American Dependency on Foreign Oil

From all sides of the political spectrum, we hear calls for decreasing or eliminating America's "dependence on foreign oil." To assess the validity of these calls, one must first understand the history of U.S. energy policy with respect to oil. 

During the Gilded Age of American industry, John D. Rockefeller founded what was to become Standard Oil in 1860. Rockefeller's innovative and competitive approach led Standard Oil to own upwards of 90 percent of the oil refining market (a fact which is often used to accuse Standard Oil of having become an abusive monopoly), but also dramatically lowered the price to consumers from 58 cents to eight cents a gallon (a fact which is often played down or entirely left out).

But by the 1920s, oil prices had peaked causing many to believe that oil would soon run out. This prompted Congress to put in place generous tax allowances for producers, which prompted further investments and ultimately led to the discovery of large, new oil reserves.

But then, with prices dropping, demands for price supports and restricted competition emerged. Consequently, President Roosevelt, in 1933, created the "Petroleum Code", handing the Secretary of the Interior vast powers to fix prices, dictate wages and hours, limit production, and control the importation of oil. The Code enabled what is known as "pro-rationing" whereby the Interior Department, through local agencies, restricted production. With production curtailed, prices rose again. 

Meanwhile, oil production elsewhere, particularly in the Middle East, took off. A combination of high demand and rising domestic oil costs ushered in a willingness to purchase oil from outside the United States: In 1948 the U.S. officially became a net importer of oil.

As imports of lower cost oil surged, domestic producers lobbied Congress to impose oil import quotas, which President Dwight Eisenhower established in 1959. The government quotas dictated how much crude oil and refined products would gain entry into the country and gave preference to imports from Canada and Mexico.

Excluding players of the Persian Gulf from an open exchange depressed Middle Eastern oil prices. As a response, four Persian Gulf countries—Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia—along with Venezuela, founded Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in September of 1960. By 1973, Algeria, Ecuador, Gabon, Indonesia, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates had joined, although Ecuador and Gabon withdrew in the 1990s.

In 1973 OPEC caused a sharp increase in oil prices, which many believe was the result of OPEC embargoing the U.S. for its support of Israel in the 1973 "Yom Kippur" War. But the price increase was actually achieved by a reduction in crude oil output in order to raise profits. In essence, this has been OPEC's agenda ever since. 

The resulting shortages and long gas lines in the U.S. were a consequence of wage and price controls brought on by President Nixon in 1971 as a part of the Economic Stabilization Act. Such price controls prevented the price of crude oil from reaching market-based levels. When the amount of oil people sought to consume exceeded the amount available at government-approved prices, shortages were the logical outcome. In response to a tumbling economy, President Carter and later Reagan worked to repeal the price controls.

Today, the concerns over the role of oil in the U.S. economy continue. The Left focuses mainly on the environmental consequences of abundant use of and continued demand for oil, the rising profits from oil to producers, the role of speculators, and the price increases to consumers. The Right warns of the security risk associated with purchasing oil from politically unstable or outright hostile regimes and thus pushes for relaxation of domestic drilling restrictions. And both assert that oil's heyday as a cheap and plentiful fuel has ended, as the earth's natural oil supply is running out and rising economies across the world ramp up their oil demands.

Those skeptical of the idea that dependency on oil, foreign or domestic, is a major problem argue that claims of "dependency" fundamentally misconstrue the matter. Oil has raised our standard of living enormously and being "independent" would likely mean a drastic reduction in economic progress and well-being. Apart from that, higher prices and dwindling reserves (if real) will make exploration and significant investment in alternative energy sources ultimately more profitable, provided that such market incentives are not distorted by government intervention. As for security, the skeptics contend, while the Middle East accounts for about a third of the planet's oil production and oversees the majority of its known reserves, the U.S. actually only receives about 17 percent of its imported oil from the Persian Gulf region.

Critics of the dependency notion also consider attacks against OPEC to be overblown. Though OPEC is in many respects a voluntary cartel, it faces the age-old problem of collusion: the temptation for cartel members to cheat. Moreover, oil is a "fungible" commodity, meaning it can be resold among buyers, which means OPEC states have no control over where their oil is ultimately delivered once sold. And, while OPEC's composition of governments that either own outright or heavily regulate oil production does distort oil prices, U.S. politicians complaining about this fact might be considered disingenuous if they support U.S. government policy that is, albeit different in degree, essentially the same in nature.

This topic page will provide you with information on the history of American oil production and consumption, on the development and effects of American energy policy, as well as on many issues pertaining to the economics and politics of oil.

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"Recently, Newsweek invited its Twitter followers to suggest topics to discuss here on this blog. We had a great response and a lot of ideas. But I noticed that one theme kept coming up: Is the world running out of oil?

This is a legitimate question, and one that those of us at ExxonMobil hear frequently; so, I’d like to address it.

Oil is not the world's only energy source — it...

