One of the biggest misapprehensions out there regarding U.S. energy policy has to do with what the term “oil reserves” really means. The President has been playing into the fears of those who erroneously believe this country doesn’t have abundant petroleum that can be developed. John Merline at Investor’s Business Daily explains Obama’s core deception on the energy front:
“With only 2% of the world’s oil reserves, we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices,” he said. “Not when we consume 20% of the world’s oil.”
The claim makes it appear as though the U.S. is an oil-barren nation, perpetually dependent on foreign oil and high prices unless we can cut our own use and develop alternative energy sources like algae.
But the figure Obama uses — proved oil reserves — vastly undercounts how much oil the U.S. actually contains. In fact, far from being oil-poor, the country is awash in vast quantities — enough to meet all the country’s oil needs for hundreds of years.
The U.S. has 22.3 billion barrels of proved reserves, a little less than 2% of the entire world’s proved reserves, according to the Energy Information Administration. But as the EIA explains, proved reserves “are a small subset of recoverable resources,” because they only count oil that companies are currently drilling for in existing fields.
Go read the whole thing.
Obama hasn’t politicized this issue, because it was already well politicized by green factions. But lying on their behalf doesn’t help.