How to Cut Our Dependence on Foreign Oil: Step 1

Stop exporting oil.  In 2006, while importing $331 billion worth of oil, we also exported $36 billion worth.  In other words, we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil by over 10% overnight by taking this one simple step.  Natural resources should be traded away only when they exist in excess.  It makes no sense at all to trade them away when you don’t even have enough to support the needs of your own people. 

By the way, when economists point to a rise in exports as proof that the falling dollar is helping our trade deficit, how much of that rise is due to oil exports?  A lot.  In June, the U.S. exported a record $5.7 billion worth of oil.  That’s an annual rate of $68.4 billion worth of oil, a 90% increase over the 2006 rate. 

Isn’t it just common sense that we should stop exporting oil?

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6 Responses to How to Cut Our Dependence on Foreign Oil: Step 1

  1. FJ says:

    it’s laughable that gas prices are rising while few people realize that the US exports so much of its oil every year. it makes no sense when you think about it…and we want to drill in Alaska and other places? Seems like we have plenty right here at home!

  2. Robert says:

    Pete,

    This is certainly news to me, where are we exporting the oil to? I agree with you on this one. By the way, I was listening to Coast to Coast am last night and they had a guest by the name of David Blume discussing his new book “Alcohol Can be a Gas” It provides a very simple and fascinating way of eliminating our need for oil. His website is:

    http://www.permaculture.com/

  3. Clyde Bollinger says:

    The vast amount of our oil exports are almost mandated by the emvironmental protection rules that prohibit it being used here. High sulphur content is the primary cause. The procedure is to strip out all that we can use and export the unusable balance. In all probability there are other less pertinent reasons, some of a more profitable nature, but as I understand the situation, the chemical makeup is prime. If this is true, then it is logical for the oil company to recover as much as possible.

  4. Pete Murphy says:

    Robert, I saw a station carrying E85 for the first time two days ago. It was priced at $3.66 / gallon while regular was priced at $4.20 / gallon. In terms of fuel efficiency, it’s probably a wash between the two but at least the folks filling up with E85 weren’t adding a penny to the trade deficit.

  5. Pete Murphy says:

    About a third of our oil exports are going to Canada and Mexico. The rest is scattered all over the world. I’m not sure why we do this. Clyde’s explanation sounds reasonable and there may be other business-related reasons as well. Perhaps the dirty oil Clyde talks about is cleaned up in countries where it can be done more cheaply and efficiently and then re-exported back to us. I also believe that some of our oil from Alaska is exported to Japan, but I’m relying on memory of an article that goes back at least several years. We also export some to Malaysia, Korea and the Netherlands.

  6. FJ says:

    Re: the oil export issue, keep in mind that the real reason is likely to keep Saudi Arabia happy, an important allly in the Middle East. Sticking our big noses in and keeping Israel happy tends to make other countries in the area kinda angry if you haven’t noticed, so we need Saudi Arabia to support us. It’s likely that we’re holding onto the possibility of keeping our own oil in-house as a trump card – “if you don’t do what we want, Saudis, we’ll start buying oil from other places and by the way, 10% of that will come from our own borders”.

    Additionally, our oil refineries are mostly in states of disrepair. Fires occur regularly and money isn’t spent on building more refineries or keeping the ones we have up to snuff. If we just made some sound, logical decisions – and these decisions could have been made years, even decades ago – it’s likely a good portion of the price increase we’ve seen over the past year or two in oil wouldn’t have occurred. Then again, it’s not very logical to build global economies on the basis of nonrenewable energy sources & then not plan for the day when those sources run out…the root of the problem goes pretty deep!

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