"President Obama may be traveling the country this week to tout his energy policy, but the oil market's attention is focused on Saudi Arabia and its production plans.

The kingdom's oil minister insisted this week that oil markets are amply supplied and that it stands ready to boost output. Its council of ministers asserted that excessively high petroleum prices threaten the global...

Turmoil in the Middle East certainly plays a role in domestic oil prices, but this isn't the whole story. In fact, our drastic increase in gas costs is due to American political policies to unilaterally raise the price of energy, seemingly on purpose.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries' (OPEC) world influence closely aligns with with the wax and wane of oil prices. This brief overview sheds light on OPEC's founding, it's embargo during the 1970's, role in the Gulf War, and the organization's modern status.

"So far this year America's dependence on Saudi Arabian oil has increased by 20 percent, according to a front-page article in the New York Times.... After nearly four years in office, that the United States is even more dependent on Middle East oil is shocking testimony to the failure of the Obama Administration's energy policies."

"As oil prices ticked above $115 per barrel last week, a White House leak revealed that President Barack Obama may dip into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), the United States' 695 million barrel stockpile of emergency fuel supplies. The leak might have been a signal that Washington wants Gulf countries to take action to lower oil prices. It might also have been an attempt to wring the...

According to Anthony de Jasay, high oil prices are often blamed on profit-loving oil companies. In Europe, however, a large portion of the price at the pump goes to oil taxes. The author goes on to explain that the government wishes to retain these high taxes in order to keep European gasoline consumption low.

A sharp increase in oil prices suggests an imbalance in opinion from participants who believed prices would go one way or another. But if this were the case, wouldn't prices fluctuate up and down, not just up? Perhaps speculators are colluding to reap investments, but Taylor and Van Doren say this is unlikely.

One one side of the oil prices debate, speculators are considered evil and manipulative. But on the other side, speculators are dismissed as completely detached from the real policy issues. Which side is right?

"Are gasoline shortages and lines at the pump just around the corner? Some say it’s 1973 all over again. Or is it?"

"Less than 46% of each barrel of crude oil gets processed into 'finished motor gasoline' according to the EIA. So what gets produced from the other 54% of each barrel of crude oil?"

According to Mark Perry, "By relying so heavily on imported oil, we are held hostage to events halfway around the world." Perry goes on to explain how events in the Middle East contribute to skyrocketing gasoline prices and suggests that America should try to replace its foreign oil dependence with more domestic drilling.

"Big Oil is redrawing the energy map.

For decades, its main stomping grounds were in the developing world—exotic locales like the Persian Gulf and the desert sands of North Africa, the Niger Delta and the Caspian Sea. But in recent years, that geographical focus has undergone a radical change. Western energy giants are increasingly hunting for supplies in rich, developed countries—a...

"BP may be struggling to manage the Deepwater Horizon oil spill but its publication of key energy data goes on. The latest figures from BP's annual Statistical Review of World Energy show that world oil consumption fell by 1.2m barrels per day (bpd) in 2009, the second consecutive annual decline and the largest volume since 1982.

Other key findings are:

• The world's oil...

"Face wrapped in a thick scarf against clouds of blinding dust, the electrician gazed at a maze of pipes and pumps teeming with 15,000 workers and said his work was like building the Tower of Babel.

He was speaking casually. But for the oil industry Kashagan, the world's biggest discovery since 1968 with reserves locked amid lethal, high-pressure gases beneath the north Caspian Sea, is...

"While many of the factors that have caused the oil-price spike appear to be fleeting, there may be no respite from Chinese demand for the foreseeable future.

And just as oil is seen driving American foreign policy, so too are China's geopolitical strategies increasingly influenced by the country's inability to meet its energy needs solely through domestic production."

Using informative graphics, Yeoman outlines the history of the American and Chinese quest for "oil security".

Since the 1970's, Americans have been wary of Middle-Eastern politics and the potential effects of unrest to disrupt oil supplies to the United States. Economists call this worry of immediate and catastrophic oil shortage an "oil shock". But is the U.S. really as vulnerable to disruptions in the world oil market as many think?

"Mr. Pickens is trying to sell Congress something called the Pickens Plan, a madcap, Rube Goldberg political contraption designed to appeal to the worst elements of American politics — corporate self-dealing, xenophobia, economic illiteracy — while directing billions of dollars of subsidies into businesses in which Mr. Pickens has a financial interest. The plan goes like this: T. Boone Pickens...

In the wake of the BP oil spill, a federal moratorium prohibits deepwater drilling in American waters in the Gulf of Mexico. Although Cuba currently produces very little oil, a Spanish company plans to begin drilling 50 miles from the Florida Keys, in Cuba waters. Many worry Cuba is ill-prepared for safe drilling and that an oil disaster could quickly affect the U.S. coasts.

