Thursday, February 02, 2006

1/24/2006 - State of the Union


Apparently the State of the Union is "strong." I thought that the state of the Union was "South Dakota," but I was wrong. It's clearly not Alaska. President Bush pledged to replace 75% of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025 without mentioning ANWR once. Did you notice? Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) sure did.

But now I get to play my favorite game, known to many of you as

"Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics"

President Bush would like to "replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025."

What's wrong with this phrase?


For starters, I'm not really sure what that means. Right now, according to the Government, we get less than 20% of our oil from the Middle East. We get much of it from Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Nigeria, Russia and Great Britain. So let's assume that Bush's goal is to go from 20% to 5%. That still seems like a courageous statement to make, right?

Issue #1: That may happen on its own. It will always be more convenient for us to import our oil from Canada and Canada is where the big oil discoveries are being made these days. It is virtually a given that Middle East is oil going to be a smaller piece of the pie by 2025.

Issue #2: Oil is pretty much the quintessential commodity - it's interchangeable. The more oil we buy, the more all oil sellers benefit, regardless of whether to whom they are selling. If the Chinese have to buy oil from the House of Saud, the Saudis will benefit from all of that oil we are buying from Canada.

Put another way, as long as we continue to use a lot of oil, we are going to continue to have a vested interest in the welfare of the governments of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait (dare I mention Nigeria, Venezuela, Russia...). If we purchased no oil from Saudi Arabia, we would still see a huge spike in prices following a terrorist attack affecting their oil as their customers started competing with us in Ottawa.

Of course, I'm not being entirely fair. The President spoke of plenty of other initiatives that would be more meaningful (e.g. fuel cells). The fact that my favorite measures (requiring more fuel economy, taxing gas) weren't there is kind of my problem.


11,700 carbon dioxide-free steps today. Cheers,


Anonymous Koosh Ball said...

Issue #2: He didn't say what he wanted to replace those oil imports with, did he?

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