Line of the Day (Oil and the Moon Edition)

Regarding Newt Gingrich’s promise to deliver $2.50/gallon gas if elected to the presidency:  "His promise to go the moon is easier to achieve."—Michael Lynch as quoted by Ronald Bailey.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, The Presidency, US Politics,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Good quote. So true.

    There’s an inherent slate of political ironies embedded in that quote, however, which might go unnoticed in most corners of the Internet. Do you see where I’m going with this?

    Imagine if radical, left-wing “environmentalists” had no sway whatsoever over our legislative and regulatory schemes. Further imagine if over the past couple of decades the Democrat Party’s elected officials primarily were led by the likes of Dave Freudenthal, Joe Manchin, Ben Nelson, Max Baucus, Zell Miller and Brian Schweitzer, as opposed to having been led by the likes of O’Neill, Gephardt, Pelosi, Daschle, Reid, Kennedy, Durbin, Murray, Kerry and Hoyer.

    In other words, what if in the 1980’s and 1990’s we had built at least 10 major, high-tech refineries at all of the key intake points for crude oil throughout the country, i.e., Long Beach, CA, the S.F. Bay Area, CA, Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, New Orleans, LA, Corpus Cristi, TX, Camden and Newark, N.J., etc.?

    What if we started drilling for oil in ANWR 20 years ago?

    What if we had started developing and then maximizing our shale oil capabilities as early as the first Gulf War?

    What if we spent the 1980’s and 1990’s building 20 new-age nuclear power plants throughout the country?

    What if we had commenced oil drilling in the North Slope of Alaska in the early-1990s?

    What if we had commenced maximizing our offshore oil drilling capabilities back in the 1970’s, after the initial OPEC embargo?

    If all or even some of those measures had been taken, where do you suppose gas prices would be right now?

  2. J-Dub says:

    Would Newt transport gas to the moon to fuel the colony? He might need to invest in solar power…oh, the irony!

  3. J-Dub says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: Probably $4/gal

  4. Ron Beasley says:
  5. David M says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: “Imagine if radical, left-wing “environmentalists” had no sway whatsoever over our legislative and regulatory schemes.”

    We’d be using more oil each day, as those regulations have required improved efficiency. So, we would have burned more oil in the last few decades and we would be closer to peak oil, as there would be fewer oil reserves left. I think we’re safe thanking those hippies, unless you’re now claiming that having fewer global oil reserves, and burning those reserves faster is a good thing.

  6. Console says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    Still high… refining capacity isn’t the most important factor in gas prices, the price of crude oil is. And america doesn’t have enough oil reserves to remotely dent that price. And shale oil is only profitable when oil prices are high… I.E. when the world runs out of sweet crude.

    Why can’t we just deal with the fact that we have to transition from oil to something else instead of pretending nonsense stopgaps will do anything other than make oil companies rich.

  7. J-Dub says:

    There’s an easy way to get cheaper gas. For every dollar you spend at the pump, buy the same amount of Mobil/Exxon stock. From their website:

    ExxonMobil’s dividend payments to shareholders have grown at an average annual rate of 5.7% over the last 29 years.

    That’s the only way that oil companies will ever share their profits with the public, no matter how much we let them drill in our back yard.

  8. Ron Beasley says:

    @Console: Our largest export commodity now is gasoline and it’s approaching $4.00 gal because that’s what the Chinese and South Americans are willing to pay.

  9. grumpy realist says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: if we want to get to $2.50/gallon of gas, we’re going to have to either a) increase the supply of oil by roughly double, or b) crash the world economy.

    Given that we have a finite amount of oil out there, I fail to see what increasing the supply of oil would do except bring the day that we run out of the stuff even closer. I also fail to see how we can somehow magically increase the supply of oil that much. The sources you have mentioned are either blips on the supply already out there, or unable to be adequately accessed unless oil prices are higher than a certain $/bbl. Which leads to higher prices…

    And no one has said anything about the tremendous amount of water that is required to process some of these new sources. Water which we don’t have. Or water which is already being used to grow plants. You know, food, the sort of stuff we really do need, as opposed to gasoline for entitled Baby Boomers to ride around in their SUVs in?

    Face it–cheap gasoline ain’t coming back, because it isn’t there anymore.

  10. Rob in CT says:

    @grumpy realist:

    The scary part of fracking, to me, is the wastewater. What’s in it, how is it stored, treated, and ultimately released back into the environment? I’m willing to believe that this *can* be done properly. I just have no faith at all that it *will* be done properly, without strict requirements and enforcement (as opposed to, you know, exempting them from the Clean Water Act).

    Given that I work on long-tail environmental claims, I suppose I should be happy about my job security, but…

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: Imagine a post where Tsar makes a coherent argument based on facts instead of “imaginings”….

    We will probably have a moon base before that too.

  12. @Tsar Nicholas:

    Some of the items on your list could have been done earlier. Some could not for political or technological reasons.

    But I’ve got a question for you. Are all the other oil producers in the world shirking? Is that why gas is this high? I mean, if there is plenty, and it’s easy, then wouldn’t everyone just sell more, and bring that price down?

  13. grumpy realist says:

    @john personna: I think it’s pretty clear that Saudi Arabia has been trying to control production to keep the price as high as they can get away with but not so high that the non-oil producing countries are encouraged to find any other form of technology that might get us off depending on oil.

    Our future would have been much better had we decided back in the 1960s to bite the bullet and develop a non-oil-based power infrastructure. It would have been bloody expensive at that point.

    The problem is, most americans still take cheap gas and oil as a god-given right, as opposed to the historical accident that it was.