July 17th, 2008
11:00 AM ET
6 years ago

Roberts: The Global War On Oil Prices

Gas prices are on the rise.
Gas prices are on the rise.

(CNN)–It’s impossible these days to put the nozzle of a gas pump into your car without wondering just how deeply into our wallets the attached hose goes. With each increasingly precious drop of fuel, it seems, we are sucking the life out of the engine of the American economy. How serious might it get? Listen to the words of Congressman John Peterson (R-Pennsylvania), who says the crisis over oil prices “is more important and threatening to America’s future than terrorism.”

I asked the Congressman about that on today’s American Morning program. He contends that high oil prices are destroying the middle class and that there is no urgency in Washington to do anything about it. In much the same way that the early warning signs about Al-Qaeda were ignored while terrorists infiltrated American society, Peterson believes elected officials are standing by as the insidious effects of rising oil prices are eroding the very foundation of our prosperity. And in the same way that America launched a global war on terror, Peterson believes a similar mobilization effort must be taken to drastically reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil.

Many people have talked about the need for the energy equivalent of a “moon-shot,” or Manhattan Project-style effort to render the fossil fuel-based economy obsolete. While nothing of the sort has so far happened, Peterson is hoping to build a bi-partisan coalition in the House to at least take some kind of action. This morning, he talked to me about tax breaks to help Americans become more energy efficient (to get rid of old cars and old furnaces), increased funding for renewable fuels and a new push to tap vast reserves of shale oil in the west.

And – somewhat surprising for a Republican – he doesn’t want to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He feels it’s politically radioactive, so why bother wasting time fighting that battle?

A softer target for Peterson is the expansion of offshore drilling – and on this point, he has a preacher’s zeal for proselytization. He has been pushing offshore exploration for 10 years, and feels – with pressure mounting on members of Congress to do something about oil prices – the time is ripe to act. He brushes aside Barack Obama’s arguments that it will be seven years – at least – before a drop of offshore oil drives anyone to work. “If we say close to where there’s current production,” he says, “we can have energy in a couple of years.”

His prime place to start? Next to the 27 “grandfathered” platforms off the coast of California. How well would that go over in the Golden State? Remember that scene from Total Recall where Arnold Schwarzenegger’s head is about to explode in the thin Martian atmosphere?

Peterson insists we “need a war on energy” and that he is close to forging a bi-partisan consensus on a number of issues to help secure America’s energy independence. But with an expansion of offshore drilling as the centerpiece of any proposal, Peterson’s Global War On Oil Prices may never make it through the vicious fight in Congress.


Filed under: John Roberts
soundoff (120 Responses)
  1. jr california

    Mike July 17th, 2008 12:46 pm ET

    "I love hearing republicans spewing the "Just drill in California!"
    1) Try convincing us residents to allow drilling near Santa Barbara (NO WAY, see 1970 spill)
    2) Try doing it over the will of the people, and you will run into a brick wall known as "The Governator". Try pushing drilling down his throat lol.
    Give up, you aint drilling in our backyard now, tomorrow or EVER.

    California, where living in the real world happens."

    i've been lurking these boards for four months and this is without a doubt, by far the best post i've ever seen. god bless california.

    July 17, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. Rocky Michigan

    Kudos John Peterson

    Holy cow a member of Congress that actually understands how serious this situation is. I sometimes think both the right and the left would like to see another depression so they can blame it on each other. If we don't do something to lower energy prices soon this will be the biggest disaster this country has ever seen. Everything should be on the table Solar, Wind, Nuclear, Lower speed limits and Drilling. If our government does not act, blaming it on the other party later will not help the country!

