Bye, Bye Oil

At Tuesday's debate, President Obama and Mr. Romney sparred over who was friendliest to the oil industry.  Has drilling gone up or down in the past four years? Who would make sure we sucked the maximum oil from our lands and sensitive offshore environments?

It was one of the most disingenuous arguments from both sides.  The moderator's question was about gasoline prices, now well over four dollars a gallon in the western states. Which candidate would lower gas prices?  If they actually believe more oil wells are the answer, neither stands a chance. The real problem is what happens to our oil after it's extracted.

We are not ready yet to forgo petroleum as an energy resource.  Yes, we need to invest in the transition to renewable, environmentally sound alternate energies.  But oil is still critical to our economy for the time being.  Paraphrasing Bill Clinton here, the problem is one of arithmetic.

2011 Domestic Oil Production

Total Crude Oil Extracted:  Over 2 billion barrels (2,065,172,000)
Note: equivalent to 660 million barrels refined petroleum.
Petroleum Product Exports: Half of Total (1,067,260,000 barrels)

2011 Sources of Domestic Oil

Federal Lands (mostly offshore):  One-third of Total  (626,000,000 barrels)

Daily Oil Exports

And why are we exporting half of our oil?  Petroleum is now America's number one export.  The oil industry complains that demand in the US is DOWN and therefore they must export to keep their refineries operating and to make a profit.  

It's an interesting position that they're not being allowed to drill enough and they need to export because Americans don't consume enough.  Let's stop allowing export of native fuels, leave them in the ground and keep our reserves to meet future needs.

I don't expect long-term thinking from the Koch-funded Romney.  But Mr. President, why aren't you telling the whole truth?