Will Offshore Drilling Help at the Pump? Government Studies Say No

(CBS)

From CBS News' John Bentley:

(HUNTINGTON, W.V.) – Despite the Department of Energy stating that offshore drilling would not have much impact on oil production for over 20 years, John McCain continued to make the argument tonight that the U.S. could see an impact on gas prices in a matter of months once domestic oil drilling begins.

"It can be done much more quickly than, frankly, the environmentalists are saying," McCain said on a telephone town hall for Pennsylvania voters. "I met with independent petroleum producers in California just the other day and they said within months we can see an increase, and within a very short period of time – a year to two years – we could see a more significant increase in our oil supply."

McCain first made that assertion last week at an oil field in Bakersfield, California, but neither he nor his campaign has been able to point to any literature or any oil executive that says domestic drilling would have any immediate impact. Offshore leasing wouldn't be able to begin until 2012 due to existing moratoria, and "access to the Pacific, Atlantic, and eastern Gulf regions would not have a significant impact on domestic crude oil and natural gas production or prices before 2030," according to the Department of Energy.

McCain has also been critical of Barack Obama's energy plan, which he say amounts to nothing more than inflating your tires, and his campaign even passed out tire gauges on the press plane last week to make the point. Tonight, though, he said that inflating your tires is a good idea. "Sen. Obama said a couple of days ago that we ought to all inflate our tires. I don't disagree with that," McCain said. "But I also don't think that's a way to become energy independent."