Don’t Be Fuelish: Offshore Drilling Will Only Leave Us Screwed

  • Published on August 21st, 2008

Step right up and prepare to be amazed! Don’t be shy. Friends and children of all ages…behold the wonderment that is Offshore Drilling. A true modern miracle! Step up to the greatest show on earth!

Yes, it will dazzle you – no, it will bedazzle you – with its awesomeness! It’s fast acting, 3-times concentrated and cheaper than the leading brand. It reduces the price of gasoline to mere pennies, and it’s 100% effective in the fight against plaque and Global Warming. But that’s not all folks. No more starving babies in Africa – especially the cute ones.  And it doesn’t stop there – it gives you longer and more satisfying sex, whether you’re having it with someone else or not. It’s that good!


Thar’s Black Gold in Them Thar Hills: Actually, not so much. When it comes to the production of crude oil, America does takes the bronze. But it’s a slighted accomplishment, considering that the top oil producers – both Russia and Saudi Arabia – out produce the U.S. by a factor of 2 to 1. In reality, the U.S. only contributes to about 10-percent of the world’s oil supply.

Confessions of a Consumer Whore: Though, we are the heavy weight champions when it comes to consumption. We use over 25-percent of the world’s oil, of which more than half of that is imported. That’s twenty-five freakin percent! Wow, we’re almost kinda special.

It’s the Economy, Stupid: We consume 20.7 million barrels of oil a day, but only 40-percent of that is home grown.  Considering we only own 3-percent of the world’s oil reserves, offshore contributions would barely be significant. And even if they were, the price of oil is still set by a global market. Therefore no employee discount, we’re still stuck with high prices.

Danger, Will Robinson: Even if we could Dumbledore our way into having offshore crude oil today, it still doesn’t address our biggest fossil-fuel-foul, global warming. It just postpones it.

We are making progress. SUVs are going the way of the Dodo bird; alternative fuel vehicles are becoming more and more prevalent. Heck, even my mom uses reusable bags now. But here’s the half-empty: offshore drilling is not a solution, it’s not even a quick fixit’s a mistake, plain and simple. The only thing it has to offer is false hope and more environmental damage.

Related Posts:

Offshore Drilling Ban Opens Discussion for Other Domestic Oil Options
Poll: Americans Don’t Think More Drilling Will Lower Gas Prices
Offshore Drilling, Why It May Not Happen, Even if Approved by Congress

Image source: Tank Theory at

About the Author

is a web developer, part-time blogger, and a full-time environmentalist. His crusade for all things eco started twenty years ago when he ditched his meat-and-potatoes upbringing for something more vegetarian-shaped. His passions include cooking, green tech, eco politics, and smart green design. And while he doesn't own a car anymore, he loves to write about those too. Jerry studied at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA. During his time there he was a DJ at the campus station KCPR and he also wrote for the campus paper. Jerry currently resides in San Francisco, CA with his cat Lola. You can stalk him on Twitter @jerryjamesstone.
  • Uncle Dave

    Uhhh.. not quite.

    Well written article, pretty accurate on the consumer side, but not quite so accurate on the production side, and a bit misleading.

    What's missing is the word "known" when describing the available supply of oil. New oil reserve are being found all the time and the offshore reserves grew by quantum leaps this year alone. Stating the "offshore contributions would barely be significant" is flat untrue. There are billions upon billions of gallons on crude offshore waiting to be tapped.

    Although oil prices are set by a global market the time honored tradition of supply and demand still determines the global price and the less you need to purchase elsewhere – the better.

    Is offshore drilling a magic bullet – no.

    Can, and should it be a key component along with reducing consumption, alternative energy sources, on our road to energy independence – absolutely.

    Uncle Dave

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  • clearly a person with no grasp of economics or the oil market. do you know what producing 10% means for the united states? it is tantamount to independence.

