Both Republicans and Democrats argue over whose policies will make America "Oil Indpendent", as seen in the recent Romney/Obama debate.
This is like arguing over whose policies are going to set us free of the burden of importing food. Do you care that we import food from known terrorist nations? What about beer?
The United Kingdom is listed by the State Department as the 6th most popular haven for terrorists. #5 is Ireland. Every time you fill up your pump, or your Guiness mug, or a David Beckham jersey your funding terrorism. Of course not.
And you may already know that America imports more oil from non OPEC nations than from OPEC. Countries like South Korea and Sweden are on that list. Well you might be thinking that even if we're not funding terrorists it would at least be nice to have enough oil of our own that we didn't need to import it. After all then gas prices would go down. Why? As in why would they go down? Oil, like food, is sold on the world market. You pay the same for a peach in Toronto as you do in SC. South Carolina exports millions of peaches! and we have this statue thing to prove it!
Using the oil independence theory our peaches should be like a penny a piece or a couple of bucks a piece in other countries. But because the price is set by world supply and demand, our farmers would be idiots to take a substantially lower price to sell their product here when for no more effort they can sell it on the world market. And the same holds true for Chevron, ExxonMobile, and BP. BP...British Petroleum! From the UK! Aren't they terrorists?
We will never be able to lower the cost of gasoline by pumping more oil. We would have to invest TRILLIONS in new refineries, to turn more oil in to gas. We currently have 156 in the US. They cost about 10 billion a piece to build. And everyone you build needs to have the price factored in to the current cost of gas. So we can only refine what we can refine. More oil doesn't help with that.
Then there's the rest of the world problem. China just started driving, and India isn't too far behind. China uses 8 million barrels a day and India uses 3. The US uses over 18 million barrels a day. The US has a little over 300 million residents. China has a billion more than us at 1.3 and India is at 1.2. As these countries start using vehicles we are going to see the cost of oil rise.
The crazy thing to me is their governments have to see this trend, and yet they're setting their nations up like us. If we had a clean slate and no infrastructure designed for oil consumption it would be so much easier to to just start on electricity. Their lives aren't set up around the expectations of power that fossil fuel engines provide. They're not towing boats and going water skiing at the lake yet. Get em up to 50 mph in a little Reva and they feel like they're flying! They aren't worried about getting hit by the soccer mom in the SUV, because neither the soccer mom or the SUV exists there yet. American's aren't going to go back in time and start over again. However it hasn't started yet for China and India so they could build their country around electric vehicles and have plug in all over the place. And as they're able to increase the power and flexibility of what those vehicles can do over the years then you would see a natural progression of the US consumer over to electric in an effort to save money. The global warming people who are yelling at us for not buying the Volt should focus their energy on those 2 countries. Because if they come on line as gas drivers you're going to double maybe triple the emissions even if American's stopped driving all together over the next 20 years.