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. Phil in KC

    A common sense, forward-looking Republican – from Florida? Wow – will wonders never cease?
    Snide comments aside, I think the Congressman is on the right track. He should be applauded.

    July 17, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  2. Proud American

    Thats right ... more threatening than terrorism. Wake up America this is our true enemy no.#1!!!

    July 17, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  3. jim brady

    I agree that getting rid of old furnaces would save a lot of energy. I have turned down the temperature on my gas hot water heater. But what would save a lot more energy (gas or electric) is to install on-demand hot water heaters that only work when a hot water valve is opened in a sink or tub. This way the water is not constantly being re-heated during the day, and, hence wasting a tremendous amount of energy. There are both gas and electric on-demand heaters available. I recently had my propane tank filled and it cost a whopping $1100. When it comes time to replace my gas water heater, I will most certainly install the electric on-demand heater because the cost of electricity is still regulated. In contrast, propane sellers are screwing consumers even worse than the gas stations.

    July 17, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  4. John in Columbus Ohio

    We don't want cheaper oil. We don't want more oil. We don't want to drill for more oil. Cheaper oil means more gas being burned which means more pollution. It's like taking up chain smoking to lose weight. We need to become completely dependent from oil. We need it, we don't have a choice in this matter. We have got to use wind, solar, water, tidal, and geothermal for our energy. We have got to use electricity or even natural gas instead of gasoline for powering our vehicles. We need to eat healthy and exercise to solve our energy crisis, not take up chain smoking and self-cutting.

    If we gain our independence from all oil, think of the benefits. No longer will we be slaves to the whims of lunatics and madmen all around the world, to Iran and to Venezuala and elsewhere. They're going to shut off the oil? Won't hurt us.

    July 17, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  5. Happy 4th?

    George and the Republican's legacy.

    Obama 08

    July 17, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  6. Michelle 08

    I can't wait until Michelle is the first lady. Her adorable kids will be so cute in the White House.

    She's the kind of first lady that we need. She's not a bit of fluff that can be tossed around when the wind blows.

    Go Michelle, you my kind of first lady.

    Obama 08

    July 17, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  7. surprised????

    if the US listened to Jimmy Carter 30 years ago, we would not be in this situation today – but no.....the country had to vote for Reagan, Bush and Bush 2 (who was given the election by the supreme court – he did not win it!!!) Then 60 million stupid Americans voted for him the second time!!! stupid people but stupid people in power, no less 2 oil men, what do you expect? the American people are their own worse enemy. God forbid they should actually pay attention.

    July 17, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  8. Justin, Ohio

    To everyone saying that drilling oil is pointless, I have a question for you. Are you all planning on leaving Earth and not telling anyone else about it? Because I know, I myself am planning on being here for the foreseeable future. As far as I know, we will NEED oil for at least the next few decades as new technology is being discovered. America literally runs on oil, so saying that we don't need to drill, and instead we need to just stop using it, is purely ignorance. Please, look at the big picture before saying we don't need oil.

    July 17, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  9. J

    Even if we went drilling everwhere like the oil companies want... we won't see any kind of a difference for years.. There are much better solutions.

    Any must everything be a War... as Americans don't we have enough War??

    July 17, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  10. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Congressman John Peterson (R-Pennsylvania), who says the crisis over oil prices “is more important and threatening to America’s future than terrorism.”

    So I guess this makes companies like Hunt Oil [who just made a deal with the Kurds] and Haliburton, Exxon/Mobil, etc. THE REAL TERRORISTS....

    July 17, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  11. joe

    global war to stop Bush/McBush making money on oil. very interesting

    July 17, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  12. jimmy velman

    AMERICANS ARE TIRED OF THE SQUABBLING ABOUT THE HIGH PRICE OF OIL AND GASOLINE.. AMERICA MUST MOBILIZE , YES MOBILIZE LIKE WE HAVE MOBILIZED AGAINST TERRORISM , ONLY MORE SO BECAUSE OUR ENERGY CRISIS IS CAUSING
    A ENORMOUS DETERIORATION IN OUR WAY OF LIFE AND IS A GREAT THREAT TO OUR NATIONAL SECURITY..WE VAE PLENTY OF NATURAL GAS , ETHANOL IS NOT A SUBSTITUE FOR VEHICLE FUEL AS NATURAL GAS IS AND WE HAVE BILLIONS
    OF IT IN OUR COUNTRY AND CANADA.....AND IT DOES NOT CAUSE ENVIRONMENTL SPILLS LIKE OIL. STILL WE MUST DRIL, DRILL, DRILL FOR OIL ASAP. WE DISAGREE WITHE THE DEMOCRATS IN CONGRESS ON THIS.. PRES. BUSH HAS ALREADY LIFTED THE BAN ON DRILLING AND THE CONGRESS
    IS RHUMBING THEIR NOSES AT THE AMERCIAN PEOPLE WHO ARE IN FAVOR OF MORE EXPLORATION AND DRILLING FOR OIL AND NATURAL GAS. OUR VEHICLES CAN BE CONVERTED TO NATURAL GAS FUEL EASILY.. AMERICANS TAKE NOTE AND VOTE.

