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August 05, 2008

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It's a curious strategy for someone who claims to put country first, and to care about honor.

But an entirely predictable strategy for someone employing a bunch of Karl Rove clones to run his campaign.

It isn't even a question of barrels per day. Properly inflated tires and tuned engines are a renewable resource; we can save *even more* oil than we can drill offshore if we just keep inflating and tuning.

But what's up with Republicans mocking suggestions for individual action in the face of huge collective problems? Does this mean they'll stop ranking on Al Gore for flying in airplanes, since his giving that up would be a trivial contribution to reducing greenhouse gases? I'm guessing not.

McCain doesn't care about "honor", or his previous claims, or the state of discourse. he cares about winning. and he knows that every little attack, even the spurious ones, takes a little bit of the shine off your opponent.

he's a disgrace to his own myth.

"When politicians lie about what their opponents say, they degrade our democracy and disrespect voters."

Heck, this is all McCain has done for the past 2-3 weeks.

Yet during that time, McCain has closed the gap between he and Obama to a virtual tie in the polls.

I someitmes wonder if voters -- in this case, the ones open to voting for Sen. McCain -- know when they are being disrespected.

After all, most of these same voters pulled the lever for a second Bush term.

Meanwhile, the idea of checking your tires -- we have a 15,000-mile checkup scheduled for my wife's 2006 Hyundai Azera on Wednesday -- seems so basic that for a presidential candidate to suggest it, well, you just knew McCain would take a shot at that.

Gas prices -- tied so closely to the economy -- have taken such a painful toll on the American consumer so quickly in the span of a few months, really, that I don't think either McCain nor Obama was ready for the impact it would play on the election.

And they didn't take long to supplant the Surge in Iraq -- or even the need for more troops in Afghanistan -- to get back to being Issue No. 1 on the campaign trail.

I think the math is there for anyone to manipulate. Various blogs have analyzed the numbers but all seem to leave something out. The guys at Powerline seem to have most of the numbers there but make the analysis using only tire pressure and throw in shale oil (a mere 1 trillion barrel reserve). Obama appeared to say only tire pressure, then after a big pause added "and tuneups." While tuneups are nowhere near as important in today's computer controlled combustion environment, no doubt a rough running car will suck gas. Hard, however, to quantify that number. Powerline pins the savings from tire pressure at 200k/day.

Obama did say "drill" so perhaps the shale oil shouldn't be thrown in. That obviously pushes up the barrels per day for "drilling" quite high.

On the other hand, ANWR alone will produce between 500-700k barrels per day at peak production. Offshore around Prudhoe Bay another 200k plus. This doesn't count other offshore drilling sites. So I, as an admittedly not really well-informed reader on oil production but former Alaskan, am having a hard time understanding your 200k/day number.

As I see it, the numbers could be stated as 700k/day from ANWR/Alaska offshore alone (plus whatever other offshore produces) plus shale if you want to count that vs. 200k/day for tires plus a very-hard-to-determine number for tuneups if we count tuneups.

Seems to me the best rendition of his statement was tires v. drilling (minus shale) which is hugely contrary to Obama's statement. I think. But prove me wrong. I feel the numbers starting to shift . . . .

Everyone is picking what numbers they want to use on this. The context is broad enough that I can see why. “all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling” is missing the word “new”. His statement is also not limiting it to offshore drilling. That’s your assumption and I’m sure that’s what he meant, but he didn’t say it.

In any case, in terms of voters and market psychology, McCain has the right of it IMO. Most voters don’t care as much about reducing our dependency on foreign oil or what happens a decade from now as they do what they are paying at the pump right now. They know that a lot of people simply don’t bother with the maintenance. But lifting the ban now will drive the price down now. Just talking about lifting the ban has done that.

BTW - Welcome home Hilzoy.

So he chose to lie.

No surprise here. He's done it multiple times over the course of his campaign, both against Obama and Romney. His lies are just becoming more frequent and more outrageous.


It's a curious strategy for someone who claims to put country first, and to care about honor.

For John McCain, honor is a vestment of convenience. When it suits his purpose, he yammers on about honor but likewise, when it suits his purpose, he will kick honor and honesty to the curb without thinking twice. Just compare his veterans rhetoric to his voting record. He's long on praise and taking of credit, short on actual help.

McCain is the worst type of hypocrite. He's like the secretly homosexual anti-gay activist who bashes other gays. The prostitute visiting politician who screams about family values. The bishop who protects pedophiles. The cigarette company executive who lies about the fact that their product kills people.

Though lately, I am starting to wonder a bit about cleek's point above. Is it possible that the man is so delusional that he actually buys his own myth? The thought of that kind of mind as President is even more frightening than blatant hypocrisy.

Is John McCain in favor of driving on flat tires?

I ask merely because, using his own methods of interpreting other people's words, that's what I understand him to be advocating.

-- TP

I should add that the Obama's comment struck me as funny and naive in the sense that if today's oil prices aren't sufficient to motivate us to already inflate our tires and tune up our vehicles, then what will? Tire police? And this is an energy policy? Seems so utopian.

I already do both and have for years and figure that there are those that will not short of government coercion. Drilling for oil is a lot easier due to the profit motive than changing human behavior or we wouldn't have traffic problems. It's like saying we could solve L.A.'s gridlock if everyone would cut their driving in half. (I lived in L.A. for two years and had sooo much fun being stuck in traffic).

And I wonder how many here would be blasting McCain for his stupidity had he said those comments instead of the One. :) (o.k., none since his stupidity is so much GREENER).

OCSteve:But lifting the ban now will drive the price down now. Just talking about lifting the ban has done that.

No. Crude price started going down the day I started to part my hair on the other side.

Seriously, OCSteve, can you back up your claimed causation any better than I can back up mine?

-- TP

Tire police?

is John McCain going to appoint a Dermatology Czar, or was he just giving simple, good advice ?

i assume wingnuts will now drive on soft tires, in mockery of Obama's advice - the same way i'm going to spend a few hours at a tanning bed tonight after work, in mockery of McCain's dermatologist plea.

I already do both

then you clearly hate America. because real Americans don't care about tire pressure and would drive their 87 Camaros on the rims - except that would make it hard for them to hear the Zeppelin Blocks on Cock Rock 101.5.