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  • re: Colin

    I agree. Life needs to change. Like for one, why does the country that uses the MOST oil in the world not have the most efficient cars? Europe is getting all these great cars, like by VW that get like 70mpg and we get the Hummer. Corporations, people and everything in between needs to change it's behavior.

    Do you have any Peak Oil sites you recommend?

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  • Colin

    The global situation with oil is really complex and there are a lot of factors to consider. Off shore drilling is definitely useless and would only serve to line the pockets of big oil folks.

    The biggest problem with oil is the global peak in its production. Once supply no longer meets demand, the world could become a very different place. Our addiction to oil runs deep into our culture and our agriculture. For every calorie of food on your plate, about 11 calories went into it! The transportation and and fertilization of our food is very much dependent on hydrocarbon energy.

    The rise in oil consumption in Asia is going to create a much larger demand for oil in the coming years and supplies seem to be getting smaller and fewer and fewer new oil fields are being discovered. The term "Peak Oil" is gradually becoming a household term and if you are not familiar with it, you should look it up!

    There is no easy solution to this problem and there may not really be a real solution. Life as we know it will likely have to change a lot and become much more localized and less consumptive. There is no reason why we can not be happy here in the USA whilst consuming much less energy. Surveys from other countries show people are just as happy as we are while consuming a fraction of the energy we do.

  • re: peter

    Well, I am not saying it has to be phased out completely but our dependence on it is far from reasonable. For example, some of those products you mentioned do not need to be made from crude oil.

    But ya, I agree…we have some pretty serious behavioral changes to overcome. I hope we can.

  • peter

    i dont think the US, or any other countries or organizations, has any plans to completely phase out the use of oil. After all oil not only provide fuel but also basic materials.

    Can you imagine a world without plastic bottles, shampoo and conditioners, asphalt, paint on your cars or bikes, CDs, DVDs, and ceiling fans?

    Can we live without oil?

    Are we even ready to step out of our confort zone and make the change ourselves? Will we recycle and consume less when no ones else is watching?

  • franny

    Right on! Reduce consumption.

  • re: Sirin

    I think our first line of defense is reducing our consumption. We use 25% of the world's oil! I mean, that is just obscene. No option will be successful in the long term unless we address that.

    As far as nuclear goes, that alone is a blog post – and one coming up soon – but its just not feasible. Its extremely expensive. On top of that, there is no solution for the waste. I think our focus needs to be renewable and clean.

    Now, I am open to a stop-gap solution like natural gas. It falls in to the same pitfalls as gasoline but we could use it to get past the current hump.

  • re: peter

    A lot of good questions Peter. First, even if we get increased oil production…its not like that oil is free. On top of that, we use more than double of what we currently produce here in the US and we only have a limited amount we could contribute from offshore drilling.

    So it comes down to this: We use a ton of oil, we could maybe contribute a bit more from offshore but that oil wouldn't be free, therefore we'd end up in the same situation we are in now.

    That said, the offshore solution does not address our climate crisis. We would still be burning the same amount of fossil fuel, and that is BAD!

  • Sirin

    Are there any transition plans in place to help the US (and the world) phase out reliance on oil? Is there information on the efficiencies of alternative energy sources and how they compare to the current efficiencies of oil? I know the best energy alternative, in terms of efficiency, is nuclear energy, but I have some concerns about the safety issues of nuclear energy plants. Any thoughts?

  • re: Cyndi and peter

    Yes, you both brought up a very good point..and one missing from my article. We should focus on the oil leases we have before allowing new exploration. Thanks!

  • Cyndi

    I agree to use the oil leases we already have before we go for new exploitation of pristine areas not yet reuined by human errors and equipment. Drive smart!

  • peter

    so why is off shore drilling not a solution? Both Obama and Pelosi seem to support drilling and so do 51% of californians.

    wouldnt more oil production = lower price? Besides the big oil hasnt had any spills for a while. They say they are safe.

    i want to know why the big oil is not drilling in the areas they already lease but Bush wants to open more areas for "exploration."