Newt Gingrich recently ridiculed Barack Obama’s suggestion for a way to immediately save LOTS of oil: make sure your tires are filled with sufficient air and make sure your car is tuned up. Who’s right? According to Think Progress, it’s Obama.
Obama is correct to suggest that inflating tires properly and getting regular tune-ups “could save all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling” — and by a long shot. According to the Energy Information Administration, if Congress lifted the moratorium on offshore drilling, by 2030, oil crude production in the “lower-48″ outer continental shelf will increase by about 200,000 barrels per day. By contrast, the production offset based on Obama’s proposal will likely approach 800,000 barrels per day, immediately.
Seeing that this issue is finally being debated publicly gives me some satisfaction. The immense amount of oil saved by properly filling our tires is one of the first topics I wrote for DI (2 1/2 years ago). Some of the statistics I cited in my post are as startling as Newt Gingrich’s arrogance and ignorance. If you think I’m exaggerating, take a look at the Think Progress site’s video to watch Gingrich farting out of his mouth.
For at least a decade, we’ve had a trend where Republicans would rather look bombastic than use their brains. It wouldn’t bother me so much if it weren’t destroying out way of life.
BTW, you can always detect weak-minded people. They are afraid to give their “opponents” their best foot forward. Let’s assume that we will eventually have to drill for more oil in the US (though this would be unwise for the reasons Al Gore has made famous). Even assuming that we had to drill more, it is clearly true that Obama’s practical advice would have a substantial impact. An honest politician would admit that Obama’s idea was a good one as a prelude to making his or her own proposal.
An honest news media would pillory Gingrich for his ignorance rather than simply promulgating his ignorant rant.
This raises the issue of why so many conservatives bristle at conservation. I suspect that they fall prey to the illusion that motion is progress. They would rather do something physically dramatic than act in an intelligent way that doesn’t give rise to photo ops. Hence, drilling oil, digging coal, bombing anyone that moves and constantly waving flags are much more attractive to them than conserving oil, working out political differences or protecting constitutional rights.
It’s time to elect smarter politicians who appreciate that taking real steps to save energy, such as insulating home, constructing more energy-efficient buildings, downsizing cars, and tapping into renewable energy are real solutions. Much of the American public is not ready for thoughtful politicians yet. Maybe we’ve lost the critical mass of voters necessary to make it ever again possible, because there are huge numbers of drill-and-bomb voters out there . . .