And this is an energy policy?

No, this is an energy policy. There's lots of other useful information on that website. Useful if you're actually interested in what Obama is proposing, that is.

But lifting the ban now will drive the price down now. Just talking about lifting the ban has done that.

Is there any particular reason to think that's true? Any reason to think that talk about offshore drilling has had a bigger effect on prices than, say, the fact that we're using less oil?

But BC and OCSteve you're largely dodging the point:

McCain isn't arguing that Obama was wrong to say that tuneups and tire pressure could effectively offset price reductions from drilling.

McCain argued that Obama's plan consists entirely of tire pressure adjustments, and that Obama thinks that tire pressure adjustments will be enough to end our need to import oil.

That is a lie. Any way you cut it, and whether or not we turn to the Powerline calculator.

it should be noted that Obama was responding to a question ("so, what can i do?") from an audience member. it wasn't even unsolicited advice.

his response is great:

    Now two points, one, they know they're lying about what my energy plan is, but the other thing is they're making fun of a step that every expert says would absolutely reduce our oil consumption by 3 to 4 percent. It’s like these guys take pride in being ignorant.

damn right they do.

he will kick honor and honesty to the curb without thinking twice.

Yes, but will he throw them under the bus?

ocsteve said... Just talking about lifting the ban has done that.

This truly is a crock. Read this post for a bit of background on changes in demand. Be sure to look closely at the demand graph.

Once you're done, feel free to defend your position that Bush's empty rhetoric and useless action (facts known by people who actually trade in oil futures) was the reason that prices dropped, and that it had nothing to do with the fact that Fourth of July gas consumption dropped 3.3%, or that gasoline use is trending downward for the first time in years (decades?).

Once again, conservation today trumps possible production tomorrow.

Jeff asked... Yes, but will he throw them under the bus?

You mean like Phil "Phil Gramm Doesn't Speak For Me" Gramm?

bc: if I'm right in assuming that he was talking about offshore, then of course ANWR figures would not be relevant. Ditto shale.

And: what Eric said.

Maybe somebody who believes that opening up leases for new coastal drilling sites will do anything can explain something to me. First, some facts:

- Offshore areas currently exist that can be drilled, but are not being exploited.

- Those existing unexploited offshore areas hold an estimated 34 billion barrels of oil.

- Excluding California (who will fight tooth and nail against drilling), the expectation is that there is another 8 billion barrels that the new areas would make available.

So, since the oil companies aren't drilling what is accessible, how would increasing the availability of unexploited fields do anything to increase production? Would the oil companies suddenly find the manpower and equipment to exploit THIS oil while not touching over 4 times that amount currently available?

bc,

You are comparing what ANWR and offshore drilling can produce, expensively, at peak production, many years from now, with what can be saved immediately and cheaply and annually.

John McCain said today that his solution to the energy crisis is for everyone to fnck puppies and eat the entrails of recently aborted fetuses.

I heard the same thing Ugh.

I'll be passing out puppy stuffed animals at Obama functions henceforth...

You are comparing what ANWR and offshore drilling can produce, expensively, at peak production, many years from now, with what can be saved immediately and cheaply and annually.

I have a question on ANWR and other North Slope / northern offshore oil sources. Can anybody tell me who pays for the installation of the pipeline that will be required (assuming we open it up)? I understand it would be tapped into the existing pipeline to get it south, but it's still an enormous piece of infrastructure that somebody has to pay for to get there.

So is it all cost to the driller, or is it part taxpayer / part driller, or is it all taxpayer? If taxpayer money goes into it, do funds come from state taxes or federal taxes ... or both?

As someone who will vote for Obama, I think bc is right: McCain would have been taking pot shots if there were some video clip somewhere of him talking about the virtues of proper tire pressure.

It's just the way this first YouTube presidential campaign has become: Let's see which candidate looks the dumbest today.

FWIW, dating back to Friday midthread on "The One," OCSteve seems to be taking his share of heat for advocating offshore drilling.

Yet Obama himself -- after no doubt looking at polling -- seems more open to offshore drilling than he did just a few days ago.

Let's not pretend otherwise, folks, whether it's Obama or McCain, both are pandering to us on what is becoming the hot potato of 2008: gas prices.

Ugh said John McCain said today that his solution to the energy crisis is for everyone to fnck puppies and eat the entrails of recently aborted fetuses.

Sweet. 25 comments into this thread and it already is the gutter. Anyways, I think America could get off foreign oil if Al Gore would just scrap his monstrous houseboat.

LT Nixon, adults often use profanity. Have you ever used profanity? Have the people that you've worked with ever used profanity? What exactly is the big deal here?

Also, I'm afraid I don't understand how one person getting rid of a boat will save millions of barrels of oil per day. Maybe you could explain the math to me.

Oh wait! Al Gore is fat! I guess you don't have to explain anything now.

"is John McCain going to appoint a Dermatology Czar . . ."

Granted, this may have been a tongue-in-cleek comment but I was wondering . . .

Did anybody see McCain's face on the news today?

Looked really, really bad.

Given that he is a cancer survivor -- and almost 72 -- if I were a Republican, I would be holding my breath as to who he picks as his VP.

"Anyways, I think America could get off foreign oil if Al Gore would just scrap his monstrous houseboat."

That site merely links to another site, which is a lunatic site. Do you have a link to a credible source about Mr. Gore's alleged boat? Or do you expect us to find this a credible source of information, and if so, why? Are you equally alarmed about all this?:

[...] There is no longer any doubt that the Barack Obama birth certificate claimed as "real" is a forgery. None whatsoever. So what is he really hiding????? CLICK HERE. Here are more details about what is a massive coverup of a fraud that the media has ignored about a man who may not be eligible to become President of the United States! CLICK HERE.

It also appears that he was born in two different hospitals! CLICK HERE. This whole deal just gets more strange with each passing day.

Now there are some claims that he may have been born in Canada! CLICK HERE.

Etc. I'm also interested to know that "BUSH SERVICE IN THE GUARD WAS MORE DANGEROUS THAN VIETNAM!"

Did I say pandering?

Just read this: US News Reports

Omitted the title of that U.S. News and World Report article: The Obama/McCain Energy Charade

LT, the houseboat called Bio-Solar One?

