"Today’s news about oil prices hitting $147 a barrel is no shock—it is the result of seven years of energy policies brought to you by big oil companies and the Bush-Cheney White House. From the beginning, the White House opposed action to reduce oil use, and President Bush’s remarks today are more of the same. Had we adopted Rep. Ed Markey’s 2001 bipartisan proposal to improve auto fuel economy, we would be using 1 million fewer barrels per day. To put it in perspective, that is twice the production increase that the Saudis agreed to after Bush’s begging.
Now Bush, John McCain, and other conservatives want to give big oil companies our shores from Miami to Malibu to drill for oil. Everyone from the Department of Energy to T. Boone Pickens warns that drilling there won’t reduce prices until 2030—a generation from now. Their slogan of “Find More” is useless to reduce prices now.
President Bush continues to oppose the one solution that would provide immediate relief: Sell a small amount of oil from the 98 percent full Strategic Petroleum Reserve. This is oil paid for by the American taxpayer—it should be used to help us. At least a half million barrels per day should be sold in the United States to add to supply and lower prices. This oil could begin to flow two weeks after Bush signed the order.
The Bush-Cheney energy policies yielded record profits for ExxonMobil and record prices for the rest of us. John McCain would continue these policies by granting ExxonMobil and other oil companies a $1 billion annual tax cut.
Significantly better efficiency and investments in renewable energy are the ultimate solutions to record oil and gas prices. Bush and McCain should end their opposition to extending tax incentives for efficiency and renewables. Bush should also issue the most efficient fuel economy standards possible to begin to reduce demand.