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Bush lifts ban on offshore oil exploration to cope with soaring gas prices

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U.S. President George W Bush on Monday lifted an executive order banning offshore oil drilling as a means of expanding domestic oil supplies amid soaring crude oil prices. At a White House Rose Garden meeting with the media, Bush urged the Democratic-controlled Congress to join him in expanding offshore drilling by giving oil firms access to the outer continental shelf.

With gas prices topping $4.10 a gallon nationally, Bush made his most assertive move to extend oil exploration, an energy priority of his presidency. By lifting the executive prohibition against coastal drilling, Bush rescinded a White House policy that his own father put in place in 1990.

The move will have no practical effect unless Congress acts, too. Both executive and legislative bans must be lifted before offshore exploration can happen.

Bush had called on Congress a month ago to go first, then reversed himself on Monday. He said the country could no longer afford to wait.

"Failure to act is unacceptable. It's unacceptable to me and it's unacceptable to the American people," Bush said. "Democratic leaders can show that they have finally heard the frustrations of the American people by matching the action I've taken today, repealing the congressional ban, and passing legislation to facilitate responsible offshore exploration."

The president's direct link between record gas prices and offshore drilling glossed over a key point. Even if Congress agreed, the exploration for oil would take years to produce real results. It is not projected to reduce gas prices in the short term. Even the White House routinely emphasizes there is no quick fix.

That did not stop Bush from building his case around today's prices at the pump.

He said every extra dollar that families must spend on gas is one they could be using to put food on their table or to send a child to school. The American people, he said, are now "waiting to see what the Congress will do."

The White House says that acting now on a long-term solution would send a serious signal to the market that more oil supply will be coming on line. That, in turn, could ease oil prices, advocates say. Business groups and many Republican lawmakers applauded the move to expand the energy supply in the U.S.

Democrats were unmoved. "The Bush plan is a hoax," responded House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "It will neither reduce gas prices nor increase energy independence."

Several Democratic leaders in Congress said oil companies are already sitting on millions of acres of public and coastal lands.

Yet a proposal by Democrats to release oil from an emergency reserve has been rejected by the White House as a gimmick that won't reduce prices.

So the election-year stalemate remains.

Congressional Democrats, joined by some GOP lawmakers from coastal states, have long opposed lifting the prohibition that has barred energy companies from waters along both the East and West coasts and in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. A succession of presidents, including the current one, has sided with Congress for each of the last 27 years in barring drilling in these waters.

The main goal has been to protect beaches and coastal states' tourism economies. But Bush says that with today's technology, exploration can be conducted along the Outer Continental Shelf in ways that keep the drilling out of sight and protect the environment.

The congressional ban is renewed yearly, typically as part of a spending bill. The White House said it was too soon to comment on a potential Bush veto.

Under Bush's proposal, states would help decide how drilling would be conducted off their shores. It is unclear how much oil would be available. Bush said it could eventually be enough to produce 10 years' worth of America's current oil production.

Both presidential campaigns weighed in.

Sen John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, called Bush's move "a very important signal" and prodded his Democratic rival, Sen Barack Obama, should drop his opposition to offshore drilling. "If we can show that we have significant oil reserves off our coasts, that will clearly affect the futures market and affect the price of oil," McCain said.

Obama favors another economic stimulus package that includes energy rebates, as well as stepped up efforts to develop alternative fuels. "If offshore drilling would provide short-term relief at the pump or a long-term strategy for energy independence, it would be worthy of our consideration, regardless of the risks," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement. "But most experts, even within the Bush administration, concede it would do neither."

Environmental groups also criticized Bush.

The public, though, is growing impatient for answers.

Nearly half the people surveyed by the Pew Research Center last month said they now consider energy exploration and drilling more important than conservation, compared with a little over a third who felt that way only five months ago. The sharpest shift in attitude came from those who had previously viewed exploration as a less important priority, including people who identified themselves as liberals, independents and Democrats.

© Wire reports

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

62 Comments
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The only failure was the spud at the pulpit.

So did he explain how long it takes to get it out of the ground, and to the pump. Did he also say how many offshore rigs are available. Did he mention the shot in the arm Halaburtan will get from this. Or maybe how Exxon might double its record profits in the next few years.

All this smug little man did was snip at the speculators that are the real problem and shore up his bank account after his eviction.

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"So did he explain how long it takes to get it out of the ground..."

DexGyp, ex-US President Clinton said it would take about ten years. If we'd started when he'd made that erudite observation, I'd now be payin' 27 cents a gallon and my German Kommeraden would still be payin' about twelve bucks.

