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U.S. Energy Independence

  • Nov 11, 2012 · 4:00 PM
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The U.S. economy is very dependent on oil.  The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) controls between 30 and 40 percent of the global oil market.  Most members of OPEC are in Africa and the Middle East, in politically unstable regions with oppressive governments.  Their instability has resulted in fluctuating and rising oil prices. Since the U.S. economy is so dependent on oil, we are vulnerable to any political disruption in a member country of OPEC. 

Supporters of energy independence claim that energy independence would reduce the amount of U.S. dollars funding oppressive governments that supply oil. Proponents also promote alternative energy sources as a more environmental way to achieve energy independence. Some say we should follow Brazil, which does not rely on foreign oil, partly due to their widespread use of domestically produced ethanol.

Opponents claim that seeking energy independence in the U.S. is foolish because alternative fuels are more expensive and less reliable than oil.  Also, the global demand for oil is so high that even if the U.S. became oil independent, other countries would fill in the void left by the U.S.

Energy independence is a complicated issue.  Ultimately, should the U.S. pursue energy independence? If so, what are the costs and tradeoffs?  Below are links to relevant resources.


As always...

All views and political orientations are welcome.

We welcome beginners and policy wonks alike. Feel free to join the discussion or just to listen and learn.

If you sign up and change your mind, please change your reply so that someone else may attend.

Meetup to last 1.5 hours (until 5:30 PM) although, of course, people are welcome to continue beyond that point.



Energy Independence? From Reality, Perhaps, but Not From the Rest of the World

Energy insecurity: How oil dependence undermines America's effort to stop the Iranian bomb

Is U.S. Energy Independence Possible?

North America, the New Middle East?

The Bloom Box: An Energy Breakthrough?

With Big Boost From Sugar Cane, Brazil Is Satisfying Its Fuel Needs

How Brazil Achieved Energy Independence and the Lessons the U.S. Should Learn from Brazil’s Experience


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  • James C.

    A good chance to exchange views on energy issues in the US.

    November 12, 2012

  • James C.

    The US is not in a bad position with most of these "unstable" governments. We are on the "A" list of importers in almost every country. The statement that we are vulnerable to "any" disruption is way over the top. However, since we've seen the prices already, is there really any 'good' argument against energy independence?

    November 10, 2012

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