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Should the government help oil production?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/9/2013 Category: Economics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 511 times Debate No: 41943
Debate Rounds (3)
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The Federal Oil and Natural Gas Agency
Key Goals: Regulate the importation and exportation of oil and natural gas. Help make the US self sufficient by using its own oil and slowly winding down imports. Help lower the cost of gas for citizens.
Why? The US imports about 3.8 billion barrels of oil per year. It is estimated taht we have around 240 billion barrels of undrilled oil here in the US. If we stop importation and start our own drilling we can stop useless spending This will also aid our economy by lowering gas prices and creating jobs.

So basicly the government creates an agency trying to convert the US to it's own oil.


While the United States my import, as you say, 3.8 billion dollars in crude oil a year from other nations, the source of said oil isn't as much of a threat to national security and energy independence as you may feel it to be as the majority of our oil comes from the United States (38.8%), followed by Canada (15.1%), then Saudi Arabia (8.1%) [1], both Canada and Saudi Arabia are military allies of the United States, presenting no direct threat to the nation's security.

Your argument that the United States needs to produce more of it's own fuel, yet the same country exported 1.43 million barrels of oil a day in 2007 [2]. Using these numbers as a reference, 1.43 million barrels of oil a day for 365 days a year, this comes out to 521.95 million barrels of oil exported by the United States in 2007, best case scenario of course. In 2012, 108 billion dollars of "Petroleum Refines," or fuel was exported by the United States [3], this was the largest single export of that year. It's not that the United States doesn't drill enough oil, but rather, that the United States refines exports it's oil as either sulfur rich diesel, gasoline, or as raw crude.

Why don't the oil companies keep the oil in the nation and lower gas prices and "create jobs"? Because of a fundamental part of capitalism, the profit incentive. An oil company can make more money exporting fuel to say a European nation than keeping it in the United States. As for helping the economy by lowering gas prices, yes having more disposable income can give a boast to the economy, but there is more affecting the price of gasoline than amount of available oil. Currently the average fuel economy for a new car in 2013 is 24.9 mpg [4] and the average price of gas (as of 12:00pm EST, December 9, 2013) sits at $3.28 [5]. Using another best case scenario, assuming that someone who travels 40 miles to their job and 40 miles back five days a week, and has a care with an 18 gallon tank (an average sized gas tank [6]). With these numbers, a full tank of gas costs $59.04 and will need to be refilled every five and a half days. Even if the price fell to $3.00 a gallon. The price of a tank of gas would be $54.00, still not a large enough change to make a huge difference in available spending money. On the topic of job creation, the jobs created by adding more wells to the United States would not be long term, once the well dries, the people working it are either forced to move with the work or look for a new carrier, also, if even with more oil available of refineries, oil companies aren't building new refineries as EPA regulations make it "too costly" meaning that oil would still be refined at the same or similar rates.

With the statistics presented, there isn't a very clear economic or social benefit to having more oil drilled in the United States, but rather, it may result in a lower GDP as less would be made from exports. That creation of an entirely new agency would also cause some major issues as taxpayer money would be needed to fund said extension of the federal government. The only way such funds could be secured would be either from raising taxes, lowering other expenditures, or a combination thereof.

Indirectly, the United States government gives oil companies a 4 billion dollar annual tax subside [7], not an insignificant sum by any means. That money could be used for such an agency, but the need for such seems trivial. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency already oversee energy production and distribution, creating another branch of bureaucracy seems unnecessary for this cause as oil companies don't need federal support to drill and/or refine oil.

Another flaw I find in moving to energy independence via fossil fuels is in the very nature of fossil fuels, they are finite. Using the unsourced numbers you gave in your introduction and information for the United States Energy Information Administration, we can calculate how long undrilled oil will last the United States if it is the soul sorce of petroleum. the EIA states that the United States used 6.87 billon barrels of oil in 2011 [8], assuming usage rate has zero change, the 240 billon barrels of oil which you state are estimated to be benieth are feet will at best last 35 years, less than the average human lifespan in the United States (78 years).

Putting so much effort into fossil fuels in the name of "energy independce" and the economy is short sided and has a long term side effect of depleating all fossil fuels, while causeing serious enviromental issues that make the metioned arguments useless for anything longterm. Perhaps instead of focausing on an agency to aid the production of US petrolium, a better agency to demand would be one that looks for sustainable, renewable, cleaner forms of energy rather than outdated sources leftover from incomplete decay of prehistoric plants and animals.

The sun is projected to last at least another 50 billon years. The sun can grant us renewable energy in forms of both solar and wind and is not only a much more long term answer to energy independece, but also to the longevity of human habitation on earth.

Debate Round No. 1


The average income of a family of four that is in poverty is about $23,000. The EIA 2011's estimated price for a gallon of gas was $3.70 and the average amount of money spent on gas is about $4,300. This is a huge impact on both lower and middle class company's. We shouldn't rely on another nation to produce our energy especially considering that global events allow oil prices to rise. We import about 55% of our Oil from OPEC countries and 29% from Persian Gulf countries relying on socially and economically unstable countries and also considering the fact that some of them aren't very fond of the US. If we produce more domestic oil we will not just be aiding the US economy but also the people. The oil and natural gas industry make up about $1 Trillion dollars (Or 7% of the US GDP) to the US economy and could have the opportunity to increase. The industry also provides 9.8 million jobs to American citizens. The government agencies main goals shouldn't be just trying to use domesticated Oil and Natural gas but maybe just try to become Energy Independent so I will give you that one, the problem is we cannot just convert a Fossil Fuel based economy to self sustainable energy, especially with this fragile economy. Oil, Natural Gas, Coal, and Nuclear Power make up 77% of the US Energy. We rely too much right now on fossil fuels which is a lot cheaper and more efficient to just convert to Renewable Energy. Going to "Green Energy" isn't so green considering to make solar panels requires highly toxic chemicals and then dumped into rivers. This government agency would be long term in America's best interests considering it will aid the economy, create jobs, add government regulation and lower gas prices.



Taylor.Gregory forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2


Mikefromaccounting forfeited this round.


Seeing how most of this debate has been of given up rounds, I'll close it this way. Your idea is okay, but you begin tampering with market economics. If you want true, long term, energy independence, a nation like the United States would need to pursue renewable sources of energy. As for an agency that would aid the private sector with federal support, such already exists in the form of the Department of Energy. Creating an entirely new entitiy would simply be a waste of funds.
Debate Round No. 3
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