-Leftists, God love 'em one and all.

USAR

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No you would still be spending the same dubya would have found a way to fook that up too.

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DexGyp, too bad Dubya has nothin' to do with the risin' costs of fuel in America other than not takin' it in Iraq... just as his daddy didn't.

Ya can'ts have it both ways, my friend.

Bonby, dya believe oil is worth dyin' for?

USAR

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USARonin, By the same logic of your first post, had we listened to Jimmy Carter, we wouldn't be in this mess to start with.

Taka

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USAR

Do you know english or is that engrish.

And Arbuosto was what??

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Bush's 'legacy' has been buried bythe failure that is raq.

Now, as the final shotgun blast to the body in the coffin, the mess the economy has become will ury him even further.

A fitting end to a Global Loser.

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Surely insisting on much better fuel economy from cars, with punitive taxation for gas guzzlers, would make more sense ?

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front, you'd think so, but Japanese auto makers have already done that and are now building facturies in America to show Americans how to build cars.

No, Republicans are right - drill for more oil and to hell with the environment (their kids and grandkids will inherit) and the quality of the air and water.

Short-term, single braincell, blinkers on focus IS, in fact, the way to go.

I say we should all follow The Republican Way....

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Will gas prices ever go down again, even if it becomes more accessible? Or will oil companies just make bigger profits?

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Prices will likely not ever go down because the world's oil reserves are finite, we've already used close to half the total recoverable oil on the planet, we've pumped more oil than we've discovered every year since 1964, production at most currently producing oil fields is declining, new fields and alternative sources such as tar sands are terribly inefficient, and finally, the most obvious: demand is increasing.

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The current high gas price environment has created arguably the biggest incentive ever for us to bring sustainable energies into the mainstream.

Humans can't essentially be trusted to make the correct decisions about many things, but this time we are being forced to get off oil an onto something else.

Starting offshore drilling is a no-brainer and bush and co. know it - they themselves have admitted it won't have any effect on bringing down gas prices for a good 5 years.

I say why not get serious bringing alternative energies - many of which America already has developed and ready to go - into the mainstream?

Unfortunately, with Bush at the helm of the USS Titanic, it's not going to happen. There's simply too much of Americans' tax dollars that can be plundered to pad out his oil executive buddys' retirement accounts.

But the hilarious things is that even though oil companies are announcing jaw-dropping profits left, right, and center, the bush/war supporters still can't seem to see what is going on.

As if it could be any more obvious......

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"New offshore exploration and production in the U.S. would take years to come on line, and even then would represent only a tiny fraction of global output."

"At most, the U.S. Energy Information Administration figures expanded offshore drilling could knock a few cents off a gallon of gas years from now. That is, if the oil industry can even find enough rigs and other scarce equipment to get offshore production started."

Lifted those quotes from an article today on some left-wing, pinko, tree-hugging, Democratic party loving website called The Wall Street Journal.

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Gas is still cheaper than Evian. Drilling or not we will look back and think gas was now chceap. Google "cockeyed price of a gallon" (feel lucky, it is top of the list).

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one last slap in the face to the us tax payer, one more handout to his oil buddies. but i would expect nothing less from this lame duck! i guess it just shows if you have enough money you can just buy the presidency.

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DXXJP....do you support the lift of the ban, or are you against it?

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"That, in turn, could ease oil prices, advocates say. ..."

But it won't, nor will it help in the future. You see, when the environment and eco-system are ruined as a result of yet ANOTHER bush legacy to make the world a worse place to live in, you'll be using more oil to keep cool and what not with the effects of global warming (and yes, global warming is a human-made problem, sarge and co., and you citing the National Enquirer as proof that global warming is a lie doesn't do anything for you).

Idiots, all of you, especially those few who still support the president. You'll have absolutely NOTHING left in the future, and will be screaming, "There's nothing we could do!", "I couldn't help it!" like some pathetic loser in an Ayn Rand novel.

It's just so sad that bush would much rather destroy the planet than put all that money into alternative fuel sources (ie. hydrogen fuel, etc.). Sure, it would cost quite a bit in the short run (instead of the gov't giving money to it's oil buddies to build more rigs, etc.), but you guys are going to be paying for it thousands fold in the long run.

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Actually I'm not surprised that george bush opened up off shore to oil exploration. I'm not for this, but it won't do anything for us.

They have capped oil fields, reduced pipelines to reduce supply and more leased land then you canb shake a stick at, but I wasn't surprised. I really wonder what took so long.

he started a war for his oil company buddies and they didn't get squat so now he gives away the bank.

