We all remember the headlines that came out of last year’s State of the Union address: America is addicted to oil. It’s been a year and the federal government has made little progress in ending our “oil addiction.” But is there even anything the government or the President can do about it? Karen Wayland of the Natural Resources Defense Council and Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute debated the issue on “Morning Call.”
President Bush is expected to discuss America’s oil dependence tonight during his sixth State of the Union address. Ebell worries that Bush is trying to resurrect some of the failed energy policies of the 1970’s. How can our economy have a competitive edge when we’re paying more for our energy, he asks. Ebell also says America’s dependence on Middle Eastern oil is a double-edged sword. Oil-rich Middle Eastern countries are “as beholden to us as we are to them,” and would simply collapse without our economic support, further destabilizing the region.
As for energy efficiency, Wayland says there is a myriad of policies the President could put in place that he has failed to enact. He could increase miles per gallon standards in automobiles and enforce the appliance efficiency standards that the Department of Energy is required to keep. These are just a couple of examples of enactment's that would save consumers money at the gas pump and on their electricity bills, Wayland says. She points to refrigerators as an example of an appliance that was once costly and very energy-inefficient, but thanks to energy standards and ingenuity is now a product that is relatively cheap and very efficient for consumers.