Can the United States Ever Reach Energy Independence?

What is Energy Independence?

Energy independence has been a topic floating around the United States for decades. It wasn’t until recently that it became an idea that was actually achievable. Everyone knows energy is one of the most important aspects of life in not just the US, but across the globe, as well. It’s what drives our technological advances in society day after day.

In the US, even though we produce a vast amount of energy, a significant portion of energy is imported from foreign nations. While this is standard for some countries, for the US it has been something that has been hanging over our head since the 70’s.

A closed nation from the rest of the world is not a requirement for energy independence. A collaborated world is something that America embraces. The creation of significant alternative energy used widespread can be an example of energy independence. The switch to a notable exporter can also be a declaration of independence. [1]

Why should we seek it?

As mentioned earlier, since the 70’s the topic of independence has been heating up. In October of 1973, Arab nations of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, placed an embargo against the United States for its support of their enemy Israel during a time of war. This embargo put America in an almost immediate recession. Gas shortages were widespread and tactics such as lowering the speed limit became commonplace. The times were terrible for the US. [2]

Ever since this embargo, independence has become that much more significant. Friedman of the New York Times even goes into detail on why we might be interested in joining OPEC ourselves in the near future. He believes we could benefit greatly and that we can almost achieve independence within the next decade or so. We could establish a stronger reputation with the rest of the world and influence other countries into seeking their own independence. [3]

Energy Independence in Recent News

With issues such as gas prices skyrocketing towards $5/gal, energy independence has been extremely popular amongst the nation and especially politicians. The people want lower gas prices and politicians will say whatever the people want to hear in order to get elected. Not going into the actual politics surrounding it, one can see that both the Republican and the Democratic figures of our nation see the importance of it. President Obama spoke extensively about it in his most recent State of the Union speech. [4]

In his speech Obama had a whole segment on oil and natural gas as well as clean energy. He especially spoke on how our natural gas supply will propel us forward. Even the Republican presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich, preaches of how he will bring gas prices back to $2.50/gal.  He plans to release multiple ads highlighting this topic.[5]

Perhaps the most reputable claim of energy independence outside politicians would come from the energy industry itself. BP claims that the US will be free from foreign oil by 2030.

This in itself is monumental. They forecast Europe needing to import 94% of its oil whereas the US will be expanding its natural gas production to new bounds. It will lead us into the future to become a dominant force in the world. [6]


While energy independence is a major player in society today, it still needs some years to grow. I personally believe that the natural gas sources that we have will indeed push us to the next level, but not at the speed of which BP and Friedman suggested. Those speeds are more hype than anything to get the US up and moving. I foresee more of a 2050 date if anything. Of course, our reliance on foreign imports will decrease, and in my opinion, if anything like the oil embargo of the 1973 happens again, we will be prepared and the hit will be more of a jab rather than a knockout.









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