Perry argues that the best way for America to unchain itself from OPEC and monitor greenhouse gas emissions is to develop more oil and gas drilling in the U.S. and utilize Canada's extensive oil sands. Despite rhetoric against American dependence on foreign oil, politicians have avoided drilling in the deep waters of the Atlantic Coast and the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

The International Energy Agency foresees that Chinese oil demand will spike 75% between 2008 and 2035. China will continue to develop alternative resources, but oil will remain the primary source of energy. Unprecedented demand for oil translates into rising prices per barrel.

"The lofty goal of energy independence gets a lot of publicity from politicians in both parties, but the concept makes no economic sense. It would do us good to approach the problem more rationally."

This article and its corresponding charts declare that oil production typically peaks soon after oil discovery peaks. Declaring that oil discovery has already peaked around the world, this piece implies that oil production will shortly peak and decline rapidly thereafter.

"Big numbers make headlines – like our announcement of $10.7 billion in earnings for the first quarter of 2011. What may not make the headlines is the context surrounding that number, so I thought I would share with you what I told reporters following the announcement:

When crude oil prices increase it means higher earnings for oil companies, and more importantly for most Americans –...

"Although considerable attention has been given to the role of market speculation in recent price volatility, many energy experts say demand is rising and oil supplies are increasingly constrained, which puts upward pressure on oil and, consequently, gas prices. Political unrest in the Middle East, a recovering global economy, and revived demand in the emerging markets have all contributed to...

"U.S. energy companies are pumping so much natural gas out of the ground that prices are plummeting, and the cheap gas isn't likely to evaporate anytime soon.

Natural-gas prices fell 5.7% Wednesday to their lowest level in over two years—good news for people who use gas to heat homes and for companies that use it to power factories.

For U.S. energy companies, however, the...

Back in 2005, the authors reflected on why gas prices had risen to two dollars a gallon. Part of the reason, they believe, is that, "Gasoline markets today are increasingly global rather than regional in nature. For example, European governments tax diesel fuels less than gasoline and European motorists have responded by using diesel. Accordingly, European refineries make more gasoline than...

In the wake of 9/11, many American politicians have called for a reduced reliance on Middle Eastern oil and more government subsidies for domestic alternative-fuels. However, authors Taylor and Van Doren claim that this was the same ineffective approach engineered by the Carter administration in the 1970's.

"House Republicans passed legislation Thursday that would require the U.S. government to offer up offshore areas for oil and gas leasing, part of a wide-ranging GOP effort to expand domestic energy production amid $4 per gallon gas.

The bill is the first in a three-part legislative push by House Republicans on drilling. Two related drilling bills are expected to come up for a vote on...

"The United States imported about 51% of the petroleum,1 which includes crude oil and refined petroleum products, that we consumed during 2009. Just over half of these imports came from the Western Hemisphere. Our dependence on foreign petroleum is expected to decline in the next two decades."

"A cyber attack earlier this month highlighted the vulnerability of the Saudi oil industry, on which so much of the world depends. A recent simulation showed that a full-scale terror attack at Abqaiq, where Saudi Arabia processes six million barrels of oil a day, would hugely bolster Iran and bring economic ruin to parts of the world."

"Geologic formations may contain large quantities of oil or gas, but have a poor flow rate due to low permeability, or from damage or clogging of the formation during drilling. This is particularly true for tight sands, shales and coalbed methane formations.

Hydraulic...

Ezra Klein shies away from blaming speculators for rising oil prices. Instead, he warns of Saudi Arabia's reduced oil production, combined with China's increased demand.

"Mr. Obama, speaking at Georgetown University, set out a multi-pronged approach to reaching that goal: finding and producing more oil in the United States, boosting fuel efficiency, and turning to cleaner alternative fuels. And while he is not as open to domestic oil drilling as some Republicans would like, he did try to reposition himself as a drilling-friendly president, even as he pushed...

"The debate over Hugo Chávez has been dominated by opposing caricatures -- a polarization that has thwarted a sound policy response. The Venezuelan president has an autocratic streak, no viable development model, and unsettling oil-funded aspirations to hemispheric leadership. But Washington and its allies should "confront" him indirectly: by proving they have better ideas."

"The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a continuing headache for the U.S. government, posing particularly tough decisions about the direction of U.S. energy policy. Jack Coleman, a former federal lawyer for energy policy issues who is now an industry lobbyist, criticizes the Obama administration's decision to place a moratorium on most new Gulf drilling."

"Keystone XL is an export pipeline. According to presentations to investors, Gulf Coast refiners plan to refine the cheap Canadian crude supplied by the pipeline into diesel and other products for export to Europe and Latin America. Proceeds from these exports are earned tax-free. Much of the fuel refined from the pipeline's heavy crude oil will never reach U.S. drivers' tanks."

"John has already noted what ought to have been above-the-fold news in every newspaper last week—the testimony of the GAO's head of natural resources that the U.S. has recoverable oil shale 'about equal to the entire world’s proven oil reserves.'  It wasn't front-page news, however, because it doesn't fit the liberal narrative and favorite talking point that the U.S. only has '2...

