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. ran

    How come the oil co's are not drilling on the vast areas they already have from the gov? or the fields already tapped and not pumping?

    answer: that would increase supply and lower the price.

    What is fueling the Mars rover?

    answer: technology the oil co's don't want us to have.

    How to get out of this mess?

    answer: turn over all engery to the us gov.

    July 17, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  2. Kim

    The reason for the high oil prices is that the speculators feel that either Bush or McBush will attack Iran, This will stop the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf causeing oil prices to skyrocket.

    July 17, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  3. YO

    the United States, which has about 6 percent of the world's population and consumes about 25 percent of the world's oil production, cannot realistically drill its way out of the current energy crisis.

    July 17, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  4. blaising

    Testimony of Michael W. Masters
    Managing Member / Portfolio Manager,Masters Capital Management, LLC
    before the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
    United States Senate
    May 20, 2008

    You have asked the question “Are Institutional Investors contributing to food and energy price inflation?” And my unequivocal answer is “YES.” In this testimony I will explain that Institutional Investors are one of, if not the primary, factors affecting commodities
    prices today.

    July 17, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. YO

    Anyone stupid enough to believe that the oil recovered off our coast will only be shipped to America please raise their left hand. No the other left hand you morons.
    Oil goes into one international oil market, it doesn't have little American flags in it.

    July 17, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. Ex-Republican for Obama

    You aren't drilling off my coast, PERIOD. Get it through your f'ing brain that my state is not yours to ruin.
    Find a new solution because you will NEVER drive to work from oil off my coast.
    Obama '08

    July 17, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. Russell, NC

    Get on with the drilling.

    July 17, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. bitter_in_pa

    The promise of more oil by drilling offshore and in Alaska is just a way to distract from development of renewable solutions. Same old game. Most of that new domestic oil, if found, will just be sold to the highest bidder ... which will be China.

    July 17, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. whiner

    just listened to al gore.if people think there's no solutions to this crises,they should really listen to gore and obama .10 years is a goal that could be met,with a unified nation working hard and getting along well enough to feel less hatred towards each other because of stubborness and ego.some optimism would go a long way ,right now ,but only if republicans join with democrats to do whats right for everyone.

    July 17, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  10. Nan

    Whadayaknow – a Republican who doesn't want to destroy the planet! Will wonders never cease!

    July 17, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  11. Dr.Mimi De La Cruz




    July 17, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. oil is the new crack

    I have lived without a car for 6 1/2 years now. And, I've done it in Houston and in Austin – not exactly pedestrian oriented cities. I traded the expense of a car for strategically living close to work. Sure I'm still sucking from the oil teet – plastics, public transit, etc. – but not nearly as much as I used to. Say what you will but here's something to chew on: everytime you drive your car, you are enabling the oil and gas companies you bemoan to continue their ways.

    July 17, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  13. David Goldman for OBAMA



    July 17, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  14. Watermann

    Folks, does anybody know where the refinery capacities are to bring the oil to your pump? Drilling, bombing, drilling, bombing.......

    July 17, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |




    July 17, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  16. In California

    Mike – Texas: "According to the oil companies..."

    You kidding me!

    Out of all the objective people on both sides of this issue, you chose to listen to the ones who will be the only the people making profit from more drilling.....

    July 17, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  17. Sarah, Northern Colorado

    I swear, this decade is going to be remembered by one word – WAR. We've got a war on everything; a war on terror, a war on Iraq...now a war on energy. No wonder the world sees us as a warlike nation!

    That said, I like what Roberts has to say. This is a great example of being united for the good of the people, rather than bipartisanship. I'd like to hear more of what this man has to say.

    July 17, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    The amazing thing to me that is lost in the he discussion of drilling in ANWR or additional offshore drilling is that the oil companies are not even fully tapping the areas that they have licenses for right now! They are currently drilling in less than 10% of the areas they have licenses for but want to jump into new areas.

    July 17, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  19. YO

    Conservation saves MUCH more than drilling could ever produce. Conservation kicks in immediately, not years from now, as drilling.

    July 17, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  20. democrat voting Republican in Nov.

    Did anyone notice how much oil went down a barrel when President Bush lifted the executive order on oil drilling. He is pushing for congress to allow oil drilling in alaska and coastal waters. Imagine how much oil would go down if congress allowed this. They keep saying drilling oil will only help us 10 years from now but just the talk of drilling dropped the price almost $10 a barrel. Voting McCain in November and Have voted for a democratic US congressman for years. This time Alabama is planning on sending a republican to congress. First time ever in the 5th congressional district.

    July 17, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  21. Maggie Muggins

    Well Americans elected a momma's boy to be their President twice even though his history showed he basically bankrupted every venture mom and pop set him up with.

    Oil was $28.00 a barrel before Bush was elected so how would supply and demand create such a huge increase in just 8 years? There is the answer and McCain isn't it.

    July 17, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  22. john

    We need to do something NOW sitting back and watching the country we love become a slave to debt and oil is not the kind of place I want my kids growing up in. WE HAVE TO WAKE UP AND DEMAND ACTION!!! This generation is too afraid to take a chance and be brilliant.

    July 17, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  23. whinning, unpatreotic,sissy liberal.

    All Bush needs to do to DRASTICLY reduce the pice of oil is make it clear that any military option in Iran is off the table. I think that the only people who want us to go into iran are the neo cons and the puppet masters the Isrealis. You don't like 4 dollar gas, if we go into Iran it could be as hi as 12$, but I guess that I am just being a whinning, unpatreotic,sissy liberal.

    July 17, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  24. South Park Conservative

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

    July 17, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  25. Dave in Illinois

    Somehow people need to see past their own prejudices and biases and realize that there is no magic bullet to solve the energy crisis tomorrow.

    People along the coast have the images of oil covered beaches in their heads and say don't drill near me. People in other areas fight against wind farms and solar energy as eyesores on the beauty of their environment. People say no to nuclear plants based on 3 Mile Island scares and worries about transporting spent fuel. People picture black smog belching smokestacks and protest coal fired power plants. And on and on for every proposed solution.

    The answer lies in a mix of all these energy production methods and conservation. People need to stop shouting no and start exploring how each can be done responsibly.

    July 17, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
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