When Did the US Become Energy Independent? Various political personalities have claimed that the United States was “energy independent” under former President Donald Trump’s administration and have attacked policy under President Joe Biden as U.S. customers faced record-high gas prices days after Russia attacked Ukraine. Themacforums spoke with experts about how energy independence might be defined and quantified, as well as the elements that influence the energy import-export balance.
It’s true that petroleum imports (which include crude oil, refined petroleum products, and other liquids) fell in 2020, Trump’s final year in office: 7.863 million barrels per day were imported in 2017, compared to 10.055 million barrels per day in 2016, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).
For the first time since 1949, the United States became a “net exporter” of petroleum (exporting more than it imports) in that year (it exported 8.498 million barrels per day and imported 7.863 mb/d).
However, even as a net exporter, the United States is not immune to global impacts when it comes to commodities traded on global markets, such as crude oil and transportation fuels, contrary to what some online construe as “energy independence.” While oil output in the United States is increasing, pump prices in the country have reached new highs.
Why does the United States Continue to Import?
When Did the US Become Energy Independent? Brown explained that whether the US needs to import energy is dependent on the region, season, and energy product. The Northeast, for example, may require LNG imports due to domestic natural gas prices, domestic power demand, and the global market, he said.
Another example, according to Fell, is crude oil. While US East Coast refineries are intended to handle lower-quality crude, the US produces higher-quality crude and has limited capacity to refine it. “We frequently export some domestic petroleum to be refined overseas while importing lower-quality crude to be refined at our refineries”.
Geography is also a factor. Because oil production in the United States is concentrated in the middle of the country, West Coast refineries are heavily reliant on oil imports from other countries. “In the eastern United States, transportation constraints or high transportation costs can imply that buying from overseas is less expensive than buying from domestic companies”, Campbell explained.
A Complex Imagery
Even if the United States meets the quantity requirements of having more energy exports than imports and less energy consumption than total output. What happens in other nations has an impact on domestic energy costs.
“To get to the point of energy independence in the sense that many are thinking – where our energy costs are influenced by supply and demand situations elsewhere”, Fell said, “we’ll have to reduce our reliance on energy from internationally traded energy supplies”.
Moving away from oil and toward alternative energy sources, Campbell agreed, would help the US begin to break free from the influence of global oil markets and become more energy independent.
Furthermore, the recent spike in energy prices is due to a number of factors, according to Brown, including investors imposing capital discipline on oil and gas companies, uncertainty over US emissions regulations, and rising energy demand as COVID eases in the US.
You may read a Themacforums study of how the US oil sector and the Biden administration are fighting over who is to blame for record-high gas prices.
The Themacforums Fact Check team was responsible for the creation of this piece. Learn more about our fact-checking efforts on social media.
‘Energy independence’ has already been attained. What benefit did it provide us?
The price of gasoline is creeping closer to $5 a gallon across the country, and Americans are enraged. Thankfully, Republican lawmakers have been preaching for months that they have a solution: simply “restore” the US to “energy independence,” as we saw under former President Donald Trump. It’s that simple.
Sen. Joni Ernst said, “We have the capabilities and the resources right here in the United States to be energy independent” (R-Iowa). “These prices should not be imposed on us”.
“Energy independence” is a political slogan in need of a definition, but conservatives appear to be referring to scenarios in which the United States exports more oil and petroleum products to other countries than it buys from them, depending on context. For the first time since at least the 1950s, the United States became a net exporter of oil and petroleum products in late 2019, while Trump was in office.
When Did the US Become Energy Independent? In late 2020 and early 2021, the much-heralded new trend reversed, and the US imported slightly more than it exported for a few months. However, total petroleum output and consumption were roughly equal even at that time. For more news visit www.themacforums.com