"The earth’s natural resources are finite, which means that if we use them continuously, we will eventually exhaust them. This basic observation is undeniable. But another way of looking at the issue is far more relevant to assessing people’s well-being. Our exhaustible and unreproducible natural resources, if measured in terms of their prospective contribution to human welfare, can actually...

"The anti-tax hardliners at the National Taxpayers Union are pumping $1.25 million into an ad campaign that blames President Obama for high gas prices. But the White House hasn't 'banned' fossil fuel production in the U.S. as the ad claims, and the $4 billion in taxpayer money we spend every year to subsidize oil companies isn't doing anything to hold gas prices down. According to NTU, Obama's...

"With rising gas prices continuing to shock consumers every time they fill up their fuel tanks, President Obama is repeatedly reminding Americans that his policies are part of the solution not, as his political opponents claim, part of the problem.

And so on Wednesday, just two weeks or so after he gave his last lengthy defense of his administration's energy policies, he delivered yet...

"Obama might have had at least a plausible case against the Keystone XL Pipeline if it had been the first one to cross from Canada into the United States. Whether you agreed with the president or not, he credibly could have argued that protecting America’s pristine habitat is so important that we should not lay a pipeline to carry 1.1 million barrels per day of friendly oil across America’s...

"Indeed, recent advances in the technologies used for oil and gas exploration are saving the U.S. economy hundreds of millions of dollars per day, creating lots of high-paying jobs, decreasing the need for foreign oil, and spurring manufacturing growth, which is leading to billions of dollars of new investment (and even more jobs). Yet, the Obama administration is using its fiscal year 2013...

"Like most presidents since the 1973 oil crisis, Mr. Obama may be stymied on the grand issues of energy security, let alone preventing further climate change caused by fossil fuels. Making peace with Republicans on energy policy may not be possible. But at the very least the president has made a savvy move to position himself as an energy activist. He’s also staked out a position that can...

"President Obama’s blame of speculators is a costly barrier to fixing bad government policy that restricts oil and gas exploration onshore and offshore here at home.

Oil futures markets can affect prices at the pump by changing the amount of gasoline delivered to gas stations. If producers anticipate higher prices in the future, they might take some oil off the market today and wait to...

"President Obama claims to see the need to create jobs at this time of endless 9-plus percent unemployment -- yet his administration continues to relentlessly destroy jobs for ideological reasons. The best example may be the Obama Environmental Protection Agency’s 'war on coal.'

The EPA’s regulatory crusade directly threatens hundreds of thousands of jobs -- and 'rolling blackouts' that...

"As political upheaval spreads across North Africa and into the Persian Gulf, 2011 may turn out to be as momentous a year for global oil markets as 1971, the year when the nature of the region's petro-states first took shape."

"The Brits have had a rather interesting response to the American Outrage over the GoM spill: With less than 5% of the world’s population, the US consumes 25% of the world’s oil production.

They believe we are being hypocritical in our outrage — if we were all that concerned, argues the Brits, we would not have been so profligate in our consumption, love affair with the SUV, and refusal...

Produced by the Council on Foreign Relations, this interactive timeline provides a historical overview of the growth and production of the oil industry. In particular, the timeline and its commentary charts the change from American dominance of oil to foreign dominance and American dependence.

"A recent report on the November 2009 U.S. trade deficit found that rising oil imports widened our deficit, increasing the gap between our imports and exports. This is but one example that our economic recovery and long-term growth is inexorably linked to our reliance on foreign oil. The United States is spending approximately $1 billion a day overseas on oil instead of investing the funds at...

"Oil Depletion Allowance refers to deductions allowed in petroleum industry taxation. ...

The oil depletion allowance has been an integral part of the U.S. taxation system applied to oil since the end of World War I (1916–1918). First called the 'discovery depletion,' the allowance evolved to the 'percentage depletion' in 1926 when, regardless the amount invested, corporations deducted...

"When oil prices hit record levels, many people look for a scapegoat, and hugely profitable oil companies are an easy target. Even so, the typical political 'solutions' overlook the crucial role that market prices play in resource allocation, both among competing uses in different areas of the world today and among competing uses in different time periods (i.e. today versus the future)....

"There’s been a lot of press lately regarding rising oil prices’ potential impact on the US economy. And there’s certainly some impact—but while recently rising oil prices could be marginally negative for US consumers, the US economy is better prepared to deal with high energy prices than many believe."

"Proven oil reserves are likely to be far larger than reported because of the way the capacity of oilfields is estimated and how those estimates are added to form the proven reserves of a company or a country. Companies add the estimated capacity of oil fields in a simple arithmetic manner to get proven oil reserves. This gives a deliberately conservative total deemed suitable for shareholders...

