Forty Years On, Energy Independence is Closer, But Still Out of Reach

In November 1973, Americans were reeling from sky high gasoline prices, thanks to the Arab oil embargo.  President Richard Nixon set a goal of making the country energy independent by 1980.

Daniel Yergin is vice chairman of economic research firm IHS and author of The Quest.

“For most of the subsequent four decades, although presidents promised energy independence, it started to become a joke for late-night television comedians.”

By 2005, the U.S. was importing 60% of its oil. Today that total is down to 35%, exactly where it was in 1973.

“Our oil imports will continue to go down because of the growing production and because the automobiles and the trucks we drive are going to become more efficient, but we will continue for the foreseeable future to be an importer of oil.”

Yergin says an increasing share of total U.S. imports will come from Canada, rather than from more volatile regions overseas.

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