I’m as bullish on domestic oil as the next guy, but I’m also a realist. I don’t see any way to solve a problem with the scope and breadth of our nation’s dependence on foreign crude oil during a president’s term of office. It is simply not an overnight solution.
Yes, the national average gasoline price was below $2.00 per gallon when President Obama took office. It stayed there for all of four months. That was a time when we were all reeling from the economy’s precipitous decline, coupled with a historic collapse in the crude oil price from $140 to $36 per barrel.
We can’t find and produce oil and bring it to market for $36 per barrel. Not from the sources you name – the eastern Gulf, ANWR. It will take many years to bring on new oil from those sources anyway. The only way I see prices getting back to $2 per gallon is with demand destruction — a collapsing economy. Personally, I’d prefer not to see the Dow below 7,000 again in my lifetime.
But there is a solution, and one that could make you look like a genius: natural gas. Good American natural gas, right here, today, is less than $2.00 on a gasoline-equivalent basis.
We’re blessed with an abundant, domestic resource base of natural gas. It is a clean transportation fuel that would directly put a dent in oil imports. A strategic focus on natural gas would create jobs almost immediately. The flow of royalties, severance taxes, sales and income taxes would benefit private and public coffers alike.
A strategic commitment to natural gas as a transportation fuel is the one thing that might get us $2.00 per gallon gasoline (equivalent).