Running On Empty

Fox News interviewed the former president of Shell Oil, John Hofmeister, earlier this week.  Based on Hofmeister’s comments, we’ll soon be happy to pay five dollars a gallon for gasoline, when we’re lucky enough to find a pump that isn’t dry.

You might have noticed prices ticking up at the pump, although the media considers it impolite to draw attention to such things when a Democrat sits in the White House.  (Remember the obsessive coverage of gas prices when former oilman George W. Bush had the job?)  Analysts say oil is on its way to $120 per barrel by 2012, which would be a 33% price increase.  Hofmeister thinks it’s going to be even worse than that, with 1970s-style gas shortages only seven or eight years away.

The problem is obvious enough: we’re not drilling for oil.  Domestic oil production is barely half what it was in the 1980s.  The Obama Administration simply panicked after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf, and annihilated offshore drilling through executive fiat.  The Interior Department renewed this decision last month, leaving the Republican governors of Virginia and Florida disappointed and incandescently angry, respectively.  Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said he “respected” the President’s decision, while incoming Florida governor Rick Scott said, “I oppose what they did.  We want to become independent in this country, and part of that is looking to see if we can do offshore drilling safely.”

Instead of addressing the offshore drilling issue in a calm and logical manner, the Administration has plowed billions into “alternative energy” boondoggles.  It also thinks it can cope with fuel shortages by mandating higher miles-per-gallon ratings on future automobiles, mandating a new fuel economy standard of over 35 MPG by 2016.  This will add over six thousand dollars to the price of each new car, forcing Americans with modest incomes to remain trapped in their old gas guzzlers.  Only Obama Democrats would think they could solve a fuel shortage by mandating the production of cars no one wants to pay for.

Hofmeister now runs an outfit called Citizens For Affordable Energy, which advocates the careful development of our abundant domestic energy sources, while simultaneously developing workable alternative technologies on a realistic timeline.  They’re not big fans of the internal combustion engine, but they appreciate the need to keep them running until we develop something better.

This is the only approach that makes sense.  We’ve allowed environmentalist ideology to make us dependent on foreign oil, while simultaneously hollowing out our infrastructure to the point where a gas crunch could bring chaos far beyond anything we’ve experienced thus far.  Barack Obama’s complete transformation into Jimmy Carter will do more than bring back expensive gas you have to wait in line to buy, on alternate days, based on whether you’ve got an even- or odd-numbered license plate.  Nearly everything depends on energy prices, from the cost of food to running our battalions of computer devices.  The “green” future is a dark one of rolling blackouts, and cars you either can’t afford to buy, or can’t afford to fuel up.  Prosperity depends upon freedom, including the freedom of movement.  Your freedom of movement is not simply eroding naturally.  Barack Obama is taking it away, very deliberately.