    July 17, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  13. Bob from Pittsburgh

    So what are you guys doing about?

    I easy to post comments, but what are “you” doing about it?

    I asked myself the same question some time ago.. and I decide to start by changing my light bulbs from incandescent to Compact fluorescent, the result has been surprising to me, not all the light bulbs in the house has been replaced yet, but the other day I compared an old statement from the electric company it was about $85.00, and the new statement asked me for $43.00, please note the electricity went up in price in other words I am saving more than 50% in electric energy, Is not a difficult thing to do, so go and buy them and as they old ones burned out, replace them with Compact Fluorescent.

    Oh .. Next month I am buying a Honda Hybrid 40-45 mpg
    .

    July 17, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  14. Rob indetroit

    solar caps melting in the winter and they [people who want to kill the planet] want more oil drilling.

    July 17, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  15. Buy A Clue

    Gas prices stay under $30 dollars a barrel for 90 years. Then George Bush got in office. The price is up 300% in 7 years.

    Wake up people, we've been had.

    July 17, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  16. What Happened?

    Two oil men in the White House and gas prices are up–gee, what a surprise.

    George Bush, the WORST PRESIDENT IN MODERN HISTORY, and we've just been watching and sitting on the sidelines.

    July 17, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  17. Jean

    The country's in the toilet, and Moron in Chief goes overseas to beg for oil–pathetic.

    July 17, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  18. Bruce

    There are far too many partisans out there. I get sick of hearing the same old stuff on these posts from people who think that only they have the answers and paint the other side as morons or the devil incarnate.

    The fact is there are good ideas on all sides. I for one am looking for a leader who straddles the aisle and is seen as a moderate...that has the best interests of the majority of us in mind. In my opinion, McCain has the advantage in this quality. He has made his bones by reaching out to the Democrats on numerous issues (much to the consternation of his own party) while Obama, for all of his flowery rhetoric, has accomplished nothing of note in his legislative career and has one of the most polarizing (left leaning) voting records in Washington.

    I like hearing what Peterson is saying....a multi-pronged approach to solving a problem that involves compromise and also appeals to the majority of folks in our nation. I would think that more citizens would like to see this approach being applied by the lawmakers in D.C.

    In the meantime, tone down the hateful rhetoric on these posts. Being thoughtful and respectful makes more of an impression than all the hate-filled tirades that many of you are quick to post.

    July 17, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  19. John in Columbus Ohio

    We do not need oil.

    Inside of ten years, faster if we work harder on it, we could be completely independent of oil. Not twenty years, not thirty, ten. We have to make a concerted country-wide effort to beat oil, same as we made a concerted country-wide effort to win World War 2. We can take the existing technology that we already have, and implement it, and become independent from oil. Yeah, we will have to drive in the interim, but as things that use oil are decreased, the price of oil will go down.

    Why don't we bring our military home from Iraq and instead use them and civilians stateside to build the infrastructure for solar, wind, hydro, tidal, and geothermal energy?

    Why don't the automotive companies put their efforts towards developing electric cars?

    Why don't we tell the oil companies to go peddle their drugs elsewhere?

    We can do it. We don't have a choice.

    We. Do. Not. Have. A. Choice.

    We have to free ourselves from oil, or else, if nothing else, we're screwed when it runs out. Why is it so hard to get people to plan for the future?

    July 17, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. Big Oil

    Oh where, oh where does the oil from the Alaska Pipeline go?

    Oh where, oh where can it be?

    July 17, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  21. HH

    Mitt Romney is a perverted bigamist

    July 17, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. Foreign observer

    US lost at least 8 years when European and few Asian countries improved their oil efficacy. Solar, wind, new cars. This created millions of jobs.

    July 17, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  23. Marie in California

    If Washington is dragging its feet about the oil crisis, it's the Democratic congress, with their heels stubbornly planted in the dirt, that is putting the brakes on it all. Bottom line.....we WILL have to drill somewhere....or slide straight downhill as a country, and we've already started the descent.

    New energy sources and non-petroleum vehicles will definitely have to be developed, but in the meantime....we need oil. And that means drilling. Oil industry experts say that would give us more oil in 2 to 5 years....and not the 10 years that naysayers are putting forth.

    Wake up, Pelosi! You and your political minions are going to put this country right into the dumper with your myopic view of this situation.

    July 17, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  24. To All Those Who Voted For Bush

    Are you having fun now?

    July 17, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. Thanks Supreme Court

    You really picked a winner.

    July 17, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
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