The solar panels for Al Gore's new boat (Bio-Solar One) will be installed at Hurricane Marina tomorrow.

One minute of Googling "Al Gore Houseboat". That's how hard it was.

Instead, you just went to the latest "Al Gore is a hypocrite. Why? Because we hates him." web-site. Not worthy of you.

TP: you back up your claimed causation any better than I can back up mine

LFC: This truly is a crock. Read this post for a bit of background on changes in demand. Be sure to look closely at the demand graph.

I know – always an alternative explanation that is the “real” reason. Look – I’m not a commodities broker. But I clearly remember the financial markets the day after Bush gave that presser. Oil futures began dropping immediately. Pure coincidence, I know.

I’m not discounting reduced demand. Of course that’s part of it. But saying the calls to lift the ban have absolutely nothing to do with it is, well, a crock (to use your term).

We’ve known about reduced demand for a while. It’s not news. It was not news on July 10 (date of your linked article).

Let’s take it from June 2 (Contract 1): $127.76

Minor fluctuations, but we’re up to $140.00 by 6/30.

7/14: $140.00 – Bush gives the presser lifting the executive ban and asking Congress to lift their ban.

On 7/15 we start down the other side, closing at $119.17 today. Graph here.

Pure coincidence?


Eric: you're largely dodging the point

That McCain lied? He’s a politician and I assume his mouth was moving when the quote was captured. I take that as a given. My point was just that the context was vague enough to let anyone checking the math pick and choose the assumptions that they like. Hilzoy proved Obama was correct. I’ve read a half dozen others proving he was way way wrong.

Anyways, I think America could get off foreign oil if Al Gore would just scrap his monstrous houseboat.

Did I call it, or did I call it?

OCSteve,

I cannot disprove your causal claim, any more than I can disprove all sorts of other propositions.

But let's be clear what your proposition is: the prices of oil futures began to fall the day Dubya did his 'presser'. Have I got that right?

Assuming I do, what do you understand to be the relationships between futures prices, spot prices, and prices at the pump?

Krugman, in this post, argues that futures prices have NOT been driving spot prices. What do youthink?

-- TP

OCSteve: He’s [John McCain] and I assume his mouth was moving when the quote was captured. I take that as a given.

Fixed that for you.

The cynic's comment that all politicians lie all the time doesn't really work when discussing the situation of one politician saying the honest truth - good tires cut gas usage - and the other politician lying that "good tires cut gas" is the sum total of the first politician's energy plan.

It does work as a loyal Republican trying to sound like a cynic - brushing off their candidate's lies as "oh all politicians do that" in much the same way as Republicans routinely defended Bush back when there was some point to it.

I nearly "fixed it" to [Republican] and then decided (a) too Epimenides-paradoxical and (b) unfair to other Republicans who aren't trying this kind of lazy argument in defense of McCain by asserting that he's no worse than the other guy.

Sweet. 25 comments into this thread and it already is the gutter.

Are you saying bestiality and cannibalism won't solve our energy crisis? My friends, my opponent would rather send cash directly to terrorists than eat your baby. Is that change you can believe in?

But lifting the ban now will drive the price down now. Just talking about lifting the ban has done that.

Almost nothing is going to increase the amount of oil coming on the market in the next month - nobody has spare capacity and if they did, it takes longer than that to bring it online. Yet futures prices for even September delivery fell. The prices for September delivery aren't driven by long term policy. People that trade that way go bankrupt.

We do know that US demand for gasoline has been falling. We also know that the economy in the US is weakening quickly. We also know falling demand in the US, rare as it is, has always been followed by declining oil prices. That is what is driving the prices for delivery a month or two out.

The only speech Bush could give that would affect September oil futures is an Iran speech, and that wouldn't move prices the way most people want them to go.

bc,
Obama appeared to say only tire pressure, then after a big pause added "and tuneups."

I have no idea what could make you think that this matters in trying understand what he meant. Of course, this conveniently allows you to ignore the other savings of keeping a car well-maintained (follow the link to the Tapper article, where an expert comes up with an estimate of 10%, well-above Powerline's aw-shucks 1.5%). Powerline does better than you, they just don't mention this part. Much more effective than using a pause as an excuse to drop an inconvenient part of a quote.

Your entire analysis is based on a gigantic flaw- Obama did not compare proper maintenance to the entire oil reserves of the United States. He did not compare it (as Jake Tapped erroneously did) to the entire offshore oil reserve of the US. Nor to the entirety of oil currently off limits to drilling.
He compared it to the oil that could be drilled under McCain's (still somewhat nebulous) plan to allow states to authorize drilling on state land.
It does not include existing operations or unworked leases. I don't think it would include ANWAR, since that's federal & not a state decision (which doesn't mean that McCain & Obama don't differ on ANWAR, jsut that that's not part of the McCain's recent proposal).
It *certainly* doesn't include land-based oil resources that are currently available for exploitation but havent been because of market forces (ie oil shale). Powerline is idiotic, as usual. Heck, I dont know why they didnt include the entire oil reserves of the planet, since a sufficiently short and out-of-context use of "all the oil that they're talking about getting off drilling" doesn't rule that out.

I think the math is there for anyone to manipulate.

I think you've demonstrated that now, thanks.

OC,
His statement is also not limiting it to offshore drilling. That’s your assumption and I’m sure that’s what he meant, but he didn’t say it.

I believe that you're taking an out of context quote, and then complaining that it does not have context. The guy is talking extemporaneously, he's not going to fill all context in every paragraph, and it's fairly ridiculous to ask that he do so. You even seem to agree with this, saying that you're sure this is what he meant...
If you're sure that's what he meant, then why even consider tendentious alternative readings? He made his meaning clear.

In the context- Obama objecting to McCain's proposal to allow states choice in whether the drill offshore- Obama's meaning is perfectly clear. He is not talking about all of the oil on the planet. He is talking about the oil that would be recovered with McCain's suggested policy. Which he doesn't agree with.

Why would he talk about anything else? Why would he be comparing this to (as bc suggested above) oil shale reserves that are currently legal to access?

I mean, I could pretend that he was talking about my niece's tricycle (it has tires, and he didn't explicitly specify which tires), and then ridicule him because the trike doesn't use *any* gas. And Id be making about as much sense as Powerline...