"As oil prices continue to break records, people grow more restless and the politicians become more desperate to find a target for public outrage. Besides the easy scapegoat of 'Big Oil,' the politicians, pundits, and now even the CEOs of major airlines are blaming 'Big Speculators.' ...

In this article, I make three main points. First, the theory of speculators driving oil prices does...

Mabro discusses the historical, economic, political and policy facets of the "oil weapon" scare. Drawing upon the oil unrest of 1973, Mabro asserts, "The oil weapon is a blunt instrument. It is not possible to embargo a country or a set of countries without significant overall production cuts. The policy will then harm friends and foes alike. The reason is that the international trade in oil...

Oil, as a "fungible" commodity has had predictable changes in price when it comes to inflation, embargo, price controls, technology, and business cartels. Zycher's entry analyzes the role of OPEC in the world oil market since 1960.

"Saudi Arabia, leader of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is discreetly boosting oil production as prices nudge $100 a barrel, the International Energy Agency reports amid growing unrest triggered by mounting fuel and food prices in Arab states.

However, Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members have indicated that they see no reason to increase output to curtail prices that...

"With a fragile world economic recovery from the worst recession in 70 years, what is the next ceiling for oil prices?"

Amid rising gasoline prices in the summer of 2011, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries decided to keep oil production levels at the same rate. According to this piece, "Gulf delegates have been pushing in recent days for an increase of one million to 1.5 million barrels a day. But some other OPEC members criticized the plan, arguing that the global oil supplies are sufficient and...

Sen. Jay Rockefeller advocates tapping America's Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a means for alleviating skyrocketing gas prices.

In the months following the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, an investigative panel suggested that more government oversight and regulation of oil production in the United States was necessary. This article describes the various sides of this issue, noting that one individual in particular suggested "that the government should push for development of alternative energy sources instead of...

In this piece, Russ Roberts scoffs at those who believe oil will soon run out. According to Roberts, "'experts' have been warning us of the peril of running out of oil for decades." Roberts concludes by declaring "I prefer prices to 'real leadership.'"

This piece discusses the age old problem of price controls. As an example, Rockoff uses the gasoline price controls of the 1970s to demonstrate the economic loss this type of policy brings to individuals and society.

"Elites in oil rich countries are investing heavily in renewable energy forms in part because selling oil to addicts like Americans makes them a lot more money than selling that same oil to their own citizens.

Take Saudi Arabia, for example. The Saudi government recently announced a $100 billion investment in nuclear and renewable energy -- with the stated goal of increasing the amount...

"President Obama spoke from the White House's South Lawn this morning, urging Congress to end the $4 billion in tax subsidies oil and natural gas companies receive from the government every year. Obama noted that 'Exxon pocketed nearly $4.7 million every hour' last year, and simply doesn't need taxpayer subsidies on top of companies' massive profits."

With current gas prices skyrocketing, some politicians have advocated tapping America's Strategic Petroleum Reserve to bring consumer relief at the pump. The debate over accessing the SPR, the authors say, misses the point. Should the federal government even be in the commodities business? After all, the SPR was established after Saudi Arabia's oil embargo in 1973, not as a buffer against high...

"The discovery of the Spindletop oilfield had an almost incalculable effect on world history, as well as Texas history. Eager to find similar deposits, investors spent billions of dollars throughout the Lone Star state in search of oil and natural gas. The cheap fuel they found helped to revolutionize American transportation and industry."

"Guy Benson’s recent report about a lifelong New Jersey Democrat who already is so fed up with Obama-Pelosi-Reid shenanigans that she pulled the lever for Chris Christie is one pebble in the avalanche of opinion holding that Republicans are due for a big year in 2010. Maybe the Republican optimists are right: I’m no good at electoral prognosticating, so I’ll defer here to the psephological...

A recent study on behalf of the Senate's Joint Economic Committee has displayed a link between the Federal Reserve's efforts to boost the economy and a spike in gas prices. Since oil is traded by the dollar, oil prices rise when the dollar weakens, in order to compensate for the difference. Loose money, the study illustrates, hurts the consumer.

Due to misinterpretations in previous years, ExxonMobil blogger Ken Cohen decides to breakdown the expenses related to oil production in the United States. According to Cohen, the ExxonMobil company has actually paid more in taxes than it has received in "U.S. operating earnings."

"Many strange explanations have been floated to persuade us that the brutal rise in the price of crude is not due to excessive consumption nor sluggish production. An OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) minister said recently in all seriousness that because of under-investment in refining, refinery capacity was short, therefore gasoline and diesel prices went up, which pulled...

Combating the idea that the world will eventually run out of oil resources, Don Boudreaux declares the following:

"...the relevant constraint on our getting oil out of the ground is not any scarcity of the physical amount of oil that exists in the ground as much as it is the scarcity of our ingenuity and resources for use in that endeavor. As this ingenuity and these resources become...

This piece describes how nations which operate their oil production through the state rather than through private enterprise suffer and have many disastrous economic repercussions. Martinez relates this idea to Venezuela, noting that "the Venezuelan petro-state's extravagant squandering of resources, its massive subsidies which only reward inefficiency, the crude...

