Energy Independence in the United States

The backdrop of the upcoming presidential elections in the United States has enabled the American electorate to hear the candidates' opinions on the issues, one of them being energy policy. Both Republicans and Democrats agree that energy independence is important.  Such independence would protect the United States from the risk of energy supplies from abroad encountering disruptions.

The concensus on building a more energy independent country has been around for years, transcending entire administrations and congresses. Contrary to expectation, however, is that petroleum imports are much higher today than they were 40 years ago. Of all petroleum products consumed in this country, 60% of them come from abroad, compared to 40 years ago when roughly 38% of petroleum products came from foreign suppliers.

This graphic from Slate Magazine illustrates the growing trend of importing oil products since 1973, along with the goals of three different presidents to develop greater energy self reliance. Ultimately what it depicts is the failure in the present day to meet any of these goals.  Any conversation between the presidential candidates on energy independence might be unlikely to see significant followup action.

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