Domestic Drilling Challenge

Two numbers have been seared into the minds of millions of Americans: $4/per gallon of gas and $145/per barrel of crude oil. Explanations abound for how we arrived at this seemingly inconceivable position. Increased demand from China and India, as well as price speculation appear to be the front-runners.

However, what is less clear is how we as a country begin to find solutions to skyrocketing costs. One idea that appears to be gaining favor among the general public is to step up exploration for domestic sources of oil.

But, will increasing supply through domestic exploration really help the average consumer?

I posed this question in a previous post, offering contradictory evidence to the claim that more drilling will solve our problem of run away pump prices. The basic message from the NPR story linked in the post was that even if we open up all available areas of ANWAR and the outer continental shelf, the possibility of increasing supply would not come about for at least ten years. Furthermore, the market for ANWAR and outer continental shelf oil would not be restricted to the United States. No, folks, it would be for sale to the highest bidder on the planet (think of those pesky Chinese and Indians).

In the intervening weeks, I have yet to see a credible study, a credible report, or a credible economic forecast regarding the utility (for today’s consumer of fossil fuel) of increased drilling. I did find plenty of evidence regarding the daunting scientific challenges of global climate change, which is irrefutably linked to increased fossil fuel use. But, I’ve yet to uncover anything compelling on the broad economic advantages of ANWAR/outer continental shelf drilling.

So, I turn to you, reader of the Clearly New Mexico blog. Do you have credible evidence of how the American public stands to gain from more domestic exploration? If so, please post something in the comments section. Or, email me at

Really, I am interested in knowing if the evidence exists.


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