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Isn't it clear that energy efficiency is the only answer?

Written by Susan Mannella on .

Ten miles long and three miles wide.

That was the estimate earlier this week of the size of the plume of oil hovering beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. I'm sure this is the sequel to "2012." When will it rear its ugly head and blotch out the Florida Everglades or the Keys?

Regardless, one thing I've known for a long time is that "drill, baby, drill" isn't the answer. It never was.

The reason is that the United States controls only a meager 2 percent of the world's oil reserve. That's 2 percent for the unwashed masses of slow readers or Sister Sarah, who only needed to look south, instead of trying to find Russia from her back window.

What she would have seen is the everlasting remnants of the Exxon Valdez. Oil is still washing ashore 15 years post-disaster. And as disasters go, the Exxon Valdez was a mere hiccup compared to what is being regurgitated in the Gulf by BP.

So let me be more concise. With the United States having only 2 percent of the world's oil, we cannot affect the price of gasoline. Simple as that. If you pumped out all of our oil reserve, every last drop, it would affect the price of gasoline at the pump by three cents. That's right. Three cents!

Now, inversely proportional to this is that if by 2020, when maybe the current oil spill is under control, we can have our vehicles getting 35 mpg or better, we could in effect change the price of gasoline at the pump by $1.

Our energies would best be spent on increasing our vehicle gasoline efficiency, rather than drilling for oil. In turn, and as we are witnessing, ocean drilling can only hurt our seafood industry, tourism, boating and other related industries that benefit from a clean environment.

TOM ZENI
Washington, Pa.

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