Foreign Oil Dependency Crippling U.S. Economy
Mired in wars to protect our oil supply, faced with high energy costs, and confronted by a massive trade imbalance, reducing our dependency on foreign oil would help stimulate the economy.
“Our oil problems are only going to get worse. Our trade balance is only going to get worse. So we have to slow the growth of U.S. oil consumption, particularly imported oil consumption,” said former Rep. Sherwood Boehlert according to testimony (pdf file) given to the Energy and Commerce Committee in 2006.
During the first six months of 2010, crude oil consumption averaged 18.9 million barrels per day. Every year oil imports account for hundreds billions of dollars sent to foreign countries. In fact, energy imports account for about one-fourth of the trade deficit.
Money being sent overseas is not just dangerous for the economy. For example, when Dubai tried to buy several ports in 2006, it was proven that their money was not being used to buy American goods, but rather America itself.
In states such as Mississippi, consumers spend up to 6.35 percent of their income on gasoline alone, according to a report by the National Resources Defense Council.
“However, many states are still taking few, if any, of the steps listed in this report to reduce their oil dependence,” study co-founder Elizabeth Hogan said.
The war in Iraq has already cost this nation trillions of dollars and over 5,000 lives. That is money that could be spent on improving infrastructure or simply saved to reduce our debt.
“Dependence on imported oil, particularly from the Middle East, has become the elephant in the foreign policy living room, an overriding strategic consideration composed of a multitude of issues,” said Lt. Col. James Amidon (USAF).
With no need for foreign oil, our obligations in the Middle East would be lessened.
Any solution would and should require American production for our energy, otherwise we are simply substituting dependence on foreign oil, with dependence on foreign creation of necessary machinery and parts.
Done properly, such a movement would be a boon to the struggling manufacturing and agricultural industries, whether we use solar panels, wind turbines, nuclear power plants, diesel engines, electric cars and/or biofuels. Smart growth and public transportation in cities is another option. There is no single magic bullet solution but a combination of technologies can achieve this goal.
While by no means an easy task, the same nation that put a man on the moon can surely accomplish such a necessary task that will spur innovation, create jobs and reduce our trade deficit. Energy created in this nation would keep money at home, keep people employed and keep our military out of foreign resource wars.