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. Loretta from California

    just drill. It is the answer to all of our problems. It will bring world peace.

    July 17, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. Foreign observer

    Why we are so upset in the US. European fuel prices are at least doubble as high. Of course their cars are different....

    July 17, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  3. Thanks Katherine Harris

    For helping your buddy to become THE WORST PRESIDENT IN MODERN HISTORY.

    July 17, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  4. JIM...TX

    J...you and others say no to drilling because it will be years to see any difference. So trying to get alterative energy plans going now will make a difference say tomorrow??? Of course not! We need to explore all our options now an in the future. Doing nothing no matter how distasteful now an waiting for whatever later is not an option.

    July 17, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  5. Thanks Texas School System

    For trying to educate a moron president, it didn't work, but thanks anyway.

    July 17, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  6. Bob from Pittsburgh

    South Park Conservative wrote:

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

    We are in big doo doo ""Because of idiots such as you""

    July 17, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  7. steve

    Why is CNN not reporting on McCain receiving Social Security checks. It is on the other services. When did he pay into the system?

    July 17, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  8. Cindy's Loaded

    What does John care about oil prices, his wife can buy a new plane without telling him.

    So John, sit back, have a beer, let the rest of us worry about driving back and forth to work.

    July 17, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  9. Sarge in Florida

    Come on people get a fact check. If the USA doesn't buy oil from the oil producing countries, just think about what we would do the world market. Because GOD knows that they can't provide anything else but oil. When was the last time you bought sneakers, produce, electronics from Saudi Arabia? Somebody out there tell my why we can build a space station and shuttles but yet we can't come up with car that runs on something else instead of gas? My opinion is that the oil companies and investors would crap their pants if there was no longer a need for oil. I forgot which country uses the ocean waves to generate power for their people. The waves will always be there and no harm done to the environment at all....

    July 17, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. And The Prices Keep Rising

    Blood for oil.

    July 17, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  11. JD

    Dear Democrats in Congress:

    We need energy and petroleum! Everything in our ECONOMY DEPENDS ON IT!

    QUIT OBSTRUCTING new drilling!
    QUIT OBSTRUCTING nuclear energy!
    QUIT OBSTRUCTING hydroelectric power!

    PROMOTE alternative energy development! Make it 100% tax-deductible!
    PROMOTE more efficient energy uses! Make them 100% tax deductible!

    July 17, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  12. Billy J -Austin-Tx

    We need oil. But we don't need as much as we use. We can drill here, or better yet, just open up all the capped wells in the U.S. I am in Texas and would love to see them re-open the wells here. It would be great for our economy. But be warned, it won't make the price go down. It Will get us off the saudis oil, and a lot of the canadian oil. But the price will not go down, till you get the speculators out. And there is no law telling the oil companies they have to sell the oil they get here to us. Only if it is economically avantageous will they do that. And if it can be refined cheaper or sold for more somewhere else .... guess what. So.. drilling is fine, in my backyard, but drilling because the oil companies say it is the answer is listening to the fox tell you how to protect your chickens.

    July 17, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. sally

    Has anyone thought something criminal is going on here. I think the goveernment needs to do probes to find out why the gas prices are so high. I don't know that I believe that world consumption can have gone up so much to reflect these prices in the past few years. Where is the other money coming from that is paying for all the other oil that the world is using. What countries, could this be a false bidding war putting the price up? Like at auctions like ebay, where not supposed to, but a seller has something for sale and gets a friend to make false bids just to get the price up?
    Or has it crossed anyones mind, this could have something to do with terrorism. Someone has figured out how to manipulate the market to hurt Americans. This is hurting people worse than the airline problems after 911. This is hurting everyones wallet. Our taxes for schools, so kids can ride the school buses, movies, restaurants, etc will hurt when you can only pay for enough gas to go to work and come home and there is no extra money left. It's been said the food banks are being over run with people because they are picking to put gas in their cars instead of buying food.
    Someone better do some investigating and fast. I don't believe it's a simple supply and demand issue.

    July 17, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  14. Brian

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

    Then Let's waterboard Bush and Cheney!

    July 17, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  15. jon

    broach this to the oil guru's. Yes you can drill off the coast, but 100% of the oil is destined for the U.S. market only not to got to any world oil market. If not then NO. No drilling on any other off shore sites.

    July 17, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. aaron from minneapolis

    We have enough oil in our emergency reserves to power this country into renewable sources. It would only cost us 20 billion dollars to put up high altitute wind farms to supply energy for the entire country. The Arizona desert receives enough energy in 1 hour to power the country for an entire year. And we still have geothermal, water and nuclear power. We have the means to lose our dependence on foreign oil.

    Anyone who doesn't realize oil is the cause of all of our problems must be dumb deaf and blind.

    Oil men are making so much money they bought the GOP. The GOP has a 10 trillion dollar debt for us, why would you vote for them???

    July 17, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  17. Janice

    Put these gas prices on the White House lawn.

    Obama 08

    July 17, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  18. GW Is A Loser

    The president failed us.

    Tick tock...come on November.

    July 17, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. Not Too Funny

    Did anyone think we'd ever see record gas prices $4.60 and climbing? It's a national shame.

    July 17, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. Gone With The Wind

    Oh, fiddle dee dee...war, gas prices, housing prices, food prices, job losses, health prices....tomorrow is another day.

    July 17, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  21. David

    All this talk doesn't matter. The Bilderberg's met in Chantilly, VA last month and they are the real deciders of how things are going. It was their idea to move towards $200 a barrel for oil last year and we see where we are at. Just depends what they decided. It ends up happening. They also have probably already decided who McCain and Obama's running mates will be. Did you think they make that choice....ha! These guys are all bought and paid for and march in line. John always has and you can see Barack getting in line by his moderate shift and his vote for the new FISA bill.

    July 17, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  22. Nicole in NE

    The wealthy need help to – I have seen a huge area of wind turbines on our way to Okoboji in Iowa

    it was amazing to see and yes – this could be done so many other places!

    July 17, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  23. disgusted

    Why are we not tapping that 700 BILLIONS in reserve??

    Do it for a week & then see what happens to gas prices. It's worked before.... why not now???

    July 17, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  24. mfelder

    Oil drilling would probably be a good idea if we didn't have 2 oil men in the white house who would benefit from this venture. It bother's me that we will continue to line the pockets of these 2 crooks, bush and Cheney. I say between alternative fuel and drilling for oil they both will take the same amount of time. Let's get serious about alternative fuels. Oil drilling at this moment will do nothing to bring the cost of oil down today. Even if we got to the point where we can produce oil in this country, it will not be enough to make a dent in the amount of oil that we get from the middle east. They can easily reduce the amount of oil that we get from them and continue to drive the prices up. We will still need to depend on them for the bulk of our oil resources. Unless we are saying to the middle east that we no longer need their services and we will drill for oil and use are reserve, it is pointless to drill for oil.

    July 17, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  25. California Voter

    What about our oil "reserve" in Iraq? With the US putting $3trillion into helping Iraq out I would think we are owed a little from Iraq's oil reserves. Wasn't that what Wolfowitz told us??? And we wouldn't have to wait decades to get the oil!

    July 17, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
1 2 3 4 5