From the Chair's Desk: The Truth About Energy

Lately there’s been a lot of talk about energy. Whenever high gas prices coincide with high political season, there’s bound to be a lot of misinformation out there.

So I thought I would share some simple facts, courtesy of my friend Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer:

•       Currently, more than half of all the oil drilling rigs in the world are located in America, yet we still produce only 11% of the world’s oil.
•       The price of gas was as high as $4.10 per gallon after eight years of an oilman, President George W. Bush.
•       During this administration, we have lowered consumption, while dramatically increasing domestic production – up 19.25% since 2007 or the highest level in 12 years.
•       Through development, conservation and lower consumption, U.S. imports fell to the lowest level in 12 years. Oil imports are down nearly 440 million barrels or 12% from a peak in 2005.
•       Unfortunately, we are price takers on the world oil market. The world’s largest oil producers like Saudi Arabia and Russia, and higher global demand influence the price of oil. For example, Asian consumption of oil is at its highest point in history.
•       27,576 onshore and offshore oil and gas leases are sitting idle or about half of all oil and gas leases on federal land are inactive. If they want to drill, oil and gas companies should drill on the idle leases they already possess.
•       Transportation vehicles consume over 70% of all our oil; a rapid transfer of transportation vehicles to a compressed or liquid natural gas and electric battery powered systems is the fastest way to decrease our dependency on foreign oil. A 66% reduction in transportation vehicle consumption would eliminate our need for imported oil.
•       Transitioning trucks and buses, about 20% of our transportation consumption, to a natural gas and biofuels systems could save nearly 1 billion barrels of oil a year. A 35% reduction in diesel fuel could eliminate imports from a country like Venezuela.
•       Millions of jobs will be created by producing the energy we already have in this country – wind, solar, natural gas, oil, coal, nuclear, and biofuels.
Those are the facts.

The bottom line is that we need to continue the President’s all of the above strategy to become more energy self-reliant, which means increasing energy efficiency and more domestic production.

Jobs. Opportunity. Now,

Martin O’Malley