How Much Oil Under Arctic Refuge? Drilling Proponents Wildly Off

How much oil sits under the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? An informal survey shows many of those yelling “drill baby drill” the loudest have very little idea.

FrumForum interviewed 57 people at a Tea Party rally on Capitol Hill this week. As Tim Mak writes, “Conventional estimates suggest that ANWR holds about a year’s supply of oil, based on the CIA’s estimate of oil consumption.” Just one year’s worth of oil — and that’s only for America, not rest of our increasingly energy-thirst planet.

So what do the results of the interviews show? Not a single one of the Tea Partiers interviewed got the question right — with closest answer still doubling the actual amount of oil under the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge — and the worst overestimating the amount of oil by one thousand times:


Mak concludes, “ANWR has become the cure-all for the United States’ growing energy requirements –- except neither are sustainable solutions for the future.”

Even under the most optimistic scenarios, drilling in all of our wilderness areas desired by Big Oil combined would only mean a 4-5 cent reduction in the price of a gallon of gasoline by 2025. Meanwhile, clean energy & climate legislation would save Americans $180 billion through 2030 in foreign oil costs — four times more effective at reducing oil imports than drilling. Learn more in the National Wildlife Federation’s 2008 Don’t Be Fooled fact sheet.

Photo via Flickr’s TheWildernessSociety

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Published: March 21, 2010