Friday, May 18, 2007

George Will On Pelosi-Petrol-Promises

May 18, 2007 -- "DEMOCRATS, seething at the injustice of gasoline prices, have sprung to the aid of motorists. So resolute are Democrats about defending the downtrodden, they are undeterred by the fact that motorists, not acting like people trodden upon, are driving more than ever. Gasoline consumption has increased 2.14 percent during the last year.

That probably is explained by the inconvenient (to the Democrats' narrative) truth that Speaker Nancy Pelosi was characteristically overwrought when she said that Democrats intend to do this and that because the price of gasoline recently "set a record" at $3.07 a gallon. In real (inflation-adjusted) rather than nominal dollars, $3.07 is less than gasoline cost in 1981.

Pelosi vowed, as politicians have been doing since President Nixon, to achieve "energy independence." Such vows are irrational reflexes that no serious person takes seriously. Pelosi baldly asserts that "energy independence is essential to reducing the price at the pump," but does not say how.

As The American Enterprise Institute's Steven Hayward notes, there is no yearning for national self-sufficiency in other essential goods, such as food, automobiles or medicines. Are Democrats worried about security of oil supplies? In some ways, Hayward says, America's energy supply is more secure than it was in the '70s, partly because "since 1975, energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product has fallen 48 percent."

Furthermore, "oil represents a shrinking share of total U.S. energy consumption - from 44 percent in 1970 to 40 percent in 2005." The oil America consumes - only one-eighth of which comes from the Middle East - is used almost entirely in transportation, and accounts for about 40 percent of energy uses. Half of America's electricity is generated by coal, of which America has a huge abundance.

America has about 22 billion barrels of "proven" oil reserves, defined as "reasonably certain to be recoverable in future years under existing economic and operating conditions." Another estimated 112 billion barrels could be recovered with existing drilling and production technology.."

Yes, we are so tired of the high cost of gasoline that we buy more and more and more of it each and every day. That'll show 'em. And listen, all the energy department need do is post a pic of Nance on or about every 10th gas pump and people would shy away in droves. Trust me.

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