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How we will end up paying $6 a gallon for gas

April 16, 2011

Note: this opinion editorial was originally published by the Washington Examiner yesterday.

Someday, you will be pumping gas, staring at the digital numbers racing by, and you’ll wonder: “How could I possibly be paying $6 a gallon for gasoline?”

You also will be wondering why so many of your friends and relatives are still looking for work. Or why America is more dependent on foreign oil than ever before.

If you look back to today, you’ll remember why: President Obama’s de facto moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

You’ll recall how Gulf workers had begged the White House to approve new permits for oil exploration. They were losing their jobs and gas prices were soaring. It made sense to get everyone back to work exploring for oil in the Gulf.

Obama responded from the Bizarro World. He said he wanted to cut America’s dependence on foreign oil. Then his administration effectively blocked U.S. offshore exploration, refusing to approve but a handful of deepwater permits in the Gulf. He said he wanted incentives for domestic drilling, then sought new limits on drilling leases.

Oh, yes, Obama did call for more drilling in 2011… in Brazil. He traveled there to tell Brazil’s leaders that he was looking forward to importing more of their oil. “We want to help with technology and support to develop these oil reserves safely, and when you’re ready to start selling, we want to be one of your best customers,” Obama said.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, meanwhile, told Congress that he was in favor of a “robust” oil and gas industry in this country – but then made it almost impossible to get a new drilling permit.

He told Congress that drilling rigs were not leaving the Gulf of Mexico – but rigs were leaving and drilling companies were going bankrupt. He said oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico was at an all-time high in March 2011 – but, in reality, production had fallen by over 30,000 barrels per day.

Not surprisingly, gas prices skyrocketing, hitting $4 a gallon in the spring of 2011 and then $5 a gallon in the summer. With transportation costs soaring, prices for everything from food at the grocery store to shirts at department store also increased.

Obama repeatedly told Americans that he was doing something about rising gas prices, and that he had lifted the offshore drilling moratorium in the Gulf. But, in fact, his administration’s de facto moratorium was alive and well and working just as activists hoped — pushing American gas prices to European levels.

And here you are now, pumping $6-a-gallon gasoline and worrying about your unemployed friends and relatives. America is now more dependent than ever on foreign oil – and one of Brazil’s “best customers.”

If someone had just done something back in the spring of 2011, you wouldn’t be in this mess now. If you only knew then …

Jim Adams

Jim Adams
President and CEO, Offshore Marine Service Association

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