Pain At The Pump: Off Shore Drilling

Would drilling our own resources really help lower gas prices?

While the debate continues in Washington, Texas Governor Rick Perry is supporting U.S. off shore drilling, along with President Bush, but it's still deadlocked in Congress.

Thursday, KLTV 7 News' Courtney Lane spoke to a local economic expert to see if this would really save you at the pump.

Enviromentalists argue that offshore drilling could destroy some of our most pristine habits. But filling up is hurting drivers somuch that President Bush wants Congress to lift the federal drilling ban.

"There's no excuse for delay," the President said earlier this week. "As a matter of fact, it's a reason to move swiftly."

But, according to a local economic expert, that move would be a slow process.

"We would have to lease the actual land, we have to drill and we have to take it to market. Which they predict we wouldn't be able to access that oil until 2030, so this is a short-term solution," explains Dr. Guillermo Covarrubias, an assistant Professor of Economics at UT Tyler.

However, some think the move would drive down prices much faster than that, because overseas suppliers would want to compete.

"It's possible that we could see a shift in the price of gasoline today, as a result of U.S. policy to expand domestic production in the future. Markets work this way all the time," says Severin Borenstein, director at the UC Energy Institute.

"It's probably an amount that most American consumers wouldn't even notice making any difference. I think a good long-term policy should rely on more conservation."

And while lawmakers try to come up with a solution to our pain at the pump, Dr. Covarrubias says if anything, the higher prices do cause some healthier lifestyle changes.

"More efficient vehicles, public transportation - and we saw that China today took measures to decrease their demand of oil by increasing prices."

Once word broke today of China's plan to raise their gas prices, the price of oil fell nearly $5.00 a barrel in the U.S. markets.

Courtney Lane, Reporting