You would not have known it if you watched CNN or read The New York Times, but President Donald Trump achieved quite a lot in his time at the White House. Whether it was foreign policy or the judicial branch, Trump advanced the conservative movement to heights unseen since former President Ronald Reagan. But perhaps his most significant victory, one that impacts every U.S. household and the broader economy, is energy independence.
The U.S. is now self-sufficient to keep the lights on, and automobiles fueled – no longer relying on the corrupt regimes in the Middle East. Since this was an important win in the MAGA movement, could Democrats toss this opportunity in the waste bin for the next two to four years?
Kicking the Foreign Oil Addiction
For the first time in 35 years, the United States did not import a single barrel of crude oil from Saudi Arabia in the final week of 2020. This could be the trend over the next few weeks since Saudi tankers take a little more than a month to reach import terminals. Shipments from Riyadh had also been on the decline since November when the Kingdom delivered only 73,000 barrels per day (bpd) to American customers.
After a couple of years of record output, U.S. inventories are ample enough to power the country and ship crude to the rest of the world. Saudi Arabia is telling the market that it is tightening supply. Either way, it is a crucial development for an administration that aimed to kick the addiction to foreign oil.
What a Difference 40 Years Make
In the 1970s, the U.S. endured one of the worst energy crises in the nation’s history. In July 1979, then-President Jimmy Carter delivered his famous “malaise speech” where he promised that “the United States would never again use more foreign oil than we did in 1977.”
His successors, from Presidents Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush, failed to achieve this dream. Crude oil imports peaked at 40 million barrels bpd in 2009. It was not until the COVID-19 pandemic that crude imports fell to their lowest levels in about 25 years.
Since 1953, the U.S. has been a net energy importer. This changed in 2019. As Liberty Nation reported at the time, the U.S. became a net energy exporter, allowing the world’s largest economy to enjoy an oil renaissance and energy revolution.
A successful concoction of hydraulic fracturing (fracking), federal deregulation, and good old-fashioned American ingenuity led to the country’s independence from the Middle East. Liberty Nation‘s Onar Am explained in December 2019 just how critical this is for the U.S.:
“America’s newfound status as energy independent is a double whammy. First, it gives greater freedom and security to the American people. It is fueling an economic boom at home and reducing the need for protecting oil trade routes in the Middle East. Second, the same powers that before had a grip on America now find themselves in the opposite position: They must pander to the U.S.”
The only thing that could threaten this resurgence would be the left. President-Elect Joe Biden may follow through on his promise of destroying the oil and gas sector, and Democrats might keep their word on banning fracking. With a trifecta of control in Washington, this is a genuine – and terrifying – prospect for a fragile economy and cash-strapped consumers who have benefited from lower energy costs.
Experts Keep Getting It Wrong
Any time the energy market is disrupted, some expert proclaims that this is the end of the oil industry. There has been talk of peak oil going back to the 1970s, only for the sector to uncover a vast Texas tea reservoir to fuel the world for another generation. With the introduction of fracking, the U.S. has discovered an immense amount of crude and natural gas. When oil prices cratered to below zero at the height of the coronavirus pandemonium, green energy enthusiasts hopped on their soapboxes and held the Book of Gore, shrieking to the heavens that the death of oil is nigh.
Fast forward a year. Prices have stabilized, the U.S. oil and gas industry has recovered, and America is still energy independent. Despite the government’s lip service to keeping the black gold in the ground, politicians return to reality and understand the enormous economic benefits – and historic contributions – of fossil fuels.
Read more from Andrew Moran.