We’ve been fed a lot of outright lies on the presidential campaign trail this year. Republicans so far. Not that they have a corner on the “loose-with-the-truth” syndrome. It’s just that they’re providing the only daily “I’m-better-than-you” hand puppet comparisons as they reach further down in the promise barrel.

It’s difficult to pick the worst one but I’m going to settle for Newt’s “I’m the $2 dollar-a-gallon gas guy.” A flat-out lie! Sadder than him saying it is knowing there are lots and lots of hurting people who believe him. Or want to. The current $4 dollar-plus is really hurting most those who can afford it least.

It’s shameless lying for votes. Period. Face it, Virginia. If any president of this or any other country had his druthers – or had it within his power in an election year – the current occupant of the White House would lower the price to two-bits a gallon. He can’t. Gingrich can’t. Nobody can.

So saying, the American Petroleum Institute has been doing some research on the future of our energy business. Keep in mind the A-P-I is made up of – and paid for by – oil companies. But in this case, what they’ve produced is a report worth paying some attention to.

A-P-I reckons if every piece of federal land – except national parks – was open for drilling, this country could produce an additional 10 million barrels of oil a day by 2030. About a 10% increase. If consumption were to stay at today’s levels, we would need not a drop of foreign oil. In 28 years.

“Great,” you say. “Drill, baby, drill.”

Whoa, there a minute, petroleum breath. Consider what those words from A-P-I really mean. If you have a favorite ocean beach, there would be a drilling rig on it. Fact is, there would be rigs pumping away on nearly ALL ocean beaches and a few miles out. Florida Keys? Yep. Hawaii, too? Yep. Roads going this way and that across pristine Alaskan Wilderness? Yep. All federal wilderness. Everywhere.

Drilling on “ALL federal lands excluding national parks,” remember? And those Canadian oil sands would be fully developed and we’d have fracking going on in watersheds all over our country.

And, even according to the petroleum industry’s own report, it’s not likely the price of gas would come down a nickle. Consider this. Suppose our domestic petroleum production increase did amount to 10%. Then suppose what gas prices would be if the Mideast countries cut their own production by 10%. It’d be a wash. And that’s considering current levels in demand are the same in 2030. Which ain’t likely.

Think all this drilling isn’t possible? Well, if we keep relying on petroleum-based energy to run this country, it’s not only “possible” it’s inevitable. Flat out unavoidable. Even the Petroleum Institute agrees.

Under the Obama administration, says the Energy Information Agency folk, there are about twice the rigs drilling out there as there were four years ago. Surprise! But the biggest factors driving the price of oil are increased production, speculators and new technology resdearch. And they are pretty much immune from the whims of politicians and their promises. Or lies.

Something else to consider. Suppose the numbers of offshore and beach rigs were allowed to expand. To reach the increased 10% production goal the A-P-I report uses as a target, you’d have to do that. But what would be the effects on tourism the beach communities rely on? What would happen to our wildlife? What about sanctuaries like the Florida Everglades and thousands of federal wetland acres in Louisiana? Yep, federal and state lands, too.

If you get really serious when legitimately discussing the price at the pump, all of this – and a whole lot more – comes into play. I haven’t even scratched the issue of political decisions – party or otherwise.

When someone like Dr. Gingrich makes the $2 a gallon pitch – then doubles down on it days later – he betrays not only his PhD but his own moral values. He thinks we’re all a bunch of Rubes straight off the turnip truck. He spouts his irresponsible drivel because he undervalues the intelligence of anyone else. Everyone else.

We’ll likely never see $2 dollar-a-gallon gas again. And we’ll certainly never see a President Gingrich.

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