every two weeks for a 50 mile trip… And we get over 200 inches of snow annually! People need to think outside the box on what really counts as an “utilitarian” vehicle. We have a pick-up for the occasional heavy loads.

  4. CodyCoyote Avatar

    It’s widely reported , even here at Wildlife News recently in the context of the keystone XL pipeline imboglio, that the retail price of fossil fuel is heavily ” surcharged” by commodity traders jacking up the price to profit investors who command them thus and so. Secondarily, the distribution of those fuels to the consumer follows that shaded money…even when the purchased “paper” for a particular tankerfull or pipeline quotient of fuel changes hands several times ( remember, the commodities jackals are selling ” futures” 30-90-even 120 days out). We really need to shine billion candlepower spotlights into those trading pits and see where the shadopws fall and who makes them. It cannot be a large number of traders , even globally in Chicago, New York, London , Dubai , Singapore etc, that are manipulating the price of hydrocarbons without respect to real supply and demand. Maybe as few as 200 speculators who truely control the world ebb and flow and price of fossil fuels. It would be much more difficult to illuminate the hard and fast connections between the commodities traders and the major multinational oil and gas companies , but those connections most assuredly exist.

    Which brings me to my other, greater point. As far back as the late 1980’s, the Exxons of the world could see the handwriting on the wall ; namely that the era of fossil fuels was coming to an end after an astounding run of over 100 years thru the Gilded Age of the Robber Barons , past Teddy Roosevelt’s trust busting , and onwards to the Fabulous 50’s and the speedbump called OPEC. Peak Oil and all that. So those corporations began doing what they do best : manipulating the markets and partitioning the planet decades out in front. Remember, Exxon began its adamant opposition to any talk of Climate Change and a shift to alternative energy back BEFORE the Exxon Valdez tanker crash in Alaska. Exxon very successfully ( though not always overtly in plain view) succeeded in stalling the real debate for over a decade that resulted in Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth avalanche in 2003 , which we can all agree was an inflection point. Several turning points , actually.

    Among other strategies-become tactics, the world’s major fossil fuel companies are now migrating to ” Extreme Profit Mode” , extracting as much money for their product as they can , while they can/. They need the commodity traders to do this , and vast presumptions like the ” threat of Iranian disruption ” or a nasty hurricane or earthquake somewhere provides them all the cover story they need. The actual price of discovery , development, production , and distribution of crude oil products has little or nothing to do with the retail price of gasoline at the pump. Those costs are relatively fixed. The commodity speculation surcharge has no floor, and especially no ceiling. We will never go back to $ 20 bbl crude oil now , or at least until the day before every car out there is running on hydrogen fuel cells or windpowered lithium ion batteries. The Exxons and BP’s and Elf’s and Total and Gazprom have seen to that.

    We now live in the Age of Gouge. The Hydrocarbon hegemony will do anything and everything in the coming years to make as much money as it can. Unfortunately , not only do they control the supply of crude oil and natural gas, they have a lot of leverage on the demand side. And those brokers in the commodity trading pits are on the ends of their puppet strings as well. Exxon doesn’t need to manipulate the global oil market to remain profitable. They just need a few dozen speculators at their beck and call.



Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan