As gas prices rise, you gotta drive hurt

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

From a guest column by Rich Eggleston in The Capital Times:

A resumption of offshore drilling is supported by almost three out of five Americans, who are as anxious as the Republicans in Congress for a quick fix for high energy prices.

Politicians have enough perks that they don't have to worry about $4-a-gallon gasoline, but they do have an election coming up, and they'll do almost anything to prevent the oil companies from losing their grip on Congress.

But we can no longer really believe the folks in politics can solve our problems, so maybe we should rewrite the old adage in athletics to, "You gotta drive hurt."

Few of us are masochists, though. And we all know that the simplest, cheapest and most effective way to avoid the hurt is to use less energy. Turn off the lights we aren't using. Get on the phone or the Internet instead of into our cars to go shopping. Carpool.

Ah, but Americans desperately want a miracle drug to fight the pain. And Congress and candidates, naively thinking Americans still believe them, desperately want to convince people they can provide that miracle drug.

How about applying some witches' ointment to our hurt, like offshore drilling? John McCain says it will work, and we ought to believe him, since he understands economics about as well as Daisy Duck.

The Energy Information Administration says offshore drilling could, in about 20 years, add about two-tenths of 1 percent to world oil production.

The effect on gas prices, according to those energy gurus? "Insignificant."