Mother Earth News Blogs > Green Transportation

Green Transportation

Moving toward a transportation system that fuels healthy people and a healthy planet.


Number Crunching in Alaska and Why Drilling Isn’t the Answer

By Aly Van Dyke


Tags: drilling, Alaska, oil, ANWR, gas prices,

Alaskan CountrysideDrilling for oil in Alaska is among one of the key issues of the political campaigns this year. Each party presents its own justifications for its proposals for ending this spiral of choking gas prices and dependency on foreign oil, but what are they not telling you?

Politicians, economists and that guy sitting in the cubicle across from yours who knows everything about everything, can talk until they’re blue in their faces, but when there’s a division on the economy and the environment, the only answers good enough for both sides are going to come from the numbers. So here they are. Use them for what you will, but that guy, he’ll be hearing from me.

Current Petroleum Consumption

*The U.S. consumes nearly 21 million barrels of petroleum every day – that’s 7.5 billion barrels a year.

*Sixty-six percent of that petroleum is imported.

*At the current pace, the U.S. will spend more than $500 billion on petroleum imports by the end of the year.

Drilling Won’t Solve Our Problems

*A 1998 U.S. Geological Survey estimated recoverable oil from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) would be about 10.4 billion barrels – the equivalent of one and a half years’ current consumption. A more recent study, released by the Department of Energy put recoverable oil between 1.9 billion and 4.3 billion barrels. The report addresses reasons for the discrepancy.

*Fifty-nine billion barrels would be recoverable from the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), of which only 18 percent are off limits as per a federal moratorium. According to U.S. Department of Energy studies, lifting this ban would yield 1 percent our current consumption by the year 2030.

*DOE predicts ANWR oil reserves to reduce oil prices by 2 cents per gallon. Combined, lifting the moratoria on the OCS and ANWR would reduce the price by 6 cents, which wouldn’t be seen for another 10 years.

Alternatives Are Possible

*The new fuel-economy standard of 35 miles per gallon, as set by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, is projected to save more than 1.1 million barrels of oil per day in 2020. And people are learning how to make more fuel-efficient cars all the time.

*In time, oil imports could be reduced significantly with an electric public-transportation system and with restructuring urban transport.

*With the increasing production and modification of plug-in cars, vehicles could eventually be powered, at least partly so, from energy obtained through wind turbines. Here’s an article about this very concept.

mikki
10/27/2008 11:54:18 AM

Where are your facts Wayne? By the time we drill and refine any appreciable about of oil from the land the amount we consume yearly will already be greatly increased, especially if fuel standards and usage are not changed to reflect the finite amount of oil on the planet. How will improvements in drilling create more oil? I am honestly looking for where you get your information so I can be sure I am not misinformed.


mikki
10/27/2008 11:53:44 AM

Where are your facts Wayne? By the time we drill and refine any appreciable about of oil from the land the amount we consume yearly will already be greatly increased, especially if fuel standards and usage are not changed to reflect the finite amount of oil on the planet. How will improvements in drilling create more oil? I am honestly looking for where you get your information so I can be sure I am not misinformed.


mikki
10/27/2008 11:53:18 AM

Where are your facts Wayne? By the time we drill and refine any appreciable about of oil from the land the amount we consume yearly will already be greatly increased, especially if fuel standards and usage are not changed to reflect the finite amount of oil on the planet. How will improvements in drilling create more oil? I am honestly looking for where you get your information so I can be sure I am not misinformed.


wayne m. cline
10/6/2008 2:24:10 PM

I say drill wherever there is oil but it should be up to the people of that state not Washington pinheads. Eventually that oil will be drilled for by US, or the Russians or Comunists Chinnese when they take over the US because we were too stupid to take advantage of the oil we have. Improvements in drilling will yield far more oil than the studies show. Drill here, Drill NOW!!! True, it will take some years(not 10) to see the effects so let's get started tommorow.


davisonh
10/1/2008 6:58:25 PM

Indeed,what the media does'nt tell you is all these areas have been explored many many years ago and have been found as not having economical supplies of crude.This is why the ban was allowed to happen,no need then,still no need now all the oil companies want is to be able to buy the rights to use the oil,its not to say that there is any appreciable amount there..


mikki
10/1/2008 12:33:26 PM

Great article, I only wish certain VP candidates weren't so obsessed with Alaskan tax-breaks and thousand dollar oil kick-backs and a little more concerned with clean and sustainable energy. Anyone know her email address??


mikki
10/1/2008 12:31:30 PM

Great article. I only wish certain VP candidates weren't so interesting in Alaskan tax breaks and thousand dollar oil kick-backs and were a little more interesting in getting this country (this world) closer to clean and independent energy.Anyone know her email address?