Why we wouldn't open up drilling in Anwar is a real mystery to me. The environmental concerns are so bogus as to be laughable. We have enough oil there to be able to not import ANY oil. We would even have enough to export some if we wanted to (offset our balance of trade deficits).
Yes, it would take 8-10 years before the work could be completed and oil could start flowing. However, if you don't start until next year then make that 9-11 years from today, the year after that 10-12 years, etc....
How long should we wait to GET STARTED? Drill baby drill!!!
We can send men to the moon and back, cure human diseases, harness and control nuclear reaction, and expound on the exponential computing technology to simultaneously shrink and improve computing capacity, yet we can't find a better, more viable alternative to fossil fuels? Really? Combustion engine technology is how old again?
But wait! What about this completely new idea of increasing our own domestic drilling and refining that some are talking about? Wow! More drilling and refining? What an amazing, intelligent, and technologically advanced feat that would be! Surely that's the answer. Man, I don't know if I'll be able to contain my excitement at seeing the next big technological breakthrough following that one (sigh).
I'm dead serious about this!
We continue to export a record amount of gasoline from this country to other nations and domestic demand is still at lower than average levels. Yet prices continue to rise domestically. Why? Because we're importing the crude here, refining it and then exporting it to places where governments and their populace can stomach the price. We're even exporting refined gasoline that was programmed for consumption here because domestic demand is so low.
So, even though domestic demand is weak, international demand is growing. Which means that no matter what happens here in the US, prices will continue to rise even while domestic drivers continue to cut their driving as the prices rise. Short of a new energy used for transportation (like the diesel trucking shift in the 70's), we're at the mercy of the rest of the world's demand. None of the major oil companies are going to (willingly) keep gas on shore in the US if they can sell it over seas for a higher price.
High prices are here to stay unless something major happens. And in order for something major to happen, we Americans are going to have to stop playing to wing nuts, sound-bite jockeys and pundit-pukes when electing our leadership. We have real issues in this country and we all seem much more interested in ripping our political opposites to shreds, raising and inflaming the nuts and playing a short term game then actually letting science and innovation solve problems.
I still hold out hope that we, as a nation, will grow up past this 5 year old mentality of "My dad can kick your dad's ***!!" (by "Dad" I mean "party of choice"). But frankly, I think we're somehow actually comfortable here. Growing up would, after all, mean making sacrifices, solving problems and making hard choices. It's much easier to sit in the sandbox and fling poop at each other like a bunch of monkeys.