Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Inflating Tires > Offshore Drilling

At least in terms of the overall effect on gas economy. Strange, but true - from the (relatively conservative) Time Magazine:

But who's really out of touch? The Bush Administration estimates that expanded offshore drilling could increase oil production by 200,000 bbl. per day by 2030. We use about 20 million bbl. per day, so that would meet about 1% of our demand two decades from now. Meanwhile, efficiency experts say that keeping tires inflated can improve gas mileage 3%, and regular maintenance can add another 4%. Many drivers already follow their advice, but if everyone did, we could immediately reduce demand several percentage points. In other words: Obama is right.

This being the case, why is it that John McCain's campaign has started a ridiculous maneuver whereby if you give his campaign $25 dollars or more, they will send you a "free" tire-pressure-gauge. It's the sort of thing that panders to people who 1) have $25 and 2) are dumb:

Americans across the country are feeling the effects of high gasoline prices. John McCain believes that we need offshore oil drilling and we need it now. Senator Obama opposes offshore drilling – calling it a “gimmick.” Literally, Senator Obama’s solution to high gasoline prices is to tell Americans to make sure their tires are inflated.

Well, let’s have some fun and put Senator Obama’s “tire gauge” energy policy to the test. With an immediate donation of $25 or more, the McCain campaign will send you an exclusive “Obama Energy Plan” tire pressure gauge.

Make no mistake, off-shore drilling is a "gimmick" and its effects, if any, will be minimal Put another way, off-shore drilling will not change the situation at the pump. Moreover the whole bit - the idea that all Obama wants to do is have people properly inflate their tires and that is his entire energy proposal - is a sham insofar as it clutters Obama's real position - which includes heavy investment into the research, development, and implementation of alternative energy as well as (in fact!) some limited measure of expanded drilling, in a way that actually makes sense and isn't presented as a solution that is radically disproportionate from what its real effect would be.

Talk about the low road express.

Obama's Energy Plan Factsheet

Previous Coverage
Freidman on Gas
Finding a New Way Home


FFJ said...

Your conclusion is flawed in that given the fact American automobiles account for only 11% of global oil consumption, simply inflating all our tires is not likely to significantly decrease the price of oil either.

Obama has since switched stances and said he approves of off-shore drilling. Off-shore drilling can't hurt the price of gas even if it also won't improve it dramatically. While it should not be seen as a tactic to be used in lieu of developing alternative sources of energy, I'm not sure why, with the approach of peak oil, we should turn our backs to any method to decrease energy prices. In short, let's do both: off-shore drilling in an environmentally friendly manner and fully inflated tires on our automobiles.

Rule 12 (f) said...

The point was that inflating the tires is better than off-shore drilling - no real debate about that. McCain's ridiculing of the tire inflation suggestions is ridiculous. Obama does support off-shore drilling, like you say and like i said in the original post. What is your point?