South Dakota To Build First New Oil Refinery in 32 years

South Dakota residents should be proud of themselves. In a time when Washington, D.C. offers no solutions and double-talking politicians complain about gas prices while blocking any effort to drill domestically, South Dakota comes through with a solution. Build a big new refinery and force more domestic drilling!


Now, nothing has happened yet and the enviro-wackos have yet to swoop in and conveniently find some endangered field mouse in Union County, but 3,292 acres have been rezoned to build the nation’s first new oil refinery since 1976. That’s right. The environmental movement has been successful in blocking any new domestic refineries for that long.

Can anyone say high gas prices?

The same people that complain that we need to wean this country off foreign oil are the same ones that block any effort to drill. Just where are we supposed to get our oil from? NOWHERE! That is the million dollar answer. We aren’t supposed to get oil….we’re supposed to slink back to the days of cart and buggy and the wild west. People who oppose domestic drilling (i.e Democrats) aren’t interested in real solutions and block any effort to fix our problems.

What would drilling for domestic oil do? It would have an immediate impact in that it would send a message to OPEC nations that we are tired of the prices and we can get our own oil. Right now, we’re completely at the mercy of them. If we start drilling, those same nations aren’t going to want to lose our business. Prices will fall, while great companies like General Motors and Ford will continue to develop technologies that will utilize gas better than it is now. However, these things take time and there is clear public support for new types of energy.

So, congratulations to South Dakota for coming up with a solution to high gas prices, rather than playing politics and just complaining about the problem.

If you’re interested in sending a message to Washington to start drilling now, Newt Gingrich has championed an effort to get them to start. Click here if you’re interested.


6 Responses

  1. What if there were a compromise put forward? Say, (a stretch) the Democrats allowed offshore oil drilling and what not (if states approved of it, of course) for a certain period of time, say 10 to 15 years. That way the limited reserves we have aren’t completely tapped out with maximum drilling, but prices at the pump come down.

    And, then say, the Republicans (also a stretch) agreed that the only way this would be implemented was if fuel standards were drastically increased (already the new standards have been met by existing technologies with a few tweaks to a transmission) and viable other fuels and technologies were vigorously pursued?

    Isn’t this the best of both worlds? Gas prices theoretically come down and new technologies are theoretically developed. Then, when you have two competing fuel sources let the consumers decide which ones they want to drive.

    Politics is no place for ideologues on either side. For better or worse, perhaps, its time for some utilitarian politicians rather than moral (left or right) ones.

    Just thoughts.

  2. I think everyone (including Republicans/Conservatives) are for higher fuel efficiency vehicles. The question is how do we get there?

    I think that many on the left think that mandating ridiculous fuel standards in the next 5-10 years is plausible. I also think those same people believe that those of us on the right want to drive 8 mpg SUVs forever.

    I’m all for higher fuel efficiency vehicles, but let government stay out of it. There is obviously enough public demand for better fuel efficiency vehicles and the big car companies are putting every effort into developing these. The market will drive technology better than the government will. For example, Chevy has the Tahoe Hybrid getting more miles to the gallon than the Toyota Camry right now.

    It’s only a matter of time before we get great technology out there. But if the government mandates a certain miles per gallon limit out there, it will screw the car companies and the American consumer. The end result will be everyone will be driving the SMART car, which isn’t good or safe for families.

    One last thing, you pointed out correctly that by more drilling, prices will come down. This is a fundamental understanding by everyone who knows anything about supply and demand. However, people like Obama keep stating that prices won’t change with off shore drilling. Do these politicians honestly believe that we are buying this nonsense?

  3. My only point would be that the ridiculous fuel standards recently levied on automakers were met with existing technology, six-speed transmission (previously used for power in SUVs), better power-steering technology, etc.

    The point is that the automakers have had the technology for a long time and have had the knowledge to implement to make vehicles that have better fuel efficiency.

    But it took gov’t regulation to force them to use them. The consumers didn’t demand it because they didn’t know it existed or the possibility was out there. They believed the gloom and doom that efficiency standards would kill the auto industry.

    The same thing happened in the 70s. Consistently, as history proves, it has taken gov’t regulation to force automakes to produce cars with higher fuel efficiency.

    That being said, if someone wants to drive a Hummer, drive a Hummer. Just don’t complain about gas prices. If someone wants to drive a Prius, drive a prius.

    I personally would like to drive a plug-in all-electric car. So would a lot of people. There was actually significant demand (unfulfilled waiting lists and all and even a rather interesting black-market hand-me-down system for older ones) for all-electrics when California forced the auto industry’s hand a decade or so ago.