Ugh,

Are you saying bestiality and cannibalism won't solve our energy crisis? My friends, my opponent would rather send cash directly to terrorists than eat your baby. Is that change you can believe in?

I probably agree. I've been advocating for a zombie apocalypse ever since this book came out.

I know – always an alternative explanation that is the “real” reason. Look – I’m not a commodities broker. But I clearly remember the financial markets the day after Bush gave that presser. Oil futures began dropping immediately. Pure coincidence, I know.

Yes, it was a coincidence. The proximate cause wasn't Bush; it was Ben Bernanke testifying to Congress that growth rates were going to be lower than predicted. That happened the same day. Less growth means less oil consumed than predicted, which leads to lower prices.

On the other hand, ANWR alone will produce between 500-700k barrels per day at peak production. Offshore around Prudhoe Bay another 200k plus. This doesn't count other offshore drilling sites.

The CIA says we use not quite 21 million barrels of oil a day. All of the resources you mention here are something like 5% of that.

If the offshore and Arctic fields yield everything we think they might yield, and whatever they provide isn't soaked up by the increasing demand from China and India, and we can actually bring all of that oil to market at a price that we can afford, their total output relative to our rate of consumption will be, more or less, noise.

At best. When they are actually available to the market. Years from now.

This is not a matter of partisan politics, or a matter of opinion. It's simple mathematics.

It's stupid. There is no future in it. We can horse around all we want but there is no future in it, whatsoever.

If we want to commit ourselves even more deeply to an economic dead-end, by all means, let's drill away.

In 20 years we'll be an economic backwater.

So, by all means, let's bring the Congress back into session, so McCain and all of his conservative buddies can strut around and declaim about how they're all about helping the average American with their gas and heating bills.

Dingbat kabuki captures it perfectly.

And you know, not for nothing, but inflating your tires is kind of nerdy idea, but it costs virtually nothing. Not a dime.

200K barrels of oil a day, for free.

Thanks -

At best. When they are actually available to the market. Years from now.

I paradoxically both get and don't get this "years from now" argument. Everything new in the energy industry happens in the years from now timeframe. You don't get anything right now. Want to increase solar panel augmentation to the power grid? That'll happen years from now. Wind power? Years. More nuclear plants? Years. Is that ever a reason not to start doing something?

Really, this deserves a better counterargument. I say that with all respect and friendship, russell.

"Really, this deserves a better counterargument."

Years from now there will be a lot less oil.

Years from now, there will not be a lot less wind and sun and tides and, uh, hot geos.

Years from now, we'll all be dead.

Years from now, we'll all be dead.

That's a pretty poor argument in and of itself.

Exactly.

Feh. YOU can do better than that.

Don't ignore Gary's point, which is NOT a poor argument. Oil supply is inherently restricted, by orders of magnitude compared to wind, tide and solar.

Oh, sure, everything is restricted compared to solar. But only if you consider building a wall around the Sun.

Which, naturally, would take years and years to do, so we can't even contemplate it.

See, I think my point and your point are about the same: the fact that it might take time to develop a tap into some source of energy isn't a reason, all by itself, for not doing it. If there are other reasons, let's argue those.

Everything new in the energy industry happens in the years from now timeframe.

True!

Also true: we cannot, in fact, 'do everything'. (Well, I suppose we can, if we chose to do everything half-assed.) So 'a reason not to start doing something' might be that doing something else will have a bigger pay-off.

For instance, leaving oil in the ground until 'years from now' can have a pretty high return all by itself.

-- TP

Also true: we cannot, in fact, 'do everything'.

We agree. Everything, literally, would leave nothing completed. It's probably best to stick with those things that have some decent likelihood of panning out.

All of which, with the possible exception of the tire-pressure thing, are likely to take some significant amount of time to get emplaced.

"When politicians lie about what their opponents say, they degrade our democracy and disrespect voters."

Unless the lie is "he wants to continue the war for 100 years", in which case it's just fine.

Slarti: Years from now, we'll all be dead.

“We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

So, what tire pressure has the straight talk express comapred to Big O's campaign vehicle? Does it matter to the person that is thrown under? Would not the assumed higher pressure in Big O's* be worse and less compassionate than the lower one in the Son of Cain's?
And is it not more important to put pressure on Iran than on some old tires. Why is Obama neglecting the really important stuff? Iran will provide all the gas to put the pressure on and the oil the US will gain, once the Islamofascists in Tehran are removed, will easily pay for the war and bring down the price at the pump to 19c per barrel. Btw, does Big O not know that inflation is the ultimate bad. We are by now tired to repeat that again and again.
In related news: In continuation of the homosexual agenda some tires were blown on our highways. Citizens blame Obama, since this was obviously the result of his naive and dangerous proposals.

*Should Obama's tire pressure on the other hand be actually lower then he is of course a hypocrite.

"Obama did not compare proper maintenance to the entire oil reserves of the United States. He did not compare it (as Jake Tapped erroneously did) to the entire offshore oil reserve of the US. Nor to the entirety of oil currently off limits to drilling.
He compared it to the oil that could be drilled under McCain's (still somewhat nebulous) plan to allow states to authorize drilling on state land."

Just to be persnickety: it is not completely clear what Obama is talking about from what he says. Powerline et al get a set of estimates based on their assumption that he was talking about all domestic drilling, period. This seems to me to be an odd reading of "the oil they're talking about getting from drilling" -- it leaves out the "they're talking about" part entirely.

I, obviously, assume something different: that he's talking about what McCain is talking about getting from his central proposal, to lift restrictions on offshore drilling. But this is an assumption, albeit one that makes the most sense to me. Powerline et al do not seem to recognize that they're making any assumption at all.

This is why I spent a while unsuccessfully looking for the context of what Obama said. That would clarify what he was talking about. If, as he said later, he was responding to a question about what individuals would do, that obviously puts criticism of him for talking about inflating tires and such in a new light. But context would also have clarified "they".

I mean, suppose that right before this, he had been talking about, oh, Bush trying to talk OPEC into producing as much oil as they possibly could. In that context, "the oil they're talking about getting off drilling" would mean "all the oil OPEC could possibly get through drilling", and the idea that we could match that by inflating tires and getting tuneups would be false.

