While we should always be wary of advocating for the canard of “energy independence” purely for its own sake — because doing so means eschewing the competitive, price-controlling, and wealth-creating powers of free and open trade and instead inviting the protectionism that generally benefits special interests over all consumers — it’s always worth looking at just how far the United States has come in terms of oil-and-gas production capacity in just a few short years, both in terms of boosting our energy security with diversified sources (including ourselves) and for boosting our ability to compete in the global economy by growing our own. Via FuelFix:
The United States produced enough energy to satisfy 84 percent of its needs in 2013, a rapid climb from its historic low in 2005, according to a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The nation produced 81.7 quadrillion British thermal units of energy last year and consumed 97.5 quadrillion, the highest ratio since 1987. The nation’s energy output rose 18 percent from 2005 to 2013, as a surge in oil and gas production offset declines in coal. Meanwhile, its total energy used fell 2.7 percent during that period.
The nation’s ability to meet its own energy needs hit an all-time low in 2005, when the amount of energy produced domestically met just 69 percent of demand. The last time the United States’ energy production exceeded its energy use was in the 1950s, according to the Energy Information Administration, an agency of the Energy Department.
It attributed the nation’s rising energy security largely to the increased production of oil and natural gas, which has been fueled by the domestic shale boom. The rise of new drilling and production technology, namely hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, has allowed companies to tap more reservoirs deeply buried in dense rock formations.
And here’s a visual from the EIA:
Our increased production capabilities, combined with technological innovations that have increased our overall fuel efficiency and how much bang we can get for our buck, are just another reason to finally lift our self-imposed crude oil ban (which more or less acts like a subsidy for U.S. refiners and may actually be keeping prices artificially higher than they could be) as well as fast-track more natural gas export terminals (which, thankfully, the DOE is thinking about doing at an increased pace, but they should really feel free to get a move on any day now) so that we can fetch the best possible price for our domestically produced wares and cultivate more robust economic growth.