Politico Conflates Oil and Electricity Production
The political conflict currently going on in Egypt has sparked an energy debate in the United States. Although Egypt is not a big oil producer, their unsettled situation may have some short-run transportation impacts because 2.4 million barrels per day are transported through the Suez Canal. Reporting on this issue, Politico’s Darren Goode wrote on January 30th:
Congressional Republicans quickly called for a greater push for North American energy production, including accelerating oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. Democrats will undoubtedly use high prices to pursue more conservation and oil-alternatives, such as with President Barack Obama’s call for a “clean energy” production mandate, as well as shine a renewed spotlight on what lawmakers say is rampant market speculation.
Goode’s mention of what the Republicans and Democrats will respectively push is true, , the problem is his mentioning of a clean energy standard as an “oil-alternative.” Wind and solar do not substitute for petroleum since they can only make electricity. The government’s Energy Information Administration reports that we generate only one percent of our electricity from oil. In effect, more wind and more solar only substitute for energy resources we already have in abundance. But forcing “clean” electricity on the American public will drive up the costs of Americans’ electricity bills or else it would be a larger percentage of our electricity generation. Ironically, driving up electricity prices will make electric vehicles (a true oil alternative) less economically attractive.