NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 27, 2004

Both presidential candidates are proposing solutions to reduce American dependence on foreign oil, but this goal is unrealistic, says USA Today.

President Bush is focusing on more domestic oil production, including opening up Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWAR) to oil exploration, while Senator Kerry is proposing measures to reduce demand, such as more stringent fuel economy standards.

Considering the current rate of American oil consumption, there are no quick-fix solutions that would not cost the candidates politically:

  • The United States consumes about 7.3 billion barrels of oil per year; about 56 percent of it is imported.
  • U.S. oil reserves contain about 22.7 billion barrels, which would last for only eight years considering current consumption levels.
  • Gasoline in cars and light trucks makes up about 45 percent of oil consumption.

Both Bush and Kerry are proposing tax incentives for the purchase of hybrid vehicles, as well as pushing further research and development of fuel-celled vehicles.

The quick solutions, such as doubling the price of gasoline through increased federal fuel taxes, are not politically popular. Even Kerry has backed down on talk of stricter fuel economy standards in order to appease Michigan auto workers, says USA Today.

Source: Tom Kenworthy, "Energy Independence May Be a Pipe Dream," USA Today, October 24, 2004.

For text:


Browse more articles on Environment Issues