By Alan Caruba

The biggest lie being told to Americans these days is that we are “addicted” to oil and that we must convert our economy and society away from its use.

The first time I recall hearing this was during George W. Bush’s 2006 State of the Union Speech and, frankly, I was astounded to hear it from the son of a former President who made his fortune in oil. The latest to repeat the lie is President Barack Obama, but he is allied with environmental organizations that are anti-energy no matter what form it takes.

Americans and everyone else around the world are not “addicted” to oil or other energy sources such as coal and natural gas. They are used to maintain and enhance modern life.

Data from 2006 makes it abundantly clear that 85.5% of the electricity we use comes from carbon-based fuels. Nuclear and hydroelectric energy add over 20% of the rest. All that magical “clean” energy, solar and wind, provides 3% or less of the electricity the nation requires.

As Robert Bryce, an editor of Energy Tribune and author of several books on energy, says, “The simple unavoidable truth is that we humans cannot (and) will not quit using oil. If oil did not exist, we’d have to invent it. No other substance can compare to oil in terms of energy density, flexibility, cost, and convenience.

“About 95% of the world’s transportation fuel comes from oil,” notes Bryce. “Thus, without oil, there is no commerce.” No commerce, no world economy.

Americans are being force-fed lies about energy and the worst of them are about “clean energy research and development.” There are no viable or sensible substitutes for oil, coal, and natural gas.

According to an October 28, 2009 report by the Congressional Research Service “U.S. proven reserves of oil total 21.3 billion barrels and reserves of natural gas are 237.7 trillion cubic feet. Undiscovered technically recoverable oil in the United States is 145.4 billion barrels, and undiscovered technically recoverable natural gas is 1.162.7 trillion cubic feet. The demonstrated reserve base for coal is 489 billion short tons, of which 262 billion short tons are considered technically recoverable.”

So why has the Obama administration announced a shutdown of the auctioning of oil leases? Why have several administrations refused to allow access to the oil beneath the Alaskan National Wildlife Reserve or the potentially vast offshore Alaskan reserves?

If the ban on offshore drilling for oil and natural gas on 85% of the U.S. offshore regions is maintained, the nation will be forced to rely on foreign sources, many of whom are unfriendly, even hostile.

Think about this. Beneath a 1.5 million acre tract on the North Slope of Alaska there are an estimated three to nine billion barrels of recoverable oil. In 1987 the Department of Interior recommended development. There has been none because a succession of Congresses has refused to allow drilling on what would amount to a postage-size part of the vast Coastal Plain.

The U.S. must import the vast percentage of the oil we require, some 60%, and yet Americans are being denied the right to access, extract, refine and use the oil we have or look for more. Oil companies are routinely demonized despite the billions they must spend in exploration, extraction and refining.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, is promising to bring the Cap-and-Trade bill, an energy tax bill now called a “climate” bill, to a vote in July. Studies suggest its passage would destroy more than two million jobs nationwide.

One analysis projected that the bill would reduce gross domestic product (GDP) by $9.4 trillion over the next 25 years. The U.S. doesn’t have 25 years. Our current national debt is $13 trillion and our GDP is $12.9 trillion. Do the math!

Likewise, raising taxes on oil and natural gas companies would reduce the amount of private capital available for vitally needed investments to access our energy resources.

The big, awful oil and natural gas industry has already invested $58.4 billion to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and there is no need to reduce carbon dioxide. The Earth has been cooling for a decade.

Significantly, an increase in carbon dioxide would yield more crops and healthier expanded forests.

Finally, let’s get a grip on reality. The only reason BP was drilling so deep is because environmentalists and government policies have prohibited drilling in the safer, shallower waters.

And as bad as the leak has become, there is just one oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico leaking oil. The rest of the rigs, several hundreds, are still safely pumping oil. The BP Deepwater Horizon rig will be capped eventually. That problem will end. The spilled oil will be worked on by the forces of nature, dispersing and evaporating it. In five years, just like the Valdez spill, there will be no evidence of the spill.

The real “addiction” that threatens the United States is a Congress that will not stop borrowing and spending an unsustainable amount of money on programs that should have been abandoned or adjusted years ago.


Alan Caruba, a CFACT adjunct policy analst, writes a daily blog at