According to this piece, Saudi Arabia's former oil minister believes that oil will soon become a thing of the past. Interestingly, the oil minister reached this conclusion through the belief that alternative energy sources will take oil's place, rather than the belief that the world's oil reserves are running out.

According to Russ Roberts, the "fear that we’re running out of oil or some other key resource is a steady feature of the worrying class." Roberts then condemns the moaning and groaning of the pundits, opining that "the worriers are trying to exploit the recent spike in gasoline prices to push public policy in directions that won’t happen otherwise."

"Oil and gas companies are allowed to write off many of their capital costs immediately, and many can take deductions for so-called 'percentage depletion'--which has no connection with actual expenses. The purpose of these tax subsidies is to encourage domestic oil and gas production--and apparently consumption.

Having provided these subsidies, Congress then has recognized that it is...

"The Middle East, as virtually everyone knows, is the repository of half of the world’s proven oil reserves, the locus of vital shipping lanes and the heartland of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. Events there directly affect the U.S. economy and its national security, which is why we almost universally view this region as one of paramount importance. That the U.S. military presence has...

"In 1973 the Arab oil-exporting countries stunned the world by announcing that they were cutting oil production and placing an oil embargo on the United States and the Netherlands. Now, 35 years later, fears about the security of oil supplies are provoking concern that Iran or a similarly hostile country might have recourse to some form of the oil weapon again. However, upon examination of the...

Although Americans spend a lot of time worrying about competing with Chinese production, Williamson stresses that we are also competing with the Chinese for consumption, namely consumption of oil. Devalued American dollars do not help our negotiations with OPEC.

"Two summers ago, natural gas cost $4.50 per thousand cubic feet, which was less than half what it had cost two summers earlier. Today the price is under $2.50, as unconventional natural gas production has increased to 20% of domestic supply from 5% in 2008, with 40% anticipated by 2020.

Meanwhile, North Dakota's Bakken/Three Rivers field produces 600,000 barrels a day of unconventional...

"Europe and the US seem to be addicted to oil and unable to pursue their security interests and moral values in regard to Saudi Arabia. US government reports indicate Saudi support for terrorism and the lack of counter-terrorism coopertation. The State Department determined the non-existence of religous freedom in Saudi Arabia and the non-compliance with the minimum standards for the...

"Don Hastings (R-WA) Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee has just introduced 3 bills to increase US off-shore energy production. The purpose of course is to put people back to work, lower gasoline prices for the consumer, cut costs to businesses and consumers to allow more dollars to be put back into our economy and to make the US less reliant on foreign energy including OPEC."

"Must it always be opposite day in Washington? Petroleum and gasoline prices are surging while the Obama Administration and its allies seem intent on making things worse. Instead of taking actions to increase supplies of petroleum and gasoline, the Administration pursues policies to restrict U.S. access to its own petroleum, ban imports of vast quantities of Canadian oil, and drive up costs of...

"The following timeline presents the primary economic regulations effecting the Energy industry today, as well as historical factors which led to changes in legislation."

"The initial 1,700-mile pipeline [Calgary-based TransCanada], intended to carry a heavy crude known as tar sands from Alberta across seven U.S. states, has become a political issue. Citing rising gas prices and the need to create U.S. jobs, Republicans have criticized Obama for denying a permit last month and siding with environmentalists who say the crude's development would exacerbate...

Many politicians talk about "Energy independence", but in today's global economy, "independence" is not possible or even all that desirable. U.S. petroleum prices are inextricably linked to world markets. The U.S. government has long encouraged energy consumption while maintaining minimal energy production. J. Robinson West--chairman of the oil and gas consulting firm PFC Energy and former U....

"The biofuels revolution that promised to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil is fizzling out."

"Every president since Richard Nixon has called for the U.S. to wean itself from needing oil from unstable or unsavory countries. The nation's new-found energy riches are likely to bring that ambition closer to reality in the next two decades, according to many forecasters.

It's no pipe dream. The U.S. is already the world's fastest-growing oil and natural gas producer. Counting the...

Reports that Cuba may be opening its shores to drilling has sparked U.S. concern for environmental safety; however, Mexico--despite its boundary dispute with Cuba--urges talks.

"While the U.S. is absorbed in fighting the war on terror, the seeds of what could be the next world war are quietly germinating. With 1.3 billion people and an economy growing at a phenomenal 8% to 10% a year, China, already a net oil importer, is growing increasingly dependent on imported oil. Last year, its auto sales grew 70% and its oil imports were up 30% from the previous year, making...

"The United States is increasing its dependence on oil from Saudi Arabia, raising its imports from the kingdom by more than 20 percent this year, even as fears of military conflict in the tinderbox Persian Gulf region grow. The increase in Saudi oil exports to the United States began slowly last summer and has picked up pace this year. Until then, the United States had decreased its dependence...

