Oil is the engine of capitalism — our national and global economies depend on it. As such, oil has lifted millions of people out of poverty into prosperity. We Americans now worry about the effects of the high cost of energy on our lives and businesses.
The ripple effects of high prices for food, travel, goods and services, and everything we use further pressure our economy by generating inflation and eroding the dollar. Drilling for oil in the U.S. should be every consumer’s first priority.
The fundamentals of current high oil prices show that demand increases while supply stagnates. The emerging economies of India and China, coupled with prosperity in the U.S., further drives oil prices up and supplies down.
The oil minister of Japan recently said that economic fundamentals would suggest the price of crude should be $60 barrel, not $130 to $140.
Many of our leaders lack a basic understanding of how markets work. A stagnant supply against rising demand boosts prices. The deliberate inaction of the U.S. Congress to prevent domestic oil production is ruining our American standard of living, affecting both domestic and global economies.
To increase supply, more exploration and drilling will be needed. Joseph Petroski, president of Gulf Oil, recently observed, “Energy is too important a cornerstone of domestic prosperity and international stability to be used to advance political agendas.”
There is no oil shortage; only a lack of political will to force our government to allow oil companies to drill and refine in the U.S. In fact, the U.S. has ample oil supplies for generations yet has refused to access its resources.
Our inaction on increasing domestic oil supplies stems from the major oil spill on Jan. 28, 1969, off the coast of Santa Barbara, Calif., from an oil rig. TV pictures showed thousands of oil-soaked birds and a shoreline covered in black crude. That spill helped spawn the aggressive modern environmental movement. Within a year, the U.S. had an annual Earth Day and Congress passed the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.
Along with those measures came a backlash against domestic oil drilling. As a result, in 1969, the U.S. imported about a fourth of its oil; now it imports about 70%.
The good news is that Americans are paying attention to this issue. A June Zogby poll shows three-fourths of Americans favor drilling and producing our own oil. In July, President Bush issued an executive order dropping the prohibition on oil drilling.
Congress should approve drilling for oil and revise the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts to be consistent with oil exploration, production methods, and capabilities, and thereby satisfy the ecological and economic requirements of the domestic and global economies.
You can participate by contacting your elected federal and state representatives and let them know that, as successful businesspeople and vital transportation providers, you support increased domestic drilling for oil.
Everyone connected to the chauffeured transportation and coachbuilding industries needs to find ways to voice their support. Our livelihoods and overall industry health depend on it.
– Jonna Sabroff owns Integrated Transportation Services (ITS) of Los Angeles and is first vice president of the Greater California Livery Association.