First I was greatly relieved to hear that Governor Palin has the foreign policy experience to be Vice President of the United States because Alaska is next door to Russia. And then I find out that she understands energy better than anyone in Washington, D.C. because Alaska produces oil. You’d think then, because Alaska is the "poster state for global warming", that she’d be an expert on that, too. But apparently not.
So, just how much of an expert on energy is Governor Palin? Some of her recent comments kind of make you wonder…
Of course, it’s a fungible commodity and they don’t flag, you know, the molecules, where it’s going and where it’s not. But in the sense of the Congress today, they know that there are very, very hungry domestic markets that need that oil first. So, I believe that what Congress is going to do, also, is not to allow the export bans to such a degree that it’s Americans who get stuck holding the bag without the energy source that is produced here, pumped here. It’s got to flow into our domestic markets first.
Like many other people, I have a hard time following this statement. But I’m pretty sure she’s saying that Congress should call for a ban on oil exports. Which, frankly, is both amusing for its lack of understanding about our country’s actual imports vs. exports and frightening for its implications, if she’s serious and were able to actually advance this policy. I can’t express either any better than this post on the Washington Monthly blog, so I won’t:
Who do we presently export oil to? Well: in 2007, the two main recipients of our oil were Mexico and Canada, who between them received some 170,716,000 barrels of what the Energy Information Administration calls "petroleum and products." That’s nearly a third of our exports. But guess what? When you look at the analogous table of imports, who turns up in first and second place? Canada and Mexico again! They sold us 1,455,280,000 barrels between them in 2007, or about eight and a half times as much as we sold them. If you check crude oil alone, it turns out that all our exports in 2007 went to Canada, which was also our number one supplier, selling us nearly seventy times as much crude oil as we sold the Canadians…
Do you think that they would keep on selling us all that oil if we unilaterally stopped selling oil to them? Maybe they would, and maybe they wouldn’t. Do you think Sarah Palin knows the answer? I hope so. It would be pretty strange for the nation’s foremost expert on energy to come out in favor of an embargo without knowing whether or not it would cost us nearly 1.3 billion barrels of "petroleum and products" a
dayyear (oops), including about 19% of our total crude oil imports. Annoying our neighbors so much that they cut off our oil supplies would, I suppose, be one way of helping us achieve energy independence, but it doesn’t seem like a particularly good idea.
Watch the video to see for yourself: