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U.S. energy independence by 2020? Uhh, haven’t we heard this before?

When seeking public office — especially the highest in the land — candidates can promise anything. Too often, post-election, those promises are conveniently relegated to obscurity, or the new president quickly finds that, no matter how well-intentioned, he can personally do little to effect major change. Such has been the case, nigh on to 40 years, for energy independence.



“I know … that talk can be cheap. You can say anything.” No truer words have been uttered by a politician than these by presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

When seeking public office — especially the highest in the land — candidates can promise anything. Too often, post-election, those promises are conveniently relegated to obscurity, or the new president quickly finds that, no matter how well-intentioned, he can personally do little to effect major change.

Oh, maybe a Supreme Court appointment here, a war launched there, but when it comes to history-making accomplishment, well, there’s that obstreperous group called Congress, which may or may not cooperate, not to mention worldwide economic/market forces that can toss a monkey wrench into things.

But hey, why worry about realities when hustling votes? Promise ‘em anything, baby — just get me elected.

Back to Candidate Romney, whose “cheap talk” quote was followed by an outright fairy tale: “By the end of my second term, I make this commitment: We will have North American energy independence. We won’t have to buy oil from Venezuela and the Middle East. We’re gonna be independent.”

Anyone halfway grounded in reality knows that, barring an alien spaceship landing on the White House lawn and handing over technology for limitless energy, it just ain’t gonna happen.

Absent Armageddon in the Mideast, tankers in 2020 will still be schlepping oil westward to the U.S., this country will in all likelihood be consuming more oil/gasoline/diesel than ever — and most certainly paying more for it.

Yes, the U.S. will doubtless be producing more of its own energy, whether oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, solar/wind, biofuels. But as we’ve seen for decades, usage pretty much equates to production — and usage is still predominantly for transportation that is primarily petroleum based.

U.S. oil production is at an eight-year high, and in 2011 we cut oil/petroleum imports by 1 million barrels per day (while shipping millions of gallons of petroleum products to the highest bidders overseas). Stricter fuel economy standards are slowly but surely increasing efficiency of cars/trucks.

But our energy appetite is voracious — and Mideast oil is, for the foreseeable future, the easiest way to feed that hunger.

Every president, all the way back to Richard Nixon, has promised to get the U.S. in position to tell OPEC to stuff it.Hear an outraged Nixon following the 1970s Arab oil embargo that brought the country almost to a standstill: “Let this be our national goal: At the end of this decade, in the year 1980, the United States will not be dependent on any other country for the energy we need.”

Didn’t happen. Ditto for Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton, and Bush 2. We just used more and more.

Most recently, in 2008, then Senator Barack Obama made a campaign promise that, if elected president, he’d end U.S. imports of Mideast oil within a decade. With almost four years of that decade gone, that pledge, too, is more fairy tale than reality.

Discuss this Blog Entry 3

on Aug 28, 2012

just because other people lied does not mean that Romney is lying. Look, we saw what happened when the price of natural gas dropped. Power plants quickly switched and all of a sudden there was a TWENTY PERCENT reduction in the hole in the ozone layer. No one came close to predicting that. Simply the markets at work. So Los Angeles has been running alot of natural gas buses for over a decade. What if most buses & trucks in the US switched to natural gas in 8 years? what if all government vehicles joined them? what if we increased the incentive for oil companies to sell all the oil in Canada(North America remember) and the Northern US to sell their oil here instead of overseas?
Build some refineries in exchange for the pipeline to Houston. Just because something has not been done before does not make it an impossible feat.
And it has nothing to do with Romney, If a democrat said it, Hilary for example I would say it is just as possible. The only reason I would not believe Obama, is he seems to just be ripe for picking. He has no business sense as the Solyndra debacle showed us. Alot of shell companies would just grab the money distribute it to large donors and fold. Energy independence is possible.

Croploss (not verified)
on Aug 28, 2012

US oil consumption peaked in 2007 and has fallen every year since then. The reduction has been significant enough that various government entities are now alarmed about falling tax revenue from fuel sales. So it is not inevitable that US petroleum consumption and importation will go back up and continue to rise in the future. Domestic supplies are on the rise. Don't expect cheaper fuel because the cost of domestic production is high, but do expect that the overall balance of imports to exports will change to the advantage of the US. The current war on carbon-based fuels will end eventually.

Bowers (not verified)
on Aug 29, 2012

Agree with the two people above. The U.S. has more natural gas than it can use. By switching diesel trucks to natural gas, we could cut our oil demand by 25%. That switch is already underway thanks to dirt cheap natural gas. If the federal govt tried to help the transition at all, we could easily make the transition by 2020. Not to mention the fact that we would put hundreds of thousands, if not millions of Americans to work in the process....

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