Sunday, May 20, 2018
Editorials

'Drill, baby, drill' isn't the answer

As Americans face sticker shock at the gas pump with prices near $4 per gallon and climbing, Republican presidential candidates see a political opportunity. On the campaign trail, they direct public anger at President Barack Obama by making absurd claims about his power to affect gas prices. Newt Gingrich promises gas at $2.50 per gallon if he wins the presidency. Mitt Romney blames the president for constraining domestic production. In truth, presidents have little control over the price of oil, where prices are set on a world market. Republicans who suggest that gas prices will come down if drilling is allowed in environmentally sensitive areas are looking out for only one constituency: the oil companies and their profits.

Romney said earlier this month that Obama should "open up drilling in the gulf, open up drilling in ANWR (Arctic National Wildlife Refuge). Open up drilling in the outer Continental Shelf, drill in North Dakota, drill in Oklahoma and Texas." But he failed to note that the United States is producing more crude oil and other liquid fuels both on and offshore now than at any time since the 1980s. But with only 2 percent of the world's reserves and an appetite that consumes more than 20 percent of the supply, the United States isn't going to drill itself to oil-based energy security. Romney is perpetuating a falsehood that may be applauded by his oil industry friends, to whom he spoke recently at the Petroleum Club in Louisiana, but no one else should buy it.

Historically, the price of gas in the United States has hewed closely to the global price. During the 1980s and '90s, even as domestic production fell sharply, so did prices. Today's gas price rise is due to global demand that is expected to hit a record this year. China, India, Latin America and the Middle East have increased their claims on the world's supply. Add in supply instability out of Nigeria, Syria and South Sudan as well as traders' nervousness over Iran, and filling up the car commands more and more of the family budget. It is understandable that Americans are angry, but they shouldn't be bamboozled by renewed calls to "drill, baby, drill."

Obama's more sensible "all of the above" energy policy includes responsible domestic production, alternative energy as well as conservation and fuel efficiency — one of the brightest spots on America's energy independence picture. In 2011, cars and light trucks averaged 29.6 miles a gallon, compared with 24.7 miles a gallon 10 years before, which has considerably lessened America's demand for foreign oil. Obama's agreements with automakers has the nation on track to nearly double the fuel efficiency for new vehicles by 2025, reducing consumption of oil by millions more barrels a day.

This is the responsible approach that will lead to national energy security down the road and buffer families from volatile gas prices. The mantra to simply drill more is a policy as empty as the promise of $2.50-a-gallon gas.

Comments
Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

Big Sugar remains king in Florida. Just three of the state’s 27 House members voted for an amendment to the farm bill late Thursday that would have started unwinding the needless government supports for sugar that gouge taxpayers. Predictably, the am...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/18/18
Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

In barely six weeks, President Donald Trump has gone from threatening to impose $150 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods to extending a lifeline to ZTE, a Chinese cell phone company that violated U.S. sanctions by doing business with Iran and North K...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

Lots of teenagers are walking together this week in Hillsborough County, a practice they’ve grown accustomed to during this remarkable school year.We can only hope they keep walking for the rest of their lives.Tens of thousands of them this week are ...
Published: 05/17/18
Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

A state investigation raises even more concern about medical errors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the venerable St. Petersburg institution’s lack of candor to the community. Regulators have determined the hospital broke Florida law by ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18
Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

St. Petersburg’s 3-year-old recycling program has reached an undesirable tipping point, with operating costs exceeding the income from selling the recyclable materials. The shift is driven by falling commodity prices and new policies in China that cu...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: HUD’s flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Editorial: HUD’s flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Housing Secretary Ben Carson has a surefire way to reduce the waiting lists for public housing: Charge more to people who already live there. Hitting a family living in poverty with rent increases of $100 or more a month would force more people onto ...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Voters should decide whether legal sports betting comes to Florida

Editorial: Voters should decide whether legal sports betting comes to Florida

It’s a safe bet Florida will get caught up in the frenzy to legalize wagering on sports following the U.S. Supreme Court opinion this week that lifted a federal ban. Struggling horse and dog tracks would love a new line of business, and state l...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/16/18