In a New York Times article, Clifford Krauss and Eric Lipton outlined some good news for Americans worried about our foreign dependence on energy … we are, in fact, weaning ourselves off of foreign oil. In 2011 we imported 45 percent of the liquid fuels we use, down from a record high of 60 percent in 2005.
Consumption has declined. Cars are more fuel-efficient. Buildings are getting more efficient and using less energy. The strategies to get more for the energy we use are working. Unfortunately, the recession has also put a dent in consumption.
At the same time, U.S. oil production is going up. As the article points out, “National oil production, which declined steadily to 4.95 million barrels a day in 2008 from 9.6 million in 1970, has risen over the last four years to nearly 5.7 million barrels a day.
The beauty of all this is watching the free market and sustainability policies work together to move us closer to the long-sought goal of energy independence. It may not be the perfect sustainability answer – with the environmental impacts associated with increased U.S. oil production, but it’s an objective that many Americans have shared since the early 1970s. And, we seem to be headed in that direction.