Just to piggyback on an earlier discussion; oil in this country, if found through offshore drilling, would truly have little to no impact on fuel prices in this country. Republicans have made us believe that if we don't drill in offshore locations, that we're leaving tons of energy behind, and not capitalizing on easy fixes. This couldn't be further from the truth.
Don't count my numbers too perfectly (it is past 1 in the morning), but I believe there are 300 million acres given to the oil companies to use for drilling in offshore locations. That sounds like a lot doesn't it? Republicans don't want you to know that. They want you to know that another 200 million acres are desired for drilling as well (which is what the argument is about). The problem; that last 200 acres is specifically protected by the EPA. Basically what I'm saying to you, is the Congressional Republicans want every last location possible to drill. 300 million acres just isn't good enough.
Another reason why this conversation is bullshit. We'd be drilling offshore, not for crude oil, because in many of these locations it doesn't exist in that form. We'd be mining for shale oil, which is a completely different product to start with. First off, not as much usable oil can be attained using this method, or the proper techniques don't yet exist to get the oil out of the shale in a financially responsible way.
The last bit of ridiculousness having to do with the oil we "might" get from our offshore shelves, is the distribution of it. With the way things are, we can't just grab some random oil, and sell it off. It doesn't work that way. The system is set up just so that ALL the world's oil, from multiple different countries, is filtered through OPEC (or the countries, mostly in the middle east, that produce the mass amounts of crude), and they decide how much oil to release for general consumption. No matter what you find, or get, OPEC must regulate it first. We're still dealing with foreign countries telling us how much power we're allotted, even when it's the power we're finding!
Basically, the offshore drilling that the Republicans are "threatening to shut the government down over," have to do with drilling in an added 200 million acres on top of the 300 million they've already been given, drilling into EPA protected lands, drilling for a product that we truly can't use anywhere near as well as crude, and are not telling the American people the major problems we'd have to deal with in regards to OPEC. Sad, mis informative, and true.