Imagine, on the other hand, that he had just been talking about a proposal to drill in one particular 10 square foot area: then the claim that we could get more oil by inflating tires would certainly be true.

Neither of those suggestions is at all plausible. But we cannot actually exclude them without the transcript. Powerline et al are working with a different set of assumptions (and they are clearly assumptions -- if they just meant "through drilling", as though there were no "they're talking about", there would be no reason to limit it to domestic drilling, we could just introduce the Saudi and Iranian oil reserves into the picture, and voila!).

They just don't seem to recognize it.

I think that taking it to mean 'the oil John McCain is talking about getting through drilling in heretofore closed areas offshore' is by far the most likely scenario, but absent the transcript, we don't know.

It's probably best to stick with those things that have some decent likelihood of panning out.

So you agree that opening new fields is the worst way to spend our capitol, and that we should stick to things that DON'T involve fossil fuels?

I paradoxically both get and don't get this "years from now" argument.

Sorry, I will try to be clearer.

The oil available in the offshore and other reserves that are not yet available for drilling won't be available to the market for some years.

They are therefore not going to make a difference in oil prices in the short term.

I know everyone realizes this if they think about it, but the public discussion seems to be driven by gas station sticker shock as much as anything else. So it seems worthwhile pointing it out.

Also -- I appreciate the kind words. Please never hesitate to call bullcrap if you feel I'm talking out of my hat.

Thanks -

Speaking of alternate energy and offshore – I should give a shout out to my neighbors and my local government.

The first offshore wind farm on the east coast is going in 20 miles up the road off Rehoboth Beach.

The second is on track for my backyard. I’ve been to the city council meetings to support it.

I’ll purchase power from them the first day it is available. I’m not going to have any patience with the NIMBY folks in the future. Enough talk – everyone should walk the walk at this point.

OCSteve said...

7/14: $140.00 – Bush gives the presser lifting the executive ban and asking Congress to lift their ban.

On 7/15 we start down the other side, closing at $119.17 today. Graph here.

Pure coincidence?

Yes. Absolutely yes. Again, Bush's words meant nothing without Congressional backing, and everybody knows it.

As pointed out above, Ben Bernanke had something to say the very same day:

"The economy continues to face numerous difficulties, including ongoing strains in financial markets, declining house prices, a softening labor market, and rising prices of oil, food, and some other commodities."

Now looking at these two, plus the announcement of the large drop in fuel usage on the Fourth of July weekend (obviously NOT known for a long time since it had only completed a week before), which do you think was the cause? A meaningless announcement by a lame duck President, or the Fed chair and one of the busiest vacation weekends in the U.S. both saying the same thing; that the economy is doing poorly.


And I'm still waiting for somebody to explain to me how opening up new leases for an estimated 8 billion barrels of offshore oil will do anything in the next 30 years to increase production when there exists an estimated 34 billion barrels of oil already available that are not being drilled for today. Unless I'm mistaken, oil doesn't flow from the ground by fiat. Somebody actually has to drill for it. Any takers on this explanation?

I was following some links and I appear to have a figure wrong. There is currently an estimated 40.92 billion barrels available for leasing and development per the DOE, not 34 billion.

But I still don't understand how adding another 8 billion barrels of unexploited oil to that total (or even 18 billion if you force California to open up) is going to do anything to increase production. It seems to me that John McCain's great idea would literally have zero impact on domestic oil production for decades.

Slarti,
I paradoxically both get and don't get this "years from now" argument.

Im not going to try to back this up with cites (too lazy), but my impression is that McCain's campaign is talking about how Americans need help at the pump *now*. That alternative energy is all well and good, but people are suffering etc.
If we accept this as part of their argument (certainly, Joe Lieberman made this argument on Meet the Press the other day), then the fact that these two things take similar amounts of time wrecks part of the McCain argument for drilling.

Now, that might be the 'for public consumption' side, with a more sophisticated side arguing for improvements across the board rather than a move away from oil. But McCain has said that he switched positions on offshore drilling bc of the current high gas prices, and those don't seem to be overwhelmingly relevant to gas prices 7 years from now.
Unless it's taught him that our dependency on foreign oil is dangerous to us, but you'd think that lesson was available from either common sense or our recent history.

I think that ties in with russell's point as well- if people understood that drilling wasn't going to solve our problems any faster than intensive investment in wind and solar, it'd be a different ball game. Thus, the McCain emphasis on the *now* aspect of the drilling.

"the public discussion seems to be driven by gas station sticker shock"

Exactly.

It's called pandering.

Why else would Obama suddenly be open to the idea of offshore drilling?

For the same reason, no doubt, that McCain reversed his original stance -- he saw political points to be scored.

While we're at it, why don't we get a gas-tax holiday AND tap the Strategic Oil Reserves.

It's funny how a pocketbook issue can bring out old-school politics even in a New Age pol like Sen. Obama.

That is a lie.

that is campaigning. The quotes I read didn't say that was Obama's entire policy although they suggested it in a very garden-variety campaigning sort of way.

bc: if I'm right in assuming that he was talking about offshore ,

Like Hilzoy, I can't tell what he was talking about and I was very explicit in my assumptions.

Carleton: Of course, this conveniently allows you to ignore the other savings of keeping a car well-maintained (follow the link to the Tapper article, where an expert comes up with an estimate of 10%, well-above Powerline's aw-shucks 1.5%). Powerline does better than you, they just don't mention this part.

Not sure how Powerline does better than me when I pointed out their unstated assumptions (as Hilzoy notes).

I'm not clear on the qualifications of the "expert" in the Tapper article. Like I said above, I think human behavior is a huge obstacle to getting people to put air in their tires and keep their cars in tune. And the data appears to be individual (i.e. 4% on the average for cars that are out of tune, but doesn't say how many cars are typically out of tune, which I think-with absolutely no evidence-is not all that great given today's computer controlled combustion), but this "expert" goes on to use the maximum savings an individual could expect with low tires, dirty filters, out of tune engine, etc. and extrapolates it to the population at large. Not very "expert like" to me.

I don't think it would include ANWAR, since that's federal & not a state decision (which doesn't mean that McCain & Obama don't differ on ANWAR, jsut that that's not part of the McCain's recent proposal).

