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Monday, May 09, 2005

Both sides agree: ANWR oil won't change prices

It's funny how these factoids just trickle out over time. Why didn't these questions get asked weeks or months ago?

In any case, this UPI story published in the conservative Washington Times bothers to ask both sides in the debate whether oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge will lower gasoline prices for American consumers. Surprisingly, both drilling advocates and foes agree that it won't have any effect.
Because of the way the world's oil market works, experts said the international price effects of drilling in ANWR will be difficult -- maybe even impossible -- to pinpoint. "There's no way drilling in the Arctic is going to change that price," said Kelly Hill Scanlon of the Northern Alaska Environmental Center in Fairbanks.
The piece then quotes Kevin Hand, executive director of drilling lobbyist Arctic power:
"We see a lot of positive economic benefits to drilling," said Hand, including job creation, oil royalties for the state and federal government, and direct payments to Alaska residents. Yet, like Scanlon, when it comes to a direct link between Arctic drilling and gasoline prices at the pump, Hand said "those are a bit more difficult to directly attribute."

Hand later adds that drilling only "allows us some flexibility" should the United States feel the need to increase its oil output.

And yet politicians keep saying that ANWR oil will reduce gas prices, because that's what they think the public wants to hear. But people need to recognize that $2 gasoline isn't going away, not if we drill ANWR, and not if we drill every oil patch left on the planet. The only way to reduce that sting at the pump is to visit the pump less often.

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