The idea of offshore drilling is on everyone’s mind, but are President Bush and John McCain’s calls to start drilling off the coast of Florida and in wildlife reserves in Alaska going to help us save at the pump?

Stephen Colbert said on his show the other night: “When I first started paying $4/gallon for gas, I didn’t mind, I thought I was just getting better gas.” Being the king of satire, Colbert ‘sided’ with the offshore drilling proponents, mostly because he hates bears.

But all kidding aside, the plan will not lower gas prices for at least 15 – 30 years. Even if both coasts, including every offshore site in California, New Jersey, and Virginia were also opened up to the oil companies, we wouldn’t see ‘cheaper oil’ anytime soon. So why do they keep proposing it as the money saving venture we need to do?

I don’t want to delve too much into conspiracy theories or political rants, but many people are left wondering if these ‘offshore proposals’ are meant to appease oil companies eager to get more sites before Bush peaces out for good.

The honest truth of the matter can be explained succinctly by Brian Kennedy, Senior Vice President at the Institute for Energy Research, a not-for-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. In an interview with MainStreet he says increased domestic oil drilling is a long way off from lowering our gas prices. Even if it does happen, we may only see a few cents dropped off the price of a gallon. And that’s not for at least a few decades, imagine what the prices will be at that point.

One NY Times editorial even attempts to explain how the oil companies already have 68 billion acres of land with oil that they just aren’t using, including other drill-able areas in the Gulf of Mexico and in the non-wildlife protected zones of Alaska.

The only clear solution, which Obama has been trumpeting, is to put the money into non-oil based technologies like greener alternatives and larger electricity grids for electric cars. But as eloquent and pro-active as Obama is, we still won’t be able to shake the oil habit anytime soon. High gas prices are for Americans have become the new reality. But if you think we’re complaining, take a look over at Europe.

Can McCain come up with some feasible options besides do-nothing gas tax holidays and ineffective domestic drilling proposals? I hope so.

Everyone loves a good old fashioned WallStreetFighter ‘gas and oil prices’ post. Show your love/hate in the comments section. As if you need to be told to…

MainStreet: Drilling OffShore, June 20, 2008
Care2: Lowering Oil Prices?, June 19, 2008
AP: Obama criticizes McCain on Offshore Drilling, June 21, 2008