New offshore drilling would amount to roughly 1 percent of demand

As the scramble continues to plug the oil gusher a mile deep in the Gulf of Mexico — and as Senate Democrats promote their long-awaited proposal designed to tackle climate change — Al Gore offers a cogent reminder that the oil derived by expanding offshore drilling would be a drop in the bucket relative to America’s demand for the stuff.

Writing in The New Republic, the former vice president blasts the idea that offshore drilling would lead the country to energy independence, calling that notion an “illusion.”

“The addition to oil company profits may be significant, but the benefits to our national security are trivial,” he wrote. The image he included — based on Energy Department data — tells the tale more convincingly:

Translation: By 2030, the country will be slurping up 16.6 million barrels of oil per day, and only 200,000 (or 1.2 percent) will come from expanded offshore drilling.

If that’s not convincing enough, the Bush administration’s Energy Information Administration has reported that expanding offshore drilling “would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030.”

This is what the fight is about?

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