I'm for building more wind farms, more solar energy and switching over to propane. I'd like to hear more from Pickens.

But to repeat, I'm noty surprised except that it took him so long. he had 6 years to do this with his repuiblican congress, and now he blames the democrats.

Such a loser. < :-)

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Bush and his advisers looked into their crystal balls and decided what they saw there would please the people with the same intelligence levels as themselves.

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The whole notion,um,that we can just drive our SUVs around all 57 states and keep our homes all heated at 72,whether that is in the tundras of Arizona or the deserts of Missouri,is wrong,it is wrong on so many levels.

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So can I assume that everyone here is against new drilling? Sushi? Smith? DXXJP? I support it.

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This is a bold move that will quickly help alleviate high gas prices,

Way to go Bush. You are my hero!

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B/S by the time it makes it to gas station prices will be $8.00 a gallon. < :-)

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Dan - I suspect you don't really think Bush is your hero. You're really criticizing him for this move, aren't you?

Well, even though it will take years for the gasoline produced by the new drilling to reach consumers, the effect on prices might very well be way before that.

adaydream - Don't hold your breath waiting for gas to reach $8.

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again, I see so much immaturity. President Bush is NOT at fault for the current oil prices. I still don't know why people are so compelled to blame a president, any president of the US that is, for the high prices of gas.

Firstly, there is no shortage of oil. None. We have enough Oil on the planet for the next, get ready for it - 500 years, even at a 25% population increase, it just needs to be obtained, refined, and marketed. No government can afford to do that, which is why there is concern when people to attempt to instill regulation.

The US has its share of gas crises. I believe the first one to my knowledge was 73. 73, 30+ years ago, and still we keep ourselves on gas. Why hasn't any other president, Nixon, Carter, Regan, Bush, Clinton, done anything back in the day? Because they can't. So, stop wasting your anger on GWB. He's an idiot of sorts, but not the culprit of this current crises. You know who will try to counter, so I'll leave this part vague. I am in the mood for a brawl today. So, bring it on.

Sushi, you kind of hit me at home on your question, I say why not get serious bringing alternative energies - many of which America already has developed and ready to go - into the mainstream? Because a market needs to have constant revenue in order to grow. Once you put up your solar/wind power on your house, there is nothing else to be made. Kind of like selling you a car, I won't see you again for x years or a house, I won't see you for at least 10 years after the sale, which means I make only once. The governments of most countries too while everyone wants a cheap source of energy, loses a lot in taxes on gas too - lot of lost revenue.

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I'd gladly pay $4.10 a gallon! I'm paying 189 yen per liter right now! 3.8 liters to the gallon @ 189 yen, that's about $6.75 a gallon. Stop your whinning America!

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New offshore oil drilling is the equivalent of a heroin user finding a new source for his addiction. It doesn't solve the fundamental issue which is to eliminate oil as an energy source. There's no reason in the 21st century that the global economy should be running on fossil fuels.

High gas prices are good and the higher the better. This is because it's the only incentive for finding alternative energy sources. Had the oil embargo of the 1970's continued, which unfortunately it didn't, we'd be driving electric cars today. With gas now averaging over four dollars a gallon in the US, gas consumption is down, hybrid car sales are up, and the new electric cars are backordered. And if gas continues to go up, this trend will accelerate.

A quick fix to bring oil prices down by more drilling will only prolong the problem. Better to go through some economic pain now in order to render oil worthless in the future. Oh yeah, and put the OPEC nations out of business.

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They should just measure gas in litres like the rest of the world, it would sound a lot cheaper then.

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One thing I am worried with the off-shore drilling is the cost of doing so.

Lots of oil, gold, diamond fields, etc get abandoned even though they still contain the mined good but the cost of extraction makes it not feasable.

So I would like to see a cost-study if the oil extracted from those fields would be cheaper or of equal price to imported oil.

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Superlib

Im against it. The dolt backed away from the environment, and the impact we all ready are making on it, and then a week later said screw it lets stab a few more holes in it. You all do realize that this idiot will never feel the impact of his actions in his lifetime, ( Unless we can string him up for war crimes)or possibly his kids.

Another tidbit, Saudi has wells that are drilled and capped and not one barrel has been pulled from them. Not that has any impact on US prices

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DXXJP, I already know what you think of George Bush. I've probably heard your opinion of him a few hundred times. What I didn't know was your opinion on new US drilling so that's why I asked.

