Will McCain or Obama help us write the obituary for our dependence on foreign oil? Both are proposing they will.
“Elimination of our dependence on foreign oil is a fundamental key to us restoring our economy, creating millions of jobs and also ensuring that America is secure and not dependent on oil from people like Hugo Chavez or other parts of the Middle East, which as we know, could be destabilized under certain sets of circumstances,” John McCain said during a campaign stop in Iowa. McCain adamantly supports lifting the ban on drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf and he wants to give the decision making power to the states; each state should decide if they want to allow drilling off their shores according to McCain.
Barack Obama is less clear on the offshore oil drilling issue in my opinion. He says he wants to allow it but isn’t making a clear commitment for it. He repeatedly claims offshore oil drilling won’t help lower gas prices for years, which is a weak argument – no new energy alternative will quickly lower gas prices either. And, lowering gas prices isn’t the issue; decreasing demand is and the higher price of gas lowers demand. We all know that decreasing gas prices increases demand and the popularity of gas-guzzling SUVs during the past two decades is a clear indication of this fact. Obama also states he wants any offshore drilling to be part of a comprehensive energy plan. Clearly, we all want a comprehensive energy plan that includes alternative energy supplies.
To lower our demand on foreign oil supplies, McCain is proposing a $5,000 tax credit for each citizen that buys a zero emissions car. Obama is setting a goal of one million plug-in hybrid cars to be on the road by 2015. Obama also wants to offer tax credits to automobile manufacturers to retool their plants to produce fuel-efficient cars; he is proposing tax credits of up to $7,000 to consumers who buy them.
With respect to nuclear energy, McCain is clear; he has proposed building 45 nuclear plants by 2030 and ultimately, 100 new plants. Once again, Obama isn’t as clear on this issue either – he says the country should explore nuclear energy as part of the energy mix, but has expressed concerns about the storage of nuclear waste. We are, and have been for decades, concerned about the storage of nuclear waste. What’s Obama’s proposed solution for nuclear waste storage? Or McCains?