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

Roberts: The Global War On Oil Prices

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/17/art.gas.prices.jpg
caption="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. Enlightened Voter

    Too bad John McCain obviously doesn't care. Look at his voting record for proof.

    July 17, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Why does everything have to be a war we these guys?

    July 17, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. Ian

    War on Energy? For real? We're screwed.

    July 17, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. Mike - Texas

    Simple Drill Here Drill Now !!!!

    According to the oil companies, if GOVERNMENT would get out of the way with all of their RED TAPE, more oil could be available in 6 months to 1 year.

    Accordng to people in the know, the 68 million acres that the democRATs keep talking about HAVE been tested and there is little or no oil in those areas or it is extremely hard to get to.

    China is currently drilling where OUR democratically led congress will NOT allow us to drill.

    WAKE UP AMERICA !! before it is too late.

    July 17, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  5. Scott L

    Tired of people whining about oil...

    July 17, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. Mike

    This is why I refrain from saying all Repbulicans are horrible people. This guy has it right and, as a Democrat, I would vote for him any day of the week. This isn't about Republicans and Democrats anymore. If we keep thinking that way we are all going to end up suffering a long painful death. To the political parties, stop pinning people against eachother.

    July 17, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  7. karen-phoenix

    Elect Obama president!!! Get Gore, Obama and T. Boon Pickens together and we will solve this problem pronto!!!

    July 17, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  8. Democrats Unify & Vote Big

    The bigger issue is the globe's addiction to oil and lucrative rewards that come from very profitable US Oil Companies. You can't tell me the America is so near the end of its supplies of oil that we will now have to exploit all of our coastlines in a last ditch effort to survive. Looks to me like US Oil is flexing its double-digit billion dollar profit muscles made last year through the Republican party.

    The US Oil Company robbed America's economy blind last year. The people won't soon forget that!


    July 17, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. Franky

    Good stuff John!

    But you know what? I think is about time that they start doing something. I'm not gonna lie but I'm upset that we have to be in this situation in order to REALLY care. What happen 1 year or 2 years ago??? Didn't they see it coming?? Because I did, that I can tell you. If you don't believe me, give me a lie detector test or psychology test or tell a psychic, either one is fine, LOL!!

    At least they're doing something John. Plus, there's nothing like getting back on your government when they learn things the hard way.....or better yet just say, "I told you so"...

    July 17, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  10. anthony MO

    This is high!!!!

    July 17, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  11. Rod Serling

    What? A Republican telling the TRUTH? and making sense, to boot?

    There's a signpost, up ahead...

    July 17, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. LIZ

    Oil prices and the industry is so much of a mess and issue.....I am not sure if this is the work of greed, the war, or politicans......

    All I know is that Americans and the world is suffering.

    July 17, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. Bill from ALabama

    It is absolutely necessary that America get "oil independent" from the middle-east. We can not keep sending those extreme amounts of money to the foreign countries that despise us....not to mention the adverse effect it has on our economy. We need to find alternative sources of energy for ecology reasons,also. It is time to take drastic measures! Measures to secure our ability to protect ourselves as a nation,without having to consider our dependence on imported energy. If America is to survive,we have to engage in technology of the future,dispite opposition from big businesses,and lobbiest.

    July 17, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. sherry for Obama


    July 17, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  15. eric

    Drilling for more oil is the dumbest thing we could possibly do. We are addicted to oil just like any other drug. If you're addicted to crack, and its scarcity is causing you problems, the answer is not more crack. The answer is to break your addiction entirely. More oil will just prolong our problems and make the country too complacent to do the investing it needs in renewables. With global demand continuing to rise, more drilling will only keep prices from rising as fast as they have. Prices will not come down. Come on people, stop being stupid and do the intelligent thing for once.

    July 17, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. Native-Floridian

    Congress needs to get off their back-side and do something about high gas prices. This is killing the Ameican people. Gas prices are up, food prices are up, power prices are up, etc, etc, and up , up and away. Do it all: drill for oil, wind, solar, and what ever it takes. JUST DO IT!!!! CONGRESS: Stop doing the studies, talking about it and fighting. JUST DO SOMETHING to bring relief to the American people.

    If they do something, my next motto is going to be: Throw the bums out.

    July 17, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  17. Scott

    Put Obama in the WH and following his alternative energy plans, you can put a sail atop your car and use wind power to get around. The Dem's energy plan is nothing but hot air anyways.

    July 17, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  18. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    When are we going to accept the fact we are no longer the only super power and Bush/McCain's war has damaged us internally. China, India and Russia, just to name a few, have learned a lot from our stupidity and are advancing economically and technically.

    July 17, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  19. Braden

    I wish more Republicans were like this. Then we could have an actual debate in this country. Chuck Hagel is another smart guy. John McCain (the 2000 version) was also a sensible guy. But now these guys are a rare breed.

    July 17, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  20. MikeH

    Phil Graham is not mentioned anywhere in this article.

    He is the originator of the 'Enron Loophole' that removes regulation of oil speculators allowing them to jack up oil market prices for maximum profit.

    Put regulation back in place and oil prices will fall dramatically.

    Since this article doesn't metion any of that, it's a diversionary article designed to distract the public away from one of the main causes of high oil prices today.

    CNN, are for the American People (and people of the world), or are you a shill for the wealthy pigs destroying my beloved America?

    July 17, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  21. proud army and navy mom

    oil prices is a mess because a lot of people elected to biggest, dumb oil family to run our country.

    This is no coincidence that bush, cheney, and rumsfeld stands to gain from this. when will people open their eyes, they seem to glued shut.

    July 17, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  22. The wealthy need help too!

    Why aren't there thousands of windmills scattered accross the US? I fly often and am always amazed at how much empty space there is (thankfully) but lets get some windmill farms up and running!?!?

    July 17, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  23. alone in VT

    karen-phoenix –

    what does Gore know about anything?

    his internet can't help us now, can it?

    July 17, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. Mike

    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.

    July 17, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  25. Thomas, Illinois

    Mike from Texas..Your wrong, China is NOT drilling..They hold leases, but their Not drilling...You need to checks your facts...Maybe you can use John McCains computer...

    July 17, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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