I once got into a discussion on Facebook with a friend of mine from high school regarding the history of oil and gas prices. He believes that “green” energy is the only way to become energy independent and that the U.S. is unfairly using more than it’s share of the world’s oil, citing the alleged fact that we produce 20% of the supply but use 80% of it. This was my rather lengthy reply.
In 1973 the Nixon administration (yes a Republican) began over-regulating the production of oil in the U.S. making it necessary to increase foreign imports (up to 35% of U.S. consumption). In the same year, the U.S. sent military assistance to Israel who had been attacked by members of OPEC. In retaliation OPEC placed an oil embargo on the U.S. and increased the price for other nations by 70%. Oil in the U.S. then had to be rationed to the people (you could only get gas at certain times, and never on Sundays).
Since then, more and more regulations have been put on U.S. production of oil starting with Carter’s MEOW initiative and creation of the Department of Energy, making it harder and harder to drill for domestic oil and causing us to be more and more dependent on foreign oil. This is not, as some would have us believe, because we are “running out of oil.” The U.S. is sitting on one of the largest oil reservoirs in the world, an estimated 2.3 trillion barrels (300 years) worth to be exact. It is current technology and excessive regulation that is preventing us from getting at it.
The 20% and 80% figures that the Obama used in his reelection speech are blatantly stretched considering that those figures only apply to current tapped reserves; they do not include the amount of oil that is not being drilled or used in the current economy. So yes the U.S. government is being selfish because we refuse to drill for our own oil and would rather drain the supplies of other nations instead.