Energy Independence

According to the US Energy Information Administration, the United States imports 10 Million barrels of crude oil per day (July 2004). We import such an immense amount of oil because our demand exceeds our domestic supply at a rate of more than 2 to 1.

Of that volume, transportation is responsible for 2/3 of oil consumption, and 95% of the energy consumed by transportation is oil. This circumstance keeps the US from energy independence.

Why Independence is Important

OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, has many members hailing from the Middle East, and is the global authority on oil production. Because of the United States' intense need for energy, our foreign policy is often influenced and sometimes dictated by the OPEC agenda. Unlike in the US, where corporations control energy resources, in OPEC countries like Iraq, Indonesia, Iran, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates, government controls energy resources. This is a clear weakness of the United States, as we are forced to cater to the needs of governments that are accused of being state sponsors of terrorism (Libya, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia). Energy independence would increase the position of power and security for the United States.

How Energy Independence Can Be Achieved

There are but two distinct, independent strategies by which the US can remove the chains of energy dependence.
  1. Increase Supply
  2. Decrease Demand
Increasing energy capacity can be done by additional drilling, or by supplementing fossil energy with other means, like nuclear, solar, turbine, or wind. Unfortunately, each of these strategies requires institutional action. No one can operate a nuclear power plant in his or her basement; everyone can conserve.

What You Can Do

Unlike increasing supply, reducing demand for foreign oil can be done on an individual level. Each year, the gasoline injected into the average car accounts for hundreds of dollars worth of imported oil. By using alternative transportation like mass transit, bicycling, walking, or of course driving a hybrid vehicle, every individual can have an affect on achieving energy independence. To ignore this critical issue would be anti-American.
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