Chevron Corportion

Record shows offshore drilling no panacea

By Thomas D. Elias

Open the California coast and the offshore waters of Florida and the Carolinas to new oil drilling and prices at the pump will drop, contends Republican presidential candidate John McCain. And Democratic rival Barack Obama soon after eases his opposition to offshore drilling, with the same hope.

All this despite warnings from the federal Energy Information Agency that even wide open offshore drilling wouldn't influence gas prices for at least 10 years.

Meanwhile, the reality of oil refining on the West Coast over the last 20 years makes it plain that producing new oil off California will probably never impact pump prices significantly. That's because...