But who's really out of touch? The Bush Administration estimates that expanded offshore drilling could increase oil production by 200,000 bbl. per day by 2030. We use about 20 million bbl. per day, so that would meet about 1% of our demand two decades from now. Meanwhile, efficiency experts say that keeping tires inflated can improve gas mileage 3%, and regular maintenance can add another 4%. Many drivers already follow their advice, but if everyone did, we could immediately reduce demand several percentage points. In other words: Obama is right.But then Big Oil isn't paying Bush and McCain to save oil, are they?
In fact, Obama's actual energy plan is much more than a tire gauge. But that's not what's so pernicious about the tire-gauge attacks. Politics ain't beanbag, and Obama has defended himself against worse smears. The real problem with the attacks on his tire-gauge plan is that efforts to improve conservation and efficiency happen to be the best approaches to dealing with the energy crisis — the cheapest, cleanest, quickest and easiest ways to ease our addiction to oil, reduce our pain at the pump and address global warming. It's a pretty simple concept: if our use of fossil fuels is increasing our reliance on Middle Eastern dictators while destroying the planet, maybe we ought to use less.
Message, message, message. Obama needs to keep hitting this hard. Republicans push their talking points relentlessly and as a result, they sink in to the publics psyche. This is a double win for Dems. First, the GOP response to this simple conservation really does show how deeply they are in the pocket to big oil. Second, these simply measures can greatly reduce national oil consumption with less lifestyle pain.
But the GOP will keep hitting this hard to make a mockery of Obama. He needs to hit back hard and turn the tables.