We cannot drill our way out of the current crisis of higher gasoline prices. Why? It is a simple matter of supply and demand. While the supply of oil is finite, the demand for oil is ever expanding. No matter how many holes we drill, we will never catch up to the global demand for oil-based motor fuels as they are currently used.
Trying to drill our way out of this crisis is a little like chasing the Sun on a bicycle: you can pedal all you want and you may even feel like you are making a little forward progress, but the Sun will inevitably pull away from you. The demand for oil will inevitably pull away from the supply, and the more the gap between supply and demand widens, the higher the price of gasoline will go. We cannot address this crisis on the supply side of the equation because the available supply--even if we were to drill as many holes as we could--is both finite and insufficient. The more we consume, the more insufficient it becomes, and the higher the price of gasoline will go.
The only way to solve this problem is by addressing the demand side of the equation. We must find ways to dramatically decrease our consumption of oil. The less oil we use, the less oil will cost. If we use almost no oil, oil will have almost no value. How do we achieve this? New technologies.
We are already getting close to solutions to this problem. Plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are two promising possible solutions. If we can figure out how to mass produce hybrid vehicles powered by batteries for their first 200 miles, we could almost completely eliminate gasoline as a motor fuel. Most car trips are relatively short trips like a commute to work or shopping center. Batteries could be recharged with electricity generated by coal, nuclear, hydroelectric, geothermal, solar, wind or some other technology yet to be invented. The United States has access to all these sources of power.
The other possible technological solution I mentioned, the hydrogen fuel cell, is extremely promising for one reason that ordinary Americans would do well the consider: the technological problems associated with fuel cells are almost entirely concerned with the fuel cells themselves and not with the fuel source!
Hydrogen is everywhere and the technology for extracting it from our environment is relatively simple. Gasoline is extracted from crude oil, which is rare and therefore expensive (supply and demand again). Hydrogen can be extracted from water and water is everywhere, covering three-quarters of the Earth's surface, and is cheap, cheap, cheap. In fact, the stuff falls out of the sky as rain, free of charge. When you use gasoline as fuel it is gone for good, becoming more and more scarce and therefore more and more expensive. When you use hydrogen in a fuel cell, it becomes water again. The same hydrogen molecules, the "H2" in H2O, can be used over and over and over again. Hydrogen will never become scarce: you cannot corner the market on hydrogen.
The oil companies that own the Republican Party know these facts and hate them. You can corner the market on oil precisely because it is scarce. There is more than enough hydrogen to go around and we'll never run out because it isn't destroyed when it is used in a fuel cell. Again, something every American should consider: you cannot corner the market on hydrogen.
The geopolitical impact of shifting our economy to some combination of plug-in hybrid and hydrogen technology could be paradigm shifting. How would our enemies fund terrorism if oil was nearly worthless? Why would we need to involve ourselves in certain areas of the world if we had no need for foreign sources of oil? How would our enemies pay for the development of nuclear weapons if the price of oil suddenly fell from $140 a barrel to $14? What would our economy be like if the money drained out of it by the need to import oil could be directed to some other kind of investment?
The Republican plan to drill a way out of the current energy crisis will fail. The more time we spend pursuing such a doomed plan simply delays the implementation of a solution to the problem and further depletes our economic resources. The Republican Party has shown that it is the wrong party to lead our nation on energy policy because it lacks the vision to seek innovative solutions and because it is too beholden to the oil industry which has a vested interest in our not seeking permanent solutions to our current energy crisis. Oil companies don't want a solution to this problem: a solution to this problem would end their business model as they now know it.
It is a simple matter of supply and demand.