Gas prices. Two words that will make anyone cringe. Each day gas prices continue to rise, and each day motorists are pigeonholed in to paying those soaring prices.I got my driver’s license in the winter of 2006. Driving a Ford Focus, it usually cost around $12 to fill my tank. That was only five years ago. In those same five years, the ever-rising oil prices have driven the cost of filling my little Focus’ gas tank to around $40. A 30 percent increase.
And here’s the worst thing about gas: We HAVE to use it. Sure, motorists could make smarter trips, or carpool, or find other ways to get around, but at most those measures will only make a marginal difference when filling up. The bottom line is that driving is a necessity for most people. Especially in an area like Youngstown. Nobody is going to ride their bike or walk when temperatures are below freezing for a large portion of the year. And busing? Public transportation is simply not supportive enough in this area to use as a viable source of everyday transportation.
That being said, isn’t it reasonable to think, with so many Americans struggling to make ends meet, that the government should do everything in its power to help lessen burdens on its citizens?
That’s exactly what the Obama administration should be considering now. According to the U.S. Department of the Interior, there is as much as 115 billion barrels of oil in American coastal waters. Another 16 billion barrels could be drilled in the Alaskan wildlife reserve. The U.S. uses about 6.6 billion barrels of oil a year, so it’s safe to say that if we tried to rely only on American oil, the supply wouldn’t last very long. But using a combination of American oil and imported oil wouldn’t be so bad, especially if it would drive oil costs down.
Unfortunately Obama’s stance is that if we drill our own oil, Americans won’t be forced to start using alternative fuel sources, which is a valid argument. However, is it really the average American’s fault that we’re still dependent on oil? Of course it isn’t. A real alternative to our gas-guzzling cars has yet to be revealed. I would love nothing more than to drive a car that relies solely on a renewable fuel source, but until that car exists – and isn’t insanely expensive – I’m stuck driving my “bad-for-the-environment-and-my-wallet” vehicle.
So here’s what I’m begging the Obama administration to do: Please open up offshore drilling in American waters. Americans need a break at the pump, and we have the resources close to home that can make that happen.
Bill Rusu is also the assistant online editor for The Jambar