07/30/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Facts and Lies about Lowering Oil Prices

Why do 67 percent of Americans favor drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf? According to Rasmussen Reports, 64 percent expect it will lower gas prices. But according to the Department of Energy's Energy Information administration, whatever insignificant impact such drilling might have won't happen until 2030, if ever. So where did two-thirds of the public get such a misguided impression? The same place 70 percent of the public got the impression that Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11. They got it from the spout of lies coming from the Bush Administration and other conservatives bent on feeding profits to Big Oil at the expense of consumers at the pumps and global climate change.

Conservatives continue to peddle a program to lease 65 million acres of the Outer Continental Shelf to oil companies with a sack full of lies. They tell us that China is already drilling off the coast of Cuba. That's a lie started by George Will, repeated by Vice President Cheney, corrected by Will, yet still repeated by Fox News, infecting the public mind.

They tell us that drilling offshore is safe, as evidenced by the "fact" that there were no spills during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Another lie! Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused significant amounts of oil spills.

President Bush tells us that he has no "magic wand" to lower gas prices; that there is no immediate fix. That, too, is a lie. President Bush, himself, used the Strategic Petroleum Reserve following Hurricane Katrina to lower gas prices.

SPR oil used to lower oil prices during Hurrican Katrina

and his father did it in 1991 during Operation Desert Storm.

SPR used to lower oil prices during Gulf War

Congress will be voting this week on using the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to lower fuel prices again. They will also consider what to do with the $7 billion profits we will get from the sale. That money should be invested in medium- and long-term programs to help us transition to a low carbon economy. Simply put, by selling just 50 million barrels of the 706 million barrels in the reserve, oil that belongs to the taxpayers, we can lower oil prices, raise funds for investment into green energy solutions, and rein in speculators, all without adversely affecting our energy security.

The Center for American Progress recommended selling oil from the reserve earlier this summer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) took up the reins of this policy earlier this month. The Center for American Progress Action Fund launched an online advocacy campaign this week called Real Energy Solutions in support of Speaker Pelosi's efforts to sell off a small amount of the reserve to help lower oil prices. In addition to asking activists to email Congress in support of the proposal, it is launching an Energy Truth Squad on Facebook, asking activists to help expose more of the lies being used to thwart efforts to transition to a low carbon economy.

The bottom line is that when it comes to determining who you can trust to provide the truth about addressing runaway oil prices and breaking our addiction to oil, Big Oil and its conservative allies ain't it. Big Oil makes more money when prices go up and that money is nicely spread among its allies in Congress and on ads run during its favorite TV news shows. Trusting these guys is like trusting your neighborhood pusher. Don't do it. See through the lies and straight into real energy solutions.