Friday, August 08, 2008

In Defence of Barry Obama #1

The right wing are having a field day with something Barack Obama said, while addressing a crowd of voters on the subject of high fuel prices.

The conservatives are demanding they drill for oil in the Alaskan nature reserves. Obama objected to this, saying that America could 'save' just as much energy as they'd pump from Alaska.

"There are things you can do individually, though, to save energy. Making sure your tires are properly inflated — simple thing. But we could save all the oil that they’re talking about getting off drilling [in Alaska]— if everybody was just inflating their tires? And getting regular tune-ups? You’d actually save just as much!"

People have hammered Obama for this statement - the McCain camp even going so far as to send out tyre gauges with 'Obama's Energy Strategy' printed on them.

But actually, from personal experience I know Obama's got a point. Back in May, I improved my Firebird's fuel consumption from a thirsty 13.5 mpg to 15 mpg (sometimes going as high as 16.5 mpg) just by inflating my tyres and cleaning the air filter. That gave me an instant 10% improvement in gas mileage.

Now, it would be utterly ridiculous to imagine that every car in America (all 143 million of them) would share my results - but imagine if they did! America currently chugs down 21 million barrels of oil every single day. A 10% reduction would equal 2.1 million barrels a day.

The United States Department of Energy estimates that Alaska's oil potential is only 750,000 barrels a day at best (and we'd have to wait until 2018 to actually see any of 'em.) Which means that Barack Obama's statement is actually accurate.

Of course, nobody's thinking we can solve America's dependence on foriegn oil by pumping up our tyres - but it might go further (a LOT further) than spending money drilling in Alaska.

1 comment:

Expatmum said...

Having just come back from a month in England i was very impressed by how much more people are doing over there to save energy (and costs) than anything that's happening here. Even little things like everyone now takes about 25 old plastic bags with them when they go shopping. Here (USA) it's as if there's no crisis at all. Why ccan't people just try Obama's suggestion first instead of poo-pooing it or even calling it idealistic.