I’m still laughing about Obama saying that we should pump up our tires.
I’d love to know why common-sense measures to improve fuel efficiency are so funny. The facts bear out the wisdom of Obama’s suggestions:
[W]ho’s really out of touch? The Bush Administration estimates that expanded offshore drilling could increase oil production by 200,000 bbl. per day by 2030. We use about 20 million bbl. per day, so that would meet about 1% of our demand two decades from now. Meanwhile, efficiency experts say that keeping tires inflated can improve gas mileage 3%, and regular maintenance can add another 4%. Many drivers already follow their advice, but if everyone did, we could immediately reduce demand several percentage points. In other words: Obama is right.
Like it or not, Obama’s actual energy plan is much more than a tire gauge. But that’s not what’s so pernicious about the tire-gauge attacks. Politics ain’t beanbag, and Obama has defended himself against worse smears. The real problem with the attacks on his tire-gauge plan is that efforts to improve conservation and efficiency happen to be the best approaches to dealing with the energy crisis — the cheapest, cleanest, quickest and easiest ways to ease our addiction to oil, reduce our pain at the pump and address global warming. It’s a pretty simple concept: if our use of fossil fuels is increasing our reliance on Middle Eastern dictators while destroying the planet, maybe we ought to use less.
The RNC is trying to make the tire gauge a symbol of unseriousness, as if only the fatuous believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil without doing the bidding of Big Oil. But the tire gauge is really a symbol of a very serious piece of good news: we can use significantly less energy without significantly changing our lifestyle.
It creates an odd dynamic — conservative Republicans want Americans to believe there’s nothing individuals can do; they should just wait for the government to allow additional coastal drilling.
And Cao? She’s the one who inspires mirth and mockery here, not Barack Obama. I think one James T. Kirk said it best: ‘I’m laughing at the “superior” intellect.’
(hat tip: Steve Benen)
UPDATE 08/06/08 9:50 AM EDT: More on the logic and correctness of Obama’s suggestion, from hilzoy:
So: is it true that we can save as much oil by inflating our tires and getting regular tuneups as “they’re talking about getting off drilling”? Yes. I assume that Obama is comparing the oil saved by inflating tires and getting tuneups to the amount of oil we could get by drilling offshore in currently restricted areas. I haven’t been able to find a transcript or a video of the context of his remarks (if anyone can find one, let me know), but it seems logical to assume that the “they” who are “talking about getting” oil from drilling are the McCain campaign, and that Obama is referring to the proposal McCain has been hammering at every opportunity.
ABC’s Jake Tapper has consulted the Director of CSIS, who estimates that inflating tires and getting tuneups could save around 800,000 barrels of oil a day. For some reason, he compares this to current output from offshore drilling, not to the projected gains from lifting restrictions on offshore drilling. Luckily, the government’s Energy Information Administration has estimates on the effects of lifting those restrictions: it would raise domestic oil production by 1.6% over the years 2012-2030, and by 3% in 2030. Doing the math using their figures, the highest level of additional oil that lifting offshore drilling would produce would be a little over 200,000 barrels per day (in 2025-2028.)
Last time I checked, 800,000 was greater than 200,000. Moreover, we could achieve those gains now, while lifting the limits on offshore drilling wouldn’t produce any new oil for a decade.
Facts are facts. Obama is right. Cao and the mindless wingnut hyenas are, as usual, dead wrong.
UPDATE 08/06/08 10:31 AM EDT: Via Steve Benen:
…McCain said in April, “I’m sorry to tell you that the price of oil — as far as I can tell — is not gonna go down anytime soon until we eliminate our dependency on it. We can do that as a nation — we can turn out the lights five minutes earlier, we don’t have to drive the extra block.”
Oh. OK. Tire gauges stupid. Turning out lights hunkey-dorey. Got it.
UPDATE 08/06/08 2:31 PM EDT: Once again, via Steve Benen… McCain endorses Obama’s suggestion:
“Obama a couple of days ago said we all should inflate our tires. I don’t disagree with that. The American Automobile Association strongly recommends it,” McCain said.