It may or may not be part of McCain's proposal. But there is a huge debate on whether ANWR is a federal decision because Alaska's statehood compact includes 90% royalties off of federal land. Kind of a huge breach of contract to now say we will not allow drilling of any kind. Tony Knowles (former D governor) sued the feds but got chicken and didn't follow through. Still at issue, though, and Alaska could unilaterally get the right to drill IMHO if they took it all the way to SCOTUS.

That being said, even though the discussion is mainly about OCS drilling, ANWR has been and is in the debate as well. McCain is in favor of ANWR, so the logical conclusion would be that Obama was referring to both, but it is not (as Hilzoy points out very well) entirely clear.

My main point is that this is a campaign, folks, and each side is going to take things out of context and create sound bites. Obama would have done exactly the same thing in reverse and handed out tire gauges with "McCain Energy Plan" to reporters. However, McCain's sound bite, even if exaggerated, is not so exaggerated (and may not be at all) as to be worthy of much blow back. I am not, however, defending the math because of the huge amount of assumptions made on each side.

The quotes I read didn't say that was Obama's entire policy although they suggested it in a very garden-variety campaigning sort of way.

To say he's proposing it as a policy *at all* is a lie. It was suggestion (and a good one) about what individuals can do on their own to reduce their gas consumption, and he took the opportunity to put the new oil available under McCain's "drill here, drill now" policy (which is, in fact, a policy) in perspective. I'll pay McCain et al. the compliment of assuming that their misunderstanding of this point has been deliberate.

Like I said above, I think human behavior is a huge obstacle to getting people to put air in their tires and keep their cars in tune.

When I was a kid, it was completely normal to throw your trash in the street if you were driving or otherwise not at home. Everybody smoked, everywhere, and everyone had their funny stories about how drunk they were when they drove home. Nobody wore seat belts.

All of that changed, and it changed pretty quickly once we decided it needed to change.

Getting people to change their behavior at the level we're talking about -- check the air in your tires -- is actually pretty doable.

I'm not that invested in people checking the air in their tires, or not. It's small beer. I'm sure Obama realizes that as well, that was kind of the point of his using it as an example.

But the "people won't change their behavior" argument is, I think, not that credible. People change their behavior all the time.

Thanks -

IF WE GET THIS OFF SHORE DRILLING, WILL WE GET 100% OF IT. I HEAR THAT OUT OF ALASKA OILWE GET 20% , REST GOES TO JAPAN, BETTER PRICE. WHAT GOOD IS MORE OIL IF WE CAN'T REFINE IT, WE NEED MORE REFINERIES, AND BETTER CONSERING OF WHAT WE HAVE

Obama would have done exactly the same thing in reverse and handed out tire gauges with "McCain Energy Plan" to reporters.

I seriously doubt it. Whatever else one can say when trying to vector the "Both Sides Do It!" silliness, the Republicans seem prone to this kind of frippery whereas the Democrats do not. The Purple Heart band-aids at the 2004 RNC, the John Kerry flip-flop sandals, the purple-stained fingers, the tire gauges . . . the party favors are like a replacement for coherent argument.

McCain is in favor of ANWR

Strictly speaking, McCain is in favor of defacing ANWR.

BTW:

Last week in St. Louis, Obama told an audience that steps such as inflating tires to the correct levels could make a difference when it comes to conserving fuel.
Cue gleeful mockery from McCain. Obama was naive, inexperienced and not talking straight to the American people about energy, he said.

His campaign went further, distributing to reporters tire gauges engraved with the words “Obama’s energy plan.”

Predictably, Obama hit back calling McCain’s mockery “ignorant,” arguing his plans were being misrepresented and saying that experts backed his call over tire pressure. Equally predictably, McCain’s camp hit back.

The surprise came during a telephone town hall meeting McCain held on Tuesday with voters in Pennsylvania.

“Obama said a couple of days ago says we all should inflate our tires. I don’t disagree with that. The American Automobile Association strongly recommends it,” McCain said.

These people really are just a complete bunch of buffoons.

My main point is that this is a campaign, folks, and each side is going to take things out of context and create sound bites. Obama would have done exactly the same thing in reverse and handed out tire gauges with "McCain Energy Plan" to reporters.

Logical fallacy alert: If my grandma had balls, she'd be my grandpa.

This is an invalid argument. You cannot take the actions of one side, postulate a hypothetical reversing the terms and then blame both sides and call it even.

Well actually you can (and did), but don't expect me to take seriously an argument based on the hypothetical behavior of an Obama who you imagine would do something you don't approve of, something which has not in fact been done by the actual Obama here in the real world.

Because if we are going to have an imaginary candidate contest, I can imagine all sorts of horrible things for my imaginary McCain to say and do, which would just petrify you. Fortunately I keep my imaginary McCain locked up in a very secure undisclosed location so there is little or no danger of him escaping into the real world and wrecking havoc on all of us. If you could do the same with your imaginary (and dangerous) Obama, then we would all perhaps be a little bit safer.

Thanks!

Not sure how Powerline does better than me when I pointed out their unstated assumptions (as Hilzoy notes).

You are right- you are less biased than Powerline. But I wasn't complimenting your lack of bias, I was pointing out that not mentioning the tune-up factor is a better way to ignore it than to think it doesn't count because Obama paused in the middle of a sentence. The former leaves the audience in the dark completely. The latter just makes folks boggle.

I'm not clear on the qualifications of the "expert" in the Tapper article....Not very "expert like" to me.

I don't know the guy or his qualifications. But you were willing to offer your own opinions on the subject, and quote a couple of lawyers without wondering about their qualifications- why the sudden concern for advanced degrees?

That being said, even though the discussion is mainly about OCS drilling, ANWR has been and is in the debate as well. McCain is in favor of ANWR, so the logical conclusion would be that Obama was referring to both, but it is not (as Hilzoy points out very well) entirely clear.

If we have debate about OCS, ANWAR is *necsesarily* part of the equation when you need to it be? If McCain has an oil shale policy, is that also *necessarily* part of the equation when you want it to be?
McCain is in favor of drilling in ANWAR, so when Obama talks about a specific non-ANWAR proposal, it's *logical* that he's referring to both?

