NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Significant Differences in Candidates' Energy Plans

October 16, 2000

High petroleum prices and the ever-present threat of another cutback on oil flowing from the Middle East only highlight the fact that the U.S. has no comprehensive energy policy -- and hasn't had one for years, critics say. So presidential candidates Bush and Gore have presented their own plans -- which are very different, for the most part, from one another.

The candidates do agree in two areas: both would expand efforts to boost energy efficiency in homes, and both support the Low Income Home Energy Assistance to help poor households to pay their heating or cooling bills.

In other respects, the candidates' approaches are very different.

  • Gore's energy plans are influenced by his environmental goals -- delaying drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, developing new technologies to reduce energy consumption, giving financial aid to communities that reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, and government subsidies for mass transit systems.
  • In short, his emphasis is on conserving our way out of energy dependence.
  • Bush, on the other hand, emphasizes expanding energy supplies -- for example by opening 8 percent of the Arctic National Wilderness Refuge to exploration, as well as examining whether natural gas reserves on federal lands should be tapped.
  • Bush would also streamline regulations to increase U.S. refining capacity and develop a policy for approving pipelines to bring more energy to market -- while at the same time investing $2 billion to fund research into "clean coal" technology.

The Bush campaign emphasizes that increasing energy supplies need not jeopardize environmental initiatives, but that conservation alone will not ensure the nation's energy security.

Source: Douglas Austin, "Oil's Up, and Voters Want to Know: Whose Energy Plan Would Be Better?" Investor's Business Daily, October 16, 2000.


Browse more articles on Tax and Spending Issues