With U.S. crude production on the rise and the U.S. the verge of becoming the world’s largest oil producer – overtaking typical powerhouses such as Saudi Arabia and Russia, the idea of U.S. energy independence is on everyone’s mind and a topic of many conversations lately. The idea of U.S. energy independence isn’t a new idea. Nixon declared war on foreign oil in the 70’s. In 2006 George W. Bush said the U.S. is, “addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.” And it’s easy to see that Donald Trump is keeping to his promise to open the floodgates for US oil. So, this brings up a couple good questions…
Is U.S. energy independence a good idea?
Well, on the surface, the thought seems like a good idea. The U.S. imports over 60% of their oil from questionable locations around the globe, exposing our economy and politics to numerous world pressures, stresses and problems. Our large imports also increase and our already massive trade imbalance, while simultaneously filling the pockets of countries like Iran, Russia, and Venezuela—not necessarily America’s list of best friends. So, when you think about it, energy independence sounds like a pretty good way to move away from all those troubles. Right? Maybe… but maybe not.
First of all, currently the U.S. doesn’t have a “real” substitute for the oceans of oil we import. Yes, American drilling is increasing in 2018 to levels we haven’t seen in years, but at this point, can that really replace what we are importing. I don’t feel like we’re quite there yet.
“Well, Renewable energy is up and coming and can help offset the need for foreign oil, right?”
Not really. Even if we had fleets of superefficient cars, solar panels on every roof, and wind turbines on every hilltop, we’d need decades to replace the current oil infrastructure – and that would take lots of energy in the process – AKA oil. Somewhat ironically… to build the energy economy that we want, we would need to lean heavily on the current energy economy that we have. However, this doesn’t stop the renewable lobbyists like wind and solar from pushing their agenda to get subsidies and advance their own sectors by playing on the fears of Americans being dependent on foreign oil.
So, let’s return to our first question... Is U.S. energy independence a good idea? Yes, but it’s not as clear-cut as people would like you to believe.
The better question might be, “do we have energy security?” Regardless of where our energy is coming from, do we know we have a secure source of it long into the future? That’s the answer we want to say YES to! If we can get it cheaper by importing it, why not as long as it’s a secure source? Let them use up their oil before we use up ours! But we should also be Rolling out new technology as soon as possible because it takes so long for it to take hold.