Obama would have done exactly the same thing in reverse and handed out tire gauges with "McCain Energy Plan" to reporters.

Yeah, the Obama campaign has been one long series of stunts so far.

Obama would have done exactly the same thing in reverse and handed out tire gauges with "McCain Energy Plan" to reporters.

Yeah, the Obama campaign has been one long series of stunts so far.

Hm. Shouldn't there an example from the campaign against Clinton, either way?

The only important numbers is what you could save personally. If you have an inefficient car, you will save more than someone with an efficient car.

The biggest bang for the buck is the air filter, which could get you up to 10% better mileage.

At that rate, a filter will pay for itself in a month or less.

Properly inflated tires also last longer and are safer for everyone.

These are personal savings. If enough of us follow these easy steps, oil consumption will go down, and maybe relieve supply problems. There is a big effect on price if demand could go down even a few percent.

why the sudden concern for advanced degrees?

Well, they might know how to spell ANWR. I feel that's one way of making the debate less confusing.

Oh, sure, everything is restricted compared to solar. But only if you consider building a wall around the Sun.

Slarti, what do you have against Freeman Dyson's energy policy?

Nothing. Just that there's a little matter of structural integrity, as well as a teensy issue with controls.

In other news...what? There are people who think that all you have to do is drill for oil, and you find it? Who are these people, and how can I tap into their retirement accounts?

Getting people to change their behavior at the level we're talking about -- check the air in your tires -- is actually pretty doable.

I don't know about you, russell, but I've known about the tire pressure effect on fuel economy since about 1984. Seriously, this is news to who, exactly?

And if we're so gung-ho on saving gas, why don't we handle the issue of rolling friction in general? It's fairly obvious that rolling friction is a function of tire contact patch on the ground, and the smaller you make that, the lower the friction.

So, 165/70 R13s for everyone!

Really, none of this is news. I direct that comment at both the Obama and McCain campaigns. Seriously, if either of you think that there's anything groundbreaking about tire pressure, you need to get our more.

NB: for those of you who may be frustrated at my lack of responsiveness of the last few days, and also for those of you who haven't noticed that anything at all has changed: I'm living in (various, due to factors beyond my control) hotels by night, these days, and cavorting around in helicopters by day.

Or, worse: not cavorting, but waiting for others to get their feces sufficiently grouped that cavorting again makes sense.

Hopefully, nothing will go wrong.

In a flight suit, no less.

No mission accomplished banner as yet, though.

"Slarti, what do you have against Freeman Dyson's energy policy?"

As a moderate, I support a Ringworld, instead.

If we're going to consider building a Dyson Sphere, I must:

a) Caution that it will take a few years.

b) Urge building, if we must go that route, a Matrioshka brain instead.

I don't know about you, russell, but I've known about the tire pressure effect on fuel economy since about 1984. Seriously, this is news to who, exactly?

I think the overall point here is not whether we inflate our tires, or not.

The context here is the question about whether it is wise, useful, or urgent to open offshore oil fields to drilling.

The price to consumers for gasoline and home heating oil has risen enough that folks are feeling the pinch, they are looking for relief, and opening offshore fields is being presented as a solution. Not just *a* solution, but *the* solution, and one we must begin to implement immediately. So immediately that Congress must return from their vacation right now so they can debate it and then, hopefully, immediately authorize it.

In that context, Obama argues that it's not really going to help all that much. He makes the statement that we could realize a savings in oil consumption that is equal to what we would get from offshore fields by simply inflating our tires and getting tune-ups.

I'm not sure if that claim is accurate or not. I suspect it is over-stated. But to your question, I don't think the point is that we should all immediately go out and inflate our tires and get tune-ups, preferably with some kind of government coercion to make sure we do so.

I think the point is that the offshore fields are small beer. They won't make that much difference to the daily lives of anyone.

Stay safe!

Thanks -

The context here is the question about whether it is wise, useful, or urgent to open offshore oil fields to drilling.

You never finish any races that you don't start. Even the 5k fun runs.

I'm not sure what the aversion to offshore drilling is. It's not exactly a new thing. I agree that it's not necessarily going to really fix anything, but I don't see that it ever was claimed to fix anything, except perhaps (wrongly, if so) recently. ANWR exploitation is also not going to fix anything all by itself.

And yes, some of this serves as a distraction from the direction the energy industrion needs to go in, but wind and solar aren't going to be sufficient in and of themselves. There isn't a magic bullet, and there (barring a huge technological breakthrough) won't be one anytime soon. So we have to work combinations of things. Are we completely unable to work these problems from multiple angles?

All of this talk about tire pressure highlights the current administration's pathetic stance on energy conservation.

I mean, how hard would it be for the Bush Administration to start running PSAs about how proper tire pressure will help the environment AND help save consumers money.

Use NASCAR drivers in the ads. Have Mario Andretti become the Tire Pressure Spokesman. Make them fun.

These ads would have been especially timely for the summer driving season.

But alas, why would the President of Big Oil want to cut down on the profits of Big Oil?

I'm not sure what the aversion to offshore drilling is.

I'd say, generally speaking, a belief that the costs outweigh the benefits. Which is only reinforced, fairly or unfairly, when important people start telling whoppers about what the benefits would be.

Are we completely unable to work these problems from multiple angles?

I hope not, because I think you're right. There is no one 'magic bullet' that will solve the energy problem. We (meaning everyone, basically, in the world) will probably have to thread our way through the various problems using a variety of resources.

I, personally, am not in favor of opening new oil fields -- fields that have not yet been drilled -- for exploration and extraction because I believe it will screw up the areas being drilled. Offshore oil drilling is not the only, or (if I understand correctly) even close to the most significant source of oceanic pollution, but in the local areas where it occurs it does damage.

So, to my eye, there needs to be a compelling reason to do it. There are already plenty of messed up areas. I'd prefer that we focus our efforts on forms of energy generation that are less destructive.

Oil definitely has advantages -- it's very energy-dense, very portable, and the infrastructure is already in place to use it. But it's future is, I think, measured in decades. Time to move on.

I understand, and actually agree with, the basic point you're making. I just don't see that the value we would get from opening new fields will offset the combination of environmental damage and taking resources away from other energy sources that have longer-term viability.

My two cents. I'm agin it.