I can understand the issue with the prices. It won't have any impact anytime soon. But as an American I would like to see America getting more of our own oil rather than depending on others. To be honest with you, with all of the "war for oil" chants we hear I actually thought most of you guys would support the US not needing oil from others. ;)

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But it won't, nor will it help in the future. You see, when the environment and eco-system are ruined as a result of yet ANOTHER bush legacy to make the world a worse place to live in, you'll be using more oil to keep cool and what not with the effects of global warming

Isn't Canada a net exporter of oil? You pump all that you can drink then you make money selling it to others. I had no idea you guys cared so little about the environment. (At this point I think we can assume Canada doesn't even exist anymore for Smith.)

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Pumping more oil will not decimate the Earth, adn there is no man-made global warming. If Clinton hadn't vetoed the drilling bill congress gave to him we'd already be seeing lots of fuel coming out of ANWAR and prices wouldn't be near this high. Why should a bunch of fear-mongers who want to control people & raise taxes who are spreading blatantly false claims be listened to? Algore is the biggest joke on the planet at the moment as temperatures continue on an 8-year cooling cycle...

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But as an American I would like to see America getting more of our own oil rather than depending on others.

As long as fossils fuels power the global economy, control of oil as well as natural gas will be a source of power. The post-Cold War resurgence of Russia is almost wholly based on its control of energy resources, both within its own borders and in Central Asia owing to the existing pipeline infrastructure. It wields a pretty heavy geopolitical club these days.

So while we could buy more from our gentle giant neighbor to the north and drill off-shore to meet more of are own needs, we remain an interested party to who controls oil produced elsewhere.

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What kills me about this is most Americans believe that that gas will help them. But guess what, most likely the US consumer will not see a drop of that gasoline. It will go where the Gas companies want it to go.....Sad but true........

All the US will see is some money from the Gas companies for the rights to drill there that is all. No gasoline will reach the pumps, do the research and you will be amazed at the game.

Funny but true, love the way this is being spun to the avg Joe consumer.

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Superlib, against.

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Gas in America is still ridiculously cheap.

Stop whining you bunch of scrooges!

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Madverts: Thanks for pointing that out. Additionally, flying is even cheaper in many countries even though the price of gas is a lot higher......

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Skip,

Euro governments have been stuffing their fat faces with gas tax for years - though it certainly helped us to create smaller, more economical cars for the masses. Americans need to wake up to this reality and drive econimical vehicles, or pay huge amounts of tax on gas as I do, every 15 miles to the gallon.

I don't see what the exploration of offshore oil will do for the dependence on foreign petroleum. It doesn't even seem a short-term fix, just more booty for the US oil industry and their shareholders.

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I propose Bush's new oil drilling plan be named the

"Plundering of Americans' Hard Earned Income to Benefit Oil Companies Bill 2008"

because that's essentially what this latest head-in-the-sand approach is.
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If this had been done 10 years ago we might be seeing the results of exploration today in greater supply. If congress doesn't follow suit they will be punished in the upcoming elections. Americans are starting to see energy costs as the top concern along with the economy.

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Madverts, that's because the rest of the world with their socialist agendas taxes the hell out of gasoline. I don't know what all those taxes go for in Europe but in Japan they are funneled to fat contracts to build unnecessary roads.

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Madverts: sorry I missed the sarcasm it's late.

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USAexpat,

That's OK. I don't think it's a particularly socialst event - they made gas here more expensive to stop people using the finite resources as quickly, with the added bonus of course of huge tax revenue...kinda like making the smokers pay heavy tax for later, when they're getting cancer treatment.

That's the problem right now in the US - for years people have been in denial about the need to have poorly engineered, gas guzzling monsters - when an economic japmobile would have sufficed their needs.

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Madverts, completely correct, even when we were in the US we always drove small cars (I had a Mazda Roadster and my wife had a Honda Civic) We never could understand the people driving Hummers to suburban malls even when gas was 1/4 of what it is now. As for the tax issue I have been used to paying Japanese prices for the past 5 years so when I was back in the US even $4 a gallon didn't seem comparitively that bad. I'm more jacked up about that 30 yen tax the LDP snuck back in that's resulting in the "record" gas prices here. Smaller fuel efficient cars are the way to go and still only an interim step until we can get off petroleum.

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"I had a Mazda Roadster and my wife had a Honda Civic"

Heh, and let me assume that they never broke down once, got 40mpg and would still pass the emissions test even if you removed the catalyst....

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Lift the ban. It's also up to the states, not just george bush.

Until just a few months ago, Gov. Crisp apposed it, now in the political climate, he's now for it.

