NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 31, 2007

Washington politicians have been telling us we are in an "energy crisis."  But America's energy challenges are far more political than substantive, says Pete du Pont, chairman of the National Center for Policy Analysis and former governor of Delaware.

For instance, the United States is the only nation in the world that has forbidden access to significant sources of domestic energy supplies:

  • Access to the 10 billion barrels of oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Reserve has been prohibited for decades.
  • Some 85 billion barrels of recoverable oil and 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas exist on the Outer Continental Shelf, but the House has voted down twice an amendment that would have allowed the expansion of coastal drilling for oil and natural gas.
  • The Senate recently voted to mandate a reduction in projected future oil usage of 10 million barrels a day or 35 percent.

Congressional leadership also continues to neglect nuclear power as an energy resource to insure the prosperity of America's economy.  Rather, they put increasing ethanol subsidies for farmers at the top of the list.  But ethanol is not a good substitute, says du Pont:

  • It takes some seven gallons of oil to produce eight gallons of corn-based ethanol--diesel fuel for the tractors to plant and harvest the corn, pesticides to protect it, and fuel for trucks to transport the ethanol around the country.
  • So there is not much energy gain, nor with all the gasoline involved does it help with global warming by reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
  • And ethanol yields one-third less energy per gallon than gasoline, so that mileage per gallon of ethanol-blended auto fuel is less than gasoline mileage.

Source: Pete du Pont, "Just Drill Baby,", July 30, 2007.

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