"Venezuela has overtaken Saudi Arabia as the world leader in oil reserves with certified deposits leaping to 297 billion barrels at the end of 2010, President Hugo Chavez's government said Saturday.

There are suggestions that countries, including Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, have exaggerated their oil reserves in the past, though the producers deny doing so."

"Venezuela's proven oil reserves are among the top ten in the world. Oil generates about 80 percent of the country’s total export revenue, contributes about half of the central government’s income, and is responsible for about one-third of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). Increases in world oil prices in recent years have allowed Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to expand social...

This piece comments on the Standard Oil Trust case. According to Epstein, history shows that during Rockefeller's time in the oil industry, prices dropped dramatically, suggesting that Rockefeller's drive and ability to do exceptional business helped rather than hurt the American people.

"The world is heading for a catastrophic energy crunch that could cripple a global economic recovery because most of the major oil fields in the world have passed their peak production, a leading energy economist has warned.

Higher oil prices brought on by a rapid increase in demand and a stagnation, or even decline, in supply could blow any recovery off course, said Dr Fatih Birol, the...

"For most of last century the world's oil output was controlled by a few Western multinational corporations, despite the fact that much of the product came from the Middle East. In 1960, fed up by their limited voice in the international market, five major oil producing and exporting countries decided to organize to protect their interests and negotiate a better return on their resource.

...

"The recent press about the potential of shale gas would have you believe that America is now sitting on a 100-year supply of natural gas. It's a 'game-changer.' A 'golden age of gas' awaits, one in which the United States will be energy independent, even exporting gas to the rest of the world, upending our current energy-importing situation.

The data, however, tell a very different...

"Governments of oil-rich countries have a major influence on the world supply of oil through ownership of national oil companies and, for some governments, their membership in OPEC."

Chart or Graph

As the graphic illustrates, a majority of the world's proven oil reserves are heavily concentrated in the Middle East and Central and South America.

As the graph displays, the decline in U.S. Oil production in 1970 prompted a spike in importation.

"As soon as the Soviets discovered the vast Caspian Sea oil fields in the late 1970's, they attempted to take control of Afghanistan to build a massive north-south pipeline system to allow the Soviets to send their oil directly through Afghanistan and Pakistan to the Indian Ocean seaport."

"The moratorium will also cause a huge loss in wages for an already distressed workforce."

As presented above, this analysis estimates the total economic effects associated with stopping deepwater drilling. Using the BEA’s final-demand employment multipliers in Table A2 and the estimated production loss in Table 1 yields the expected losses in employment in Table 4.

These tables give a sense of the distribution of the jobs lost from the moratorium. A large portion of lost positions (approximately 38 percent) would be lost in high-skill fields, such as health care, real estate, professional services, manufacturing, administration, finance, education, the arts, information, and management.

Using the production estimates from Table 2 and the BEA multipliers in Table A2, the estimated decrease in economic output based on the estimated oil and natural gas production is presented in Table 3.

The present analysis applies a broad measure of the total tax revenues (from all sources) that federal, state, and local governments will lose from the moratorium on deepwater drilling.

"The [...] chart shows the percentage changes in the past five years off the 2006 baseline. You can see gasoline at about 46% of distillates usage is the driver for the big drop in petroleum right now."

The economic contributions of the coal industry (NAICS 2121) on the West Virginia economy are significant. For 2008, the economic impact of the coal industry was $19.78 billion of business volume (Table 7).

"The economic impacts of the West Virginia coal mining industry (NAICS 2121) on the state economy in 2008 by major industrial sector are presented in Table 8 (employment impacts)."

This chart depicts America’s consumption of wood, coal, hydroelectric power, petroleum, natural gas, and nuclear power from 1776 through 2007.

It is reasonable to assume that a state’s production is tied to its available reserves, and by association the state’s proximity to oil. Thus, to apportion total production to the GOM states, I use each state’s share of the total oil and natural gas reserves in the GOM.

The part of ExxonMobil’s business that refines and sells gasoline, diesel and other products in the United States represents less than 6 percent – or 6 cents on the dollar – of our earnings.

In 2010, ExxonMobil's total taxes and duties to the U.S. government and its subdivisions exceeded $9.8 billion, including more than $1.6 billion in income tax expense.

"In this report, we identify 10 vulnerable points along the supply chain or 'choke' points where disruption could interrupt a substantial volume of oil flow."

"Approvals [are] taking longer. Exploration and development plan approvals are down by more than 85 percent from previous levels; approvals of drill permits covered by those exploration and development plans show a decline from previous levels of nearly 65 percent (see Figure ES-2)."

Politicians often refer to tapping into our "domestic" energy resources. What are our actual sources here in America, and what do they yield?

"Although we are the third largest crude oil producer, about half of the petroleum we use is imported."

