BUT, if we'd done this ten years ago instead of allowing environmentalist nut cases to stop drilling, would we not be in a more enviable position now?
Fine! Let's develop the alternatives. But, we also have to ramp up exploration AND we must pump the capped off wells we have. There's no question that oil companies are sitting on vast reserves that are already drilled and capped.
Now we would be setting on a 10 year supply of oil, which would be OK but then we would have to address the new technology at the same time.
Plus, we don't know what the costs of all that drilling and exploring would have added to the aggregate so we may or may not have still been at $4.00 oil. Remember the driving force of the increase is DEMAND, and China, India and other developing countries are driving that, along with our 20 Million Barrels a day.
No one has ever said we don't address the 80% of leases that have already been let, explored and capped. They might make a little difference but they are not going to impact the pump price. Only reduction of DEMAND is going to help pump price from gong UP. VERY simple economics.
As for if we had done this 10 years ago would be be in a more enviable position now? We would be in a DIFFERENT position.
If we want to look in the past, the three most definitive things that we could have done 10 years ago to put us in a more enviable position now would have been to 1) Raise CAFE Standards as was legislated in 2000 [they were "held" 2) Not Invade Iraq in 2003 and 3) actually have developed an Alternative Energy Program for our Transportation Requirements for the 21st Century.
We were too busy making "does that thing have a Hemi?" commercials.
With those three simple Political and Corporate steps, in the past decade, this conversation would be moot. That oil could stay in the ground forever or be used for the the millions of other things that oil is used for instead of internal combustion engines. And the odds are very high that we would be paying around $2.50-3.00 for gas right now based on historical trends, not commodity spikes.