Without Info on Oil Price Non-Effect, Offshore Drilling Reports Are Just Gas

Implicit in much coverage of the offshore drilling debate is that such oil has the potential to lower gasoline prices. The L.A. Times‘ report (3/30/10) on the Obama administration’s new offshore drilling plan provided this context:

The announcement will come in the run-up to summer driving season, as gasoline prices have begun a national march toward $3 a gallon, and beyond that in California…. Energy companies and conservatives have clamored for increased drilling since gasoline prices spiked during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Like virtually all offshore-drilling coverage (CEPR, 9/08), the L.A. Times doesn’t note that drilling in coastal areas will have only the most minimal impact on the price of gasoline–and even that trivial impact would be a decade away. According to the federal Energy Information Administration, considered the authoritative source on energy, opening up the entire continental shelf of the lower 48 states would have virtually no effect on all on crude prices: “Because oil prices are determined on the international market, however, any impact on average wellhead prices is expected to be insignificant.” This information ought to be included in every report on offshore drilling.

See Extra! Update: “Failing to Do the Math on Oil: Support for Offshore Drilling Increases Following Media Misinformation” (8/08) by Hannah Dreier.

About Jim Naureckas

Extra! Magazine Editor Since 1990, Jim Naureckas has been the editor of Extra!, FAIR's monthly journal of media criticism. He is the co-author of The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, and co-editor of The FAIR Reader: An Extra! Review of Press and Politics in the '90s. He is also the co-manager of FAIR's website. He has worked as an investigative reporter for the newspaper In These Times, where he covered the Iran-Contra scandal, and was managing editor of the Washington Report on the Hemisphere, a newsletter on Latin America. Jim was born in Libertyville, Illinois, in 1964, and graduated from Stanford University in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in political science. Since 1997 he has been married to Janine Jackson, FAIR's program director. You can follow Jim on Twitter at @JNaureckas.