"The next chart shows the annual oil/gold relationship for the years 1969 through 2011. I have marked the oil embargo years when an ounce of gold would buy much less oil as well as the years when oil prices were deregulated and oil got cheaper."

A U.S. map of the areas the Obama administration has blocked for off-shore drilling.

"Don Hastings (R-WA) Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee has just introduced 3 bills to increase US off-shore energy production. The purpose of course is to put people back to work, lower gasoline prices for the consumer, cut costs to businesses and consumers to allow more dollars to be put back into our economy and to make the US less reliant on foreign energy including OPEC.

...

"The graphic pictured above gave a global breakdown of how much petroleum is used by countries, regions and continents."

Peak oil theory states: that any finite resource, (including oil), will have a beginning, middle, and an end of production, and at some point it will reach a level of maximum output as seen in the graph to the left.

"There are thus very few alternative outlets for oil exports from the Persian Gulf if the traffic, which represents approximately 14 Mb/d, going through Hormuz was compromised (figure 5)."

The Interprovincial Pipeline (now called Enbridge) was built in 1950, to carry crude oil from Edmonton, Alberta, to Superior, Wis. Canadian natural gas first passed into America via a pipeline under the Detroit River in 1895. Today, scores of pipelines traverse the U.S.–Canadian border, as this map shows.

"However, mathematically it is more accurate to add the proven oil capacity of individual fields in a probabilistic manner based on the bell-shaped statistical curve used to estimate the proven, probable and possible reserves of each field."

This Russian news-source provides a comprehensive infographic detailing OPEC exports and the basic internal OPEC power-structure.

"My experience suggests that if petroleum does not grow at least 0.8% year on year the economy is headed recessionary...."

"Gasoline usage history shows a small rise in '07, then a plunge in '08. Usage level for the next two years was flat, followed by a huge plunge now."

A 42-U.S. gallon barrel of crude oil provides slightly more than 44 gallons of petroleum products. This gain from processing the crude oil is similar to what happens to popcorn, which gets bigger after it is popped."

"OPEC member countries held over three-quarters of the world's proven oil reserves at the end of 2006."

In order to meet America’s rising oil and gasoline needs, do you favor or oppose drilling for oil and natural gas off the coast and in the continental United States?

In this survey, a group of Moms and Gen-Y members were asked the following question: "Do you favor or oppose drilling for oil and natural gas off the coast and in the continental United States?" A majority of both groups favored or strongly favored this proposition.

Petroleum prices catapulted in the 1970s and 1980s under the influence of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (opec). After that, as Figure 1 shows, real oil prices returned to their historical levels, until 2003, when oil prices increased significantly again."

"As represented in the ... [above] figure, global oil discovery peaked in the late 1960s. Since the mid-1980s, oil companies have been finding less oil than we have been consuming."

"The Strait of Hormuz forms a strategic link between the oil fields of the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean (figure 4)."

"Net imports have generally increased since 1985 while U.S. production fell and consumption grew."

"Western Hemisphere nations provide about half of our imported petroleum."

Finally, to understand how these economic impacts cascade through the broader US economy, IHS has conducted a state-level analysis of key economic indicators such as employment and tax revenues.

"By analyzing the total economic harm associated with the moratorium, Dr. Mason finds that there would be broad economic losses within the Gulf region and throughout the nation as a whole. Dr. Mason concludes that President Obama’s moratorium will have grave economic consequences for the Gulf and the nation."

The current study focuses on six different taxes which are levied on coal in the State of West Virginia.

Like average weekly wages, total coal mining wages per employee has been on the rise since 2001 (Figure 14). Wages per employee for the industry has had an average annual increase of 3.9 percent.

When a survey group consisting of Moms and individuals from Gen-Y was asked about their greatest national security concern, America's dependency on foreign oil was one of the highest.

A chart depicting America's petroleum supply compared to its petroleum consumption, starting at 1960 and projecting through 2030.

Looking specifically at oil, at least twelve major pipelines cross the Canadian frontier into the United States. As this map from the American Petroleum Institute indicates, oil and refined-product pipelines run throughout American soil in every direction.

Comparison recoverable oil from shale estimates done by Arthur Berman and the well operators.

A sustained slowdown in the Gulf of Mexico is already having a negative impact on job creation and domestic oil production, and will do so even more in 2012. The potential opportunities associated with a proactive approach by regulators to successfully restart the Gulf of Mexico 'engine' are significant.

In recent years, Venezuela has attempted to diversify its export destinations away from the United States. Besides the United States, other important destinations of Venezuelan petroleum exports include the Caribbean, Europe and Asia (see chart).

Underground coal mining employment in West Virginia has varied between 10,400 and 12,900 since 2001 while surface mining employment has increased (Figure 10).

According to Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ), Venezuela had 211 billion barrels of proven oil reserves in 2011, the second largest the world.

There is more to the price of gasoline than the cost of crude oil. Government taxes, distribution costs, refinement, and marketing all influence the price at the pump