It would take anywhere from one to six years to produce a barrel from the Outer Continental Shelf. That's right, we could realize oil in as little as a year and as far into the future as six years for those really remote reservoirs. These are barrels we need now and will certainly need in the future. These are barrels that currently rest under a drilling moratorium. These are barrels that the next president should release as soon as possible. These are the barrels that will win the election for him.
Deepwater rigs can produce oil in a much shorter time frame than you might be led to believe. And the oil can be much cheaper to produce than the oil trapped in the tar sands of Canada or the shale of our own Western states, and even the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Therefore, cheaper all the way down the pipeline, culminating in the gas tank of your nearest SUV. I truly hope we all start to drive vehicles with better fuel economy. I am turning in my Range Rover for a higher mpg vehicle next month.
We can "drill" shale in several protected land-bound areas of Montana, Colorado, and Louisiana. There may be as many as several hundred billion barrels of oil trapped in those areas. Although tougher to refine into usable oil than into gasoline, they are available to us nonetheless.
There is no doubt that we should begin aggressive means to address the demand side of the equation as well. We absolutely must change our habits. Americans are smart. Our driving habits are changing as we speak. I told you of the busy car dealership I saw in Los Angeles last weekend. The Smart Car is a joint venture between the people at the French watchmaker
. This car gets from 35 to 45 mpg depending on the way you drive it. And they are just months away from a hybrid version -- all for about $11,000.