    If it’s only a matter of time before we get great technology, why are we using technology that’s more than a century old when we can surf the web from our handhelds?

    I don’t think gas-guzzlers should be banned. I just think consumers should have more options than they do.

  4. But more to the point of my first comment. I agree that we need higher fuel standards and lower gas prices. The question, as you said, is how do we get there.

    Regardless of ideology, the point of fact is that we really aren’t getting much of anywhere right now. We’re not closer to drilling in the arctic or offshore. We’re not closer to minimum higher fuel efficiency standards.

    The question, then, is if this was the bipartisan compromise put on the table, should the parties go for it? Drilling for regulation, or regulation for drilling.

    Or do we stick to our guns and, thus, get nothing accomplished?

  5. First things first, if the auto industry advanced at the same rate as the technology industry, we’d be running entire cities on one gallon of gas per day. But the two aren’t the same and therein lies the frustration. We see all this technology, but our cars are doing the same thing they did 30 years ago.

    One thing is for sure, this gas thing isn’t a quick fix. Even if you take out all the supposed speculation, oil would still be over $100. If you combine all the embedded taxes in gasoline paid by the oil companies and combine that with the sales tax on the gas, it is somewhere between 33-42 cents on the dollar is going directly to the federal and local government.

    So if the government really wanted to give everyone immediate relief, they could stop taxing oil companies and stop sales tax. Prices would fall by the approximate level of tax removed.

    But that is the quick fix. We’re also talking about long term stuff here. Energy independence means no more foreign oil–not no more oil entirely. That means we’ve got to drill more of our own oil now while increasing fuel efficiency. I just think that it is in the industry’s best interest to create better efficiency vehicles and this will be consumer driven. I just don’t think the government needs to step in at this point, because a certain fuel efficiency mandate (if high enough) would effectively ban SUVs.

    I agree with you about options and I agree with not banning SUVs. Are you sure you’re not a libertarian?

  6. Ha! People have accused me of being a libertarian on both sides of the aisle. I suppose I do have some of those leanings because I do seem some of the absurdity of our government. And, I resent having to drive with hands-free cell phone technology in California now (which for me is more distracting than a normal phone).

    But, alas, I think I more of a pragmatist. Ideologically, I’m about as liberal as they come. The whole bit: universal health care, a reinstatement of pre-Bush tax levels, fair-trade policies, etc., etc. But, I’m just not so sure me being dogmatic about the issues is productive. I learned that from being married to the military (along with my respect for gov’t operated health care) and living in Berkeley (where folks are liberal fundamentalists). I was a dove’s dove in college, but hearing other perspectives thoughts from military friends rather than what I considered narrow-minded ideologues, I realized we really did have a lot in common. And if we didn’t I could at least understand why they thought that way from their perspective (interreligious dialogue helped me understand that).

    My problem with today’s politics is that no one is willing to compromise their values because they are too concerned with maintaining their power by being re-elected by their base than with affecting positive change/growth.

    Anyway, to your points: Yes, quick fixes won’t work. And I’d argue that even drilling on our own land (rather than exporting the dirty work to other countries; there’s a really good liberal argument for it that no one makes by framing it as the environmental explotiation of the land of the “Other”). A long term fix doesn’t just take away our dependency on foreign oil, but our dependency (not complete use of) oil.

    I still would point to history as the lesson that it has taken gov’t intervention (for good or ill) to increase fuel efficiency in meaningful ways and that the auto industry has found a way to meet those demands. Also, if the hybrids are working well enough as you pointed out with the Tahoe, then such increases wouldn’t be a tacit ban on all SUVs.

    I think you are right that it is in the industry’s best interest to continue making automobiles as they have for so long. I’m just not sure its in the consumer’s best interest. I mean, even mandated seat belts were hard-fought victories for consumers. Now we wouldn’t dream of buying a car without over-the-shoulder belts.

    I think Americans are going to drive no matter what is put on four-wheels in front of them. We love to drive. And we respond to advertising (green technology blitz anyone?)

    I think our economy is less consumer-driven and more advertising-driven. Think for example about the fate of newspapers. We consume more news than ever, most of it based on MSM newspapers. Yet, the advertising hasn’t caught up with the technology, so they are sinking. The news, like most of our lives, is advertising driven. I don’t consider that a judgement, but reality.

    We think we buy what we want/need but I would argue we more often buy what we think/are told we want/need. It explains not only the rise of the SUV but also the ascendancy of the Prius.

    Few need an SUV. And buying a new Prius to save the environment is ridiculous considering the “pollution” cost of producing a new car far outweighs what my smog-test failing 99 Saturn with 150K miles will ever spew on a highway.

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