The current debate about whether or not to allow offshore drilling misses some crucial facts.
We have no guarantee they’re going to drill at all. It’s in the best interests of the oil companies to keep demand high and supply low in order to maximize their (record) profits. The oil companies are sitting on millions of acres of land already that they have leases to but refuse to drill. It’s in their best interest to keep that oil in the ground for as long as possible.
American oil companies have nearly doubled their exports in the last year. So even if ExxonMobil gets to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, that doesn’t mean increased supply (and thus lower prices) for American consumers. ExxonMobil can and probably will sell that oil to China or India.
Even if they drill, and even if they sell it to us, we won’t see it for at least seven years. This information comes straight from Bush’s own energy policy experts. It takes a long time to set up the infrastructure necessary for industrial oil extraction, transportation and processing. So even if everything goes our (the American consumers) way, we still won’t see a drop of this until 2015.
Basically, offshore drilling is a distraction. It has nothing to do with our current energy crisis, won’t help American consumers in any meaningful way and essentially amounts to little more than a land grab by the oil companies. It’s a handy stick the Republicans think they can use to beat up democrats with an underinformed American populace.
Whether it works or not is up to you.