In response to the recent crisis in Egypt, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee said today that the situation should accelerate the US’s efforts to reduce foreign oil imports. Pushing the message further was Republican Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) with her belief that the rising tensions in Egypt should press the United States further in pursuing a domestic energy policy “that promotes all forms of energy.” While it seems that the news is spurring on a clean energy agenda that we support, we think it’s sad that it takes violent disturbances like these to do so.
Oil prices have risen by more than 25 percent since September, though Jim Burkhard, managing director of the Cambridge Energy Research Associates, told Politico that it was mostly related to the increase in demand from China and other developing countries. But reports that the U.S. government may be pressuring Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to resign, also caused prices to fall slightly on Friday.
The reason prices are in such flux is believed to be related to the region, where Egypt controls the Suez Canal and another pipeline that, together, carry about 2 million barrels of day from the Middle East to the west. And while that’s a relatively small number compare to the 87 million barrels of oil used everyday, the worry is that the unrest could move to other OPEC countries. Democrat committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman added that while the turmoil won’t necessarily lead to a long term disruption in oil production, it does reveal how vulnerable our oil supply is to world politics.
WHY THIS MATTERS:
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is right that the Egyptian unrest should lead us to reconsider our dependence on foreign oil but the answer isn’t to drill more domestically. We need to put more money into alternative-fuel sources, so we’re not dependent on oil in the first place.