National Commission on Energy Policy | Energy Independence: A Dry Hole?
The U.S. may be addicted to oil, but many of its politicians are addicted to “energy independence” — which may be among the least realistic political slogans in American history. The term “energy independence” should be dropped. He wants policy makers to focus on curbing oil consumption — specifically the amount to produce each $1,000 of gross domestic product.
The truth is, our consumption per thousand dollars of GDP has declined dramatically over the past 30 years, making oil far less crucial to our economy. In 1973 it stood at roughly 1.4 barrels/1kGDP. Now it stands at roughly 0.7 barrels, or a decline of roughly 50 percent. Not bad for “oil addicted” America, whose only true sin is growing our economy so dramatically since 1973.But even there our total oil consumption has risen only from about 17 million barrels a day in 1973 to about 21 today. Again, not bad.
The problem is tha imports made up 35% of the nation’s petroleum supplies in 1973 and 59% in the first four months of 2006, according to the Department of Energy. Moreover, 66% of the oil consumed in the U.S. is used in the transportation sector.