Foreign Oil Dependence Has Grown
"In 1973, when President Richard Nixon said, “Our independence will depend on maintaining and achieving self-sufficiency in energy,” the United States imported 34.8 percent of its oil from foreign countries. In 1979, when President Jimmy Carter said the country will “never again use more foreign oil than we did in 1977,” imports were up to 45 percent of the nation’s oil supply. Dependence on foreign oil did indeed fall during a few economically troubled years when smaller, foreign-built cars gained popularity and American manufacturers reduced the weight of their vehicles. But that began to change when oil prices dropped in the mid-1980s, and by 1990, when President George H.W. Bush talked of the need to reverse “excessive dependence on foreign oil” at the dawn of the first Persian Gulf War, the United States was importing 42.2 percent of its oil. By the time his son ran for office, sport utility vehicles ruled the roads and 52.9 percent of the nation’s petroleum came from overseas. By 2006, when President Bush declared in his State of the Union that the nation was addicted to oil, foreign countries were delivering 59.9 percent of the fix. Geology has dealt the United States a bad hand if it hopes to achieve energy independence while continuing to rely heavily on oil. America’s old fields are tapped out; U.S. oil production has been in an inexorable decline since its peak in 1971. The government has pushed for the oil industry to squeeze out more domestic supply. Federal subsidies approved by Congress in 1995 encouraged a boom in oil drilling in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. And the Bush administration’s Department of the Interior streamlined the process for drilling on federal lands, nearly doubling the number of permits approved each year. Nonetheless, U.S. oil production plummeted 22 percent over the past 10 years to about the same level that the nation’s oil fields were producing in 1947."
Broken Government | Failure: Foreign Oil Dependence Has Grown