Not the way the oil market works

August 26, 2013 

Lori Felts writes, "I don't understand." She says the price of oil would go down if only we drilled in the United States.

Feltts is 100 percent correct: She doesn't understand. I didn't either, but here's what I learned.

U.S. dependence on imported oil peaked at 60 percent in 2005. President George W. Bush said we had a serious "addiction to oil."

Since Barack Obama took office, the U.S. has made considerable progress. By 2010, imports dropped to 49 percent. The Energy Information Agency says it will decline to 36 percent by 2035.

Oil industry executives agree the outlook is rosy. "Past assumptions of oil and gas scarcity that went into business strategic plans, governmental policies and public attitudes are out of date," said James Mulva, chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips. Major production trends have certainly reversed.

He says the U.S. has more rigs drilling today than in 25 years.

Bush stated the problem. President Obama also deserves credit. Obama's plan includes further fuel economy tightening for cars starting in 2017.

Americans are driving less and using less fuel. As cities recover, mass transit improves and suburban sprawl gets bad press, we'll continue to drive less.

The price of oil is set by the world market, not by U.S. drilling or not drilling.

If she wants to get excited about scarcity, she should think about drinking water: that's the "next oil."

These are the facts. I continually remind myself that I am entitled to my own opinion but not to my own facts.

Richard Ellerbrake

Lebanon

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