Gov. Swartennaegger (sp) is against it.

We already have states drilling off the coast.

Sounds like it should be a states rights agenda item.

I'm for more drilling, but I'm also for useing what we have, uncapping proven reserves and forced reduced capacity by reducing pipelines. < :-)

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Sushi: "Superlib, against. ( new oil drilling )"

Why?

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Sushi: "Superlib, against. ( new oil drilling )"

Why?

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Sarge, do you give an alcoholic more alcohol?

Ditto forthe U.S. and oil.

Obviously there are a whole host of other reasons in addition to this.

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Sushi - A better question would be "Do you give a thirsty man water?"

You are apparently not aware that your alternative fuels are not available now ( not in significant quantities ), nor will they be in the forseeable future. Oil is going to be the main source of power for probably the next few decades.

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Sarge -- If oil is going to be the main source of power for the next few decades, wouldn't it be in the long term interests of the US to encourage other countries to drill and sell as much of their oil as possible while the US conserves as much of its oil as possible? That way, when the rest of the world starts to run out of economically available oil, the US still would retain sizable reserves.

In other words, isn't it better for the "thirsty man" to drink someone else's water when he can, so that he still will have his own water to drink when others run out?

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Gas in America is still ridiculously cheap.

Everything is relative, Adverts. In 1950, when the great post-war American economic expansion took off, petroleum was not only ridiculously abundant but easy to get at. That combination spawned a car culture which remains one of the defining features of American society.

Now all that has changed. We are forced to get it from places like the Niger Delta, where residents live in abject poverty since all the revenues are pocketed by their corrupt leadership in the faraway Nigerian capital. The instability this situation generates jacks up the price.

The USA is only estimated to possess 5 percent of known reserves, so we will always have an interest in the Persian Gulf region which contains over 60 percent. The only thing that would change this is if an alternative power source to petroleum was found.

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I don't think it's a relativity issue, Betzee.

More expensicve gas years ago would have made American designers develop better eginieered, more economical vehicles. Apart from slapping on un-reliable injection systems in the 1980's, American V8 technology hardly changed from the 1950's!

All that waste over the years has massively depleted the finite resourses we share - which is in turn causing companies to drill where before it was not economically viable...

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More expensicve gas years ago would have made American designers develop better eginieered, more economical vehicles. Apart from slapping on un-reliable injection systems in the 1980's, American V8 technology hardly changed from the 1950's!

I'll have to cede to your expertise though the argument sounds plausible. Incidentally, I did not own my first car until my late 20s when I moved from Washington, which has excellent public transportation, to Los Angeles, the land of the automobile. It was a Honda Civic. At the time gas was relatively expensive. As the price dropped, gas guzzlers proliferated. I bought a bigger car myself, for safety reasons.

Owing to a legal loop-pole SUVs were allowed to emit up to three times as much nitrogen oxide as passenger cars, an exemption a range of interest groups from auto-manufacturers to owners supported in the face of an environmental outcry. Now they are all paying the price; dealers have miles of unsold inventory and owners are facing ever escalating prices at the pump.

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"Now they are all paying the price; dealers have miles of unsold inventory and owners are facing ever escalating prices at the pump."

It's only fair to be honest. Sure it irked me this morning when I payed 1.53€ a litre of the good stuff to stick in my T5 R, but I choose to drive a high powered vehicle with stinking fuel economy 'cause I'm into it, and the leftists can kiss my carbon footprint :D

This is my point about 50 years of badly engineered vehicles that has used most of the juice and causing ulterior oil elporation. At least my 15mpg is being burnt in the best possible manner!

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Madverts: correct again T5R is a nice choice and the power to economy ratio is not that bad. I am against the people who want to force our transportation choices in the name of global warming et al. I don't buy the high prices are good for the environment because people won't drive argument. If you can afford it and enjoy it than by all means....

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USAexpat,

"If you can afford it and enjoy it than by all means...."

Especially with the ECU upgrade :D

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I've heard Hummer sales are down 50% already....adios, amigo.

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Pretty interesting how gas prices in the US jumped so high after the liberal dems took over a few years back. Pelosi & crew are doing a great job, and that spectacular 9% approval rating is a testemant to the wondderful job they're doing.

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There is no oil shortage.

There is price gougin'.

USAR

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You Euros should tell your socialist government you want to pay for gas the same as Americans pay. Maybe you'd be less grumpy and less resentful of the US.

And if I could pay what the Venezuelans pay, I'd buy a whole bunch of it and sell it to you Euros and then I could buy your friendship.

USAR

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