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Jody Clarke, 202.331.2252
Washington, D.C., June 16, 2003—The Competitive Enterprise Institute commends Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) for having the courage to vote against an amendment to the energy bill to reduce U.S. oil consumption by one million barrels a day. Kyl was the only senator to vote against the amendment last week, which was sponsored by Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA).
“Senator Kyl deserves praise for his courage to challenge the myth that oil imports harm consumers and imperil <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />U.S. security, and that petroleum independence is a desirable and feasible goal of U.S. energy policy,” says Marlo Lewis, senior fellow at CEI. “Oil imports are good for consumers. It costs about 80 cents to lift a barrel of oil in Saudi Arabia, compared to about $10 a barrel in the United States. America—and the world—would be a much poorer place if all the oil came from high-cost producers like the U.S.”
The Landrieu amendment would barely slow the growth in oil imports, but Lewis points out that any success in reducing petroleum imports would not make America any less vulnerable to oil price shocks when war or civil conflict curtails oil shipments from abroad. Oil is a global commodity, with global market prices.
“Even if America got all its oil from Louisiana,” explains Lewis, “conflict in the Middle East would raise gasoline prices just as much as if all our oil came from Iraq. In 1979, Britain got all its oil from the North Sea, yet the price spike from the Iranian Revolution hit Britain as hard as it hit Japan, a country totally dependent on petroleum imports.”
CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.