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My FOX St. LOUIS: Text: Shell Oil Says ‘Don’t Blame Us’

Last Edited: Monday, 30 Jul 2007, 11:16 PM CDT 
By: Sean Conroy

(KTVI-myFOXstl.com): While 2 dollars and sixty cents a gallon brings cheers at the pumps that is still among the highest price per gallon we have paid recently. 

“I’m as upset as Joe Consumer because I pay the same price on gasoline that he does.”

The difference is as Shell Oil’s U.S. President, John Hofmeister, reaps the rewards of those high gas prices.  When it comes to those high prices he points directly to our dependence on foreign oil and its every increasing wholesale price.  Hofmeister says prices at the pump would go down the sooner we dumped foreign oil and the best way to do that is for the American consumer to get involved. 

“We can vote which means we have the power to pressure on policy makers by pushing for permission to drilling in the Arctic and just off our own shores.  In this country only 15 percent of the outer shelf is allowed to be explored and produced 85 percent if off limits,” lobbies Hofmeister. “There is a lot of oil and gas we could produce and I think it would help the overall costs equation.”

But would it help the overall environmental equation?   Most environmentalists say no.

“Conservation and energy efficiency is really the first step,” says Missouri Coalition for the Environment’s Erin Noble.  She says finding more oil is not as important as using less oil.  “Surely a better solution is higher fuel efficiency standards and using less oil and gasoline.”

While Shell is among the world’s largest supplier of gasoline it’s also among the leaders in providing ethanol, but ethanol is one of the major reasons milk and meat prices are on the rise as corn prices climb because of demand.  That’s why Shell is among those searching for ways to make fuel, not from the corn, but instead from its husks and stalks. 

“We don’t want to be in the middle of the fuel versus food debate,” says Hofmeister, “our goal is to lets move the debate to a different technology lets use enzyme research to use biomass instead of food for fuel.” 

While the environmental side applauds the forward thinking when it comes to ethanol the solution many in the movement feel still lies with using less oil and less corn.  That debate will continue but both can agree that if real change is going to be made worldwide it has to start and finish here at home.  “If we don’t lead others won’t follow.”

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