And for the record, my guess is that we will see some new offshore fields open up, at least for exploration, as part of some kind of compromise legislation. I just hope we get something with longer-term viability in the bargain as well.

BTW, ran across this, which looks like an interesting resource in thinking about this stuff. The lead article seems good, and the list of other articles at the bottom of the page, likewise.

If anyone here with professional credentials on the topic would like to offer their opinion on whether the linked-to materials and authors are credible, I'd be delighted to hear.

Thanks -

Jake Tapper notes that Big Oil is giving just as much money to the Obama campaign as it is to the McCain camp here

bedtimeforbonzo, the Tapper post is pathetically stupid. Oil company employees have given slightly more to Obama than they have to McCain...why might that be? Is it because employees from every industry have given dramatically more money to Obama than to McCain? Comparing absolute dollar amounts is ridiculous; what the numbers actually show is that Americans who work for oil companies are far more likely to donate to McCain (as opposed to Obama) than the average American.

Yes, from what I've seen lately, Tapper seems to have a bug up his ass about Obama -- or he's just not as good a reporter as ABC thinks he is.

That's the problem with giving otherwise good reporters their own forum: Their (biased) views are going to diminish the rest of their work.

Now when I see Tapper do a piece on ABC, I will automatically watch it with a great deal of skepticism.

Yes, from what I've seen lately, Tapper seems to have a bug up his ass about Obama -- or he's just not as good a reporter as ABC thinks he is.

That's the problem with giving otherwise good reporters their own forum: Their (biased) views are going to diminish the rest of their work.

Now when I see Tapper do a piece on ABC, I will automatically watch it with a great deal of skepticism.

Now when I see Tapper do a piece on ABC, I will automatically watch it with a great deal of skepticism.

Those in charge of ABC's political news division seem to have made a decision some years ago that emulating Fox News was going to be their business plan (The Path to 9-11, anyone?), a decision which has consequences (such as being cut out of the moderating team for this year's debates).

Time will tell whether this was a smart business decision or not.

"I'm not sure what the aversion to offshore drilling is."

This and this. These.

"Those in charge of ABC's political news division seem to have made a decision some years ago that emulating Fox News was going to be their business plan"

The political division where Mark Halperin was Political Director for so long? The genius who wrote this? Shockingly hard to imagine, isn't it?

This and this. These.

There's nothing in there that applies to offshore drilling, but lots that applies to tankers. One of these things is not like the others.

There's nothing in there that applies to offshore drilling, but lots that applies to tankers. One of these things is not like the others.

Well, you see, if we don't do any offshore drilling, then there won't be any oil tankers. See? It makes perfect sense. Or something.

"There's nothing in there that applies to offshore drilling, but lots that applies to tankers. One of these things is not like the others."

I was under the impression that oil mostly got from offshore drilling rigs to refineries by tankers, but I could be wrong. Pipeline spills aren't lovely, but they don't tend to spread like they do on oceans, it's my understanding. Could we have off-shore drilling with little or no danger of oil spills, whether from the rigs or the tankers? I'm reasonably sure we can drill on land without any direct danger of ocean spills.

But, as I've said, I don't see major investment in oil drilling in general to be a good idea as a priority. See also Russell's various comments.

I'm reasonably sure we can drill on land without any direct danger of ocean spills.

No, we can't. For instance, all of the oil we import is transported in tankers, as is all of the oil obtained from Alaska.

But you probably knew all of this, already.

"For instance, all of the oil we import is transported in tankers, as is all of the oil obtained from Alaska."

Yes, that's not us drilling it in the U.S.; I was unclear; sorry. I meant off our shores, which is where places that aren't Mexico and Canada are; apologies for my lack of clarity.

Gary, I'm confused. Over half of the oil used in the US is imported and less than 30% of that imported oil comes from Canada or Mexico, which suggests that every day, millions of gallons of oil enter the US via tanker. Given the large volume of tanker traffic already, and the small expected volume of off shore oil production, it seems that any additional tanker risk would be small compared to the tanker risk we experience today. I think this is what Slarti was trying to get at.

In light of that assessment, I'm really confused as to what point you're trying to make.

I'm still not sure what you're getting at, Gary. These are my points:

Over half of our oil is imported, and all of that travels by tanker.

Alaska accounts for something like one-seventh of our national petroleum production, and all of that travels by tanker.

That said, I don't know the mechanism by which oil is transferred from offshore rigs to the refineries. If it's by tanker, I'd want to see how that incurs a great deal of additional risk.

I'd guess that per russell's link given upthread, the risk lies elsewhere, but I don't know much about how these wells are put in and transitioned from exploration to production.

PIMF, I guess.

From what I understand:

Spills are a concern, for sure. But as Slarti has pointed out, spills also occur in the context of tanker traffic. I don't know the relative rate of occurence, or relative rate of degree of damage.

Offshore drilling also pollutes the surrounding water and seabed with the mud that is used more or less as a lubricant in the drilling process, and which contains harmful chemicals. In a lot of cases, the actual chemical content of the drilling mud is a proprietary secret of the drilling outfit, which makes it harder to insure that harmful chemicals aren't used.

In some cases the water that is used to drive the oil out of the rock also finds its way into the surrounding water and seabed. There appear to be more sophisticated "closed loop" drilling techniques, where that water is captured and held beneath ground, but they are not universally used.

One interesting thing to me in reading some of the materials I linked to upthread is the low opinion that many of the authors had of US drilling operations, as regards environmental issues. Some of them appear to be employed either by Russian oil companies or the Russian government (maybe hard to tell the difference), which may influence that opinion.

That's about as much as I know about specifically offshore issues.

I do note that the increasingly aggressive extraction of oil and gas in the US mountain west and plains states has created a lot of problems for the ranchers and other folks who live there. Ground water pollution, outgassing at extraction sites, etc.

This is more so than at more traditional, old-school well heads because (again, if I understand correctly) the older style well basically represent the low-hanging fruit extraction-wise. They're mining the easy-to-get oil. The newer sites have to work harder to get at the oil, and do correspondingly more damage.

All of which, to my eye, puts the burden of proof on the oil companies to demonstrate to a very high degree of confidence why and how their offshore plans will not be harmful.

In a nutshell, I don't trust them farther than I can throw them.

Thanks -

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