Note that the price of oil has come down significantly but gas prices haven't.
RCP The prospect of significant new petroleum resources that could be available so soon would be excellent news -- aside from the obvious impact of burning still more oil -- if only what the senator said was true. But what he said actually made no sense whatsoever, as a statement about the future development of domestic oil, the alleged need to increase drilling off our coasts or the resources that such drilling might produce. So let's unpack that McCain statement (which was overshadowed by the news that his dermatologist had just removed a small lesion from the 71-year-old melanoma survivor's right cheek).
It may be true that "existing rigs" could produce additional barrels of domestic oil immediately, whether on land or in the ocean, as Sen. McCain suggests. If so, he might want to ask his friends in the oil business why those rigs aren't producing more oil now, at prices above $120 a barrel. An existing rig by definition is a rig that is operating legally on property already leased for exploration -- and can produce oil unencumbered by any environmental constraints on drilling. In case the senator doesn't understand, an existing rig is where someone has already drilled a well.
Where companies would have to install new rigs, the question is whether a lease already exists or whether the government would have to grant a new lease. New drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf would mean new leases that are now illegal.
But as the Associated Press reported last month, nearly 75 percent of the existing leases on federal lands held by petroleum companies are currently producing no oil. Those companies today hold nearly 30 million acres dormant, according to the AP. Nobody in the federal government even knows whether any exploration has taken place over the past decade.
Did you catch the news of republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska now being accused of accepting lavish gifts from oil companies? Where do oil companies want to drill? Alaska!
Who's pushing drilling? Bush McCain. The Bush-Cheney administration was all about oil.