    July 17, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. Texas Trail Dog

    GET REAL OBAMA DUMMIES. OPEC CONTROLS OIL PRICES AND OPEC IS MADE UP OF THE MIDDLE EASTERN NATIONS. THAT IS WHY WE NEED TO BE IN IRAQ AND TO DEVELOP OFFSHORE DRILLING. WE WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO CONTROL OIL PRICES EVER AGAIN UNLESS WE CAN DEVELOP AN ALTERNATIVE SOURCE. IN THE MEANTIME WE ARE LOSING ALL OUR CAR MANUFACTURERS TO FOREIGN NATIONS. AMERICA IS COLLAPSING FROM WITHIN. WE SELECT THE WRONG LEADERS FROM PRESIDENT DOWN THROUGH THE STATE REPRESENTATIVES. THE ONLY PEOPLE THAT RUN FOR THESE POSITIONS DON'T CARE ABOUT US AS A PEOPLE. THEY ONLY WANT TO FATTEN THEIR POCKET BOOKS AND WE ARE LETTING THEM GET AWAY WITH IT. CLEAN HOUSE. GET RID OF ALL THE POLITICIANS THAT HAVE HELD OFFICE OVER FIVE YEARS. THAT WAY YOU WILL HAVE A TURN OVER OF PEOPLE FOR THE PEOPLE. LOOK WHOS UP THERE RUNNING OUR COUNTRY. THE KENNEDYS, THE ROCKEFELLOWS, THE KERRYS, THE BUSHES, THE CLINTONS, THE BYRDS ETC THE LIST GOES ON AND ON AND ON. THESE PEOPLE HAVE BEEN AROUND OVER THIRTY YEARS. IS THE COUNTRY GETTING BETTER? HELL NO.............LET'S TAKE CHARGE AND SET A TIME TABLE ON HOW LONG THESE JOKERS CAN SERVE IN OFFICE.

    July 17, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  4. kcmookie

    Hey Southpark Conservative, how about a car that runs on the Hot Air that comes out of Rush's mouth, and you simply have to refill it by saying "Ditto" a few hundred times?

    July 17, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. Marc, Toronto

    Use less oil, electricity and gas and the price will come down, North America will be safer and cleaner and the economy will recover.

    WHY do so many of you still speed and buy gas guzzlers? What's the rush? We all end up at the same finish line.

    Drive 55. If we use 3% less gasoline there will be more supply than demand. IT'S UP TO US.

    July 17, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  6. Steve, Madison WI

    i've had to pay for the mistakes of all those who voted for Bush

    yet they will benefit from all the good Obama will bring

    doesn't seem fair that they be rewarded for their blind ignorance and goose-stepping along with the Repugs

    oh well – just the look on their faces when we do develop alternatives to oil will be priceless

    oh i forgot, Repugs never admit when they are wrong

    July 17, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  7. Willow, from Iowa

    Its time for an energy policy that is HUGE! We might have to tighten our belts a bit, but we need to become energy independent within 20 years. We can do it, we can put money into cellulosic and algae ethanol or oil, solar and wind, even wave machines, CNG, LPG cars, and plug ins.

    I believe that the only way we are going to escape being at the mercy of the oil producers is to become independent. And Please, don't believe we will get anything out of offshore drilling (Guess which Bush owns the leases?), it will take years and years to get any oil out of them. However, Montana and Wyoming and western Colorado have some really empty spaces out there, sitting over oil reserves. Safe Nuclear, we can do it. There is no reason to continue giving all of our money to OPEC for oil, and our money to China for everything else.

    America- Independent by 2028!

    July 17, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  8. Don Colony14Author, Mt Prospect, IL

    Inasmuch as there seem to be two sides to this issue and they will likely never agree, let's at least agree to a cease-fire. Here are the conditions:

    Those of us who would like to drill for oil offshore and in AWNR will agree NOT to do so, provided that those of you who opposed to the drilling immediately stop depending on oil. That shouldn't be difficult; all you have to do is avoid products made from petroleum: gasoline, kerosene, heating oil, plastics, fertilizers, cosmetics, synthetics, rock concert fireworks, automobile dashboards and other auto parts, toys, waterproofing, PCs, CDs, DVDs, iPods, etc. (A full product list is being prepared; please be patient as it will be quite long.)

    The oil saved from your avoidance of those products should be enough for the rest of us.

    P.S. Please keep us posted on Obama's progress in developing alternate sources of gasoline, kerosene, heating oil, plastics, fertilizers, cosmetics, synthetics, rock concert fireworks, automobile dashboards and other auto parts, toys, waterproofing, PCs, CDs, DVDs, iPods, etc.

    Good luck!

    July 17, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  9. Don Colony14Author, Mt Prospect, IL

    One of the posters here has shown me the light! He (or she) wrote:

    "What is fueling the Mars rover? answer: technology the oil co's don't want us to have."

    Why didn't I realize that is Obama's secret plan to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil? How silly of me! After all, the cost of the two Mars Rovers was only $820 million. So Obama will need only $420 million in taxpayer funds to replace my old gas-guzzler.

