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An oil refinery owned by ExxonMobil in Baton Rouge, La., on Feb. 28, 2020.
An oil refinery in Baton Rouge, La., in 2020.Barry Lewis / In Pictures via Getty Images file

U.S. oil production discredits weird Republican talking points

Oil production in the United States has reached an all-time high. So why do Republicans keep telling American voters to believe the opposite?

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On Thursday morning, Republican Sen. Markwayne Mullin published a message to social media, urging President Joe Biden to “reverse course on his anti-American energy agenda and unleash domestic production to bring down prices and create market stability for the United States and our allies.”

I’m not in a position to know whether the Oklahoman actually believed his own rhetoric, but I do know that the senator’s timing was awful. The same morning in which Mullin condemned the administration’s “anti-American energy agenda” and implored the White House to “unleash domestic production,” the public learned that domestic oil production in the United States reached an all-time high. The Associated Press reported:

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration reported that American oil production in the first week of October hit 13.2 million barrels per day, passing the previous record set in 2020 by 100,000 barrels. Weekly domestic oil production has doubled from the first week in October 2012 to now.

The newly set record, the AP report added, “conflicts with oft-repeated Republican talking points of a Biden ‘war on American energy.’”

Yes. Yes, it does.

To be sure, whether one sees these developments as good news or bad news is a matter of perspective. There is, of course, a planetary climate crisis underway, creating an urgent need to cut carbon emissions. To prevent intensifying catastrophes, we’ll need to burn fewer fossil fuels, not more.

That conversation, however, is muddled to a ridiculous degree, not only by those who reject and deny climate science, but also by Republicans who keep telling the public that the Biden administration is dramatically scaling back production, even as production reaches record highs.

In August, at the first presidential primary debate for the GOP’s 2024 field, multiple candidates talked up the idea of “unlocking American energy,” as if production had been curtailed. Reality pointed in the opposite direction.

A few days later, Politico published a report with a memorable headline: “The U.S. is pumping oil faster than ever. Republicans don’t care.” In context, it wasn’t that Republicans were indifferent to increased energy production; it’s that Republicans don’t care that their rhetoric is false.

They want to tell voters that the United States 颈蝉苍’迟 churning out record amounts of oil, reality be damned, and the GOP 颈蝉苍’迟 about to be dissuaded by facts.

The Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell added in a column two weeks ago:

If “energy independence” means exporting more than you import, we’ve achieved it in spades. The United States has been exporting more crude oil and petroleum products than it imports for 22 straight months now, far longer than was the case under Trump. If this is what waging war on fossil fuels looks like, Democrats apparently aren’t very good at it.

I won’t speculate as to why Republicans keep pushing brazenly untrue claims about energy policy, but there is no doubt that their talking points on the issue bear no resemblance to reality.

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