Many on the left argue that the proposals to open up more of the U.S. to drilling is bad public policy. They usually imply there would be danger to the environment that wouldn't really impact oil prices.
the United States consumes more than 14 million barrels of oil per day that it produces. That means as a country we are planning to import over 5 billion barrels of oil per year from abroad.
Since we live in a world market, any increase in domestic production would be added to the world supply. This would put downward pressure on prices, but not in a significant way because of the size of the world market.
The price of oil is generally free-flowing and can't be controlled by 1 country or even a cartel like in the middle east. As evidence of this, the price has risen to $150 and back down to $120 in the past 3 months. Whether the U.S. was producing at full strength or not wouldn't have the impact on the market as speculators, storms, population growth etc.
So it really won't help with prices, but is there really a huge downside to more drilling?
We can have more jobs for Americans. We can have more wealth for Americans. We would have less dependence on others. We can do this while preseving the environment.
I'm sure there would be problems but as Americans we should err on the side of technology.