    And the jobs created by making each of us our own personal Mars Rover will likely be high-paying "green" jobs – so everybody wins!

    I sure hope my Rover has cup-holders, otherwise I might have to vote for McCain.

    July 17, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  10. Foreign observer

    Probably drilling is a strategy for McCain. He does not understand it is the worst tactics to solve the current fuel price problems.

    July 17, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  11. Jeff in Illinois

    Anyone with an IQ above 60 should realize that high energy and food prices, along with a rapidly crashing dollar are much, much greater threats than every terrorist organization in the world, combined.

    The economy as a whole is not shrinking, people are still spending their ever-weakening dollars. Unfortunately, instead of clothing, appliances, new cars, home remodeling, jewelry, shoes, etc., all of the money is being funneled into gas, food & healthcare.

    July 17, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  12. Carl

    ax breaks to help Americans become more energy efficient (to get rid of old cars

    This is part of the problem... it uses more energy and resources to build the new cars than it would if the old cars were just kept on the road and serviced somewhat regularly. We consume and consume some more, buying "green" and all this BS, but we think nothing of all the waste that is produced when we throw out the old stuff. Keep on consuming America!!!

    July 17, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  13. b

    How can anybody be surprised oil prices are going up anyway?

    It's a non renewable resource – rising prices are unavoidable.

    All MCSame is attempting is to mildly and temporarily reduce the pain while solving nothing.

    Obama 08

    July 17, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  14. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    The democrats are happy with the higher gas prices so they do not get blamed for high fuel taxes like Europe has so that the Extemist Enviromentalist are happy we are using less carbon based fuels. They are the dems. strong supporter!

    July 17, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  15. Frank

    This issue exposes a major Democrat flaw...the Democrats are not about helping the American people...they are about keeping the American people dependant on goverment. If you cannot see this then you are too far gone. Go John McCain, I can trust you.

    July 17, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  16. Ex-Republican for Obama

    OMG: I have to repost this...best of the day so far (sincerely a good laugh, thanks):

    South Park Conservative July 17th, 2008 1:23 pm ET

    I want a car that runs on rainbows, unicorns and pretty words.

    July 17, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  17. Go Hillary

    The current president of the U.S. is responsible for the oil mess we are in and he should be the one to fix it !!!!!

    July 17, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  18. CLINTON 08 VP

    "And – somewhat surprising for a Republican – he doesn’t want to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He feels it’s politically radioactive, so why bother wasting time fighting that battle?" *"POLITICALLY RADIOACTIVE"*... ABOUT 20 YEARS FROM NOW THEY AREN'T GOING TO CARE ABOUT GETTING "RADIOACTIVE CONTAMINATED", INCLUDING THE OTHER G8 COUNTRIES WHO WILL PUT PRESSURE ON AMERICAN POLICIES

    July 17, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  19. Nate

    In reality this shouldn't be a political issue but it is. Why? Because lobbyist and big business infiltrate and buy the goverment. That's the only reason we're still in bed with big oil. The facts indicate that there is no way we can drill enough oil from our land and waters to supply domestic demand. The facts also suggest that we can't access this oil in time to impact prices for 10 years and then the amount of oil we get will be insufficient to make any difference. Why then is this solution being proposed?

    The war on terrorism is the same thing as the war on oil. If oil wasn't in the Middle East the USA would have no interest in the Middle East. It's naive to think the terrorism is simply about religion. It's about power, Oil is Power. If we eliminate our dependence on oil we significantly reduce if not eliminate the threat of terrorism.

    It is extremely foolish and ignorant to believe we can simply drill more oil and solve the problem. Yes we will still need oil- we will always need oil. There should be no hurry to drill it all up. Americans have to accept the reality that the world has changed and we have to change with it.

    July 17, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  20. flavoter

    Well thanks guys, can we have another ...Thats another 4 years without a republican held whitehouse of course. Let's get this right
    oil men and Condaleeza in the whitehouse we get what we voted for.

    Oil companies make deals for Iraqi oil once they have secured that side of the world. Now they want to come back to the U.S. and pillage our land. Talk about preparing for your own financial future, screw the american people, when theres money to be made!! Will this insane money hungry mentality ever slow down. Americans gouging Americans who's really the enemy? Change is a must not McSame

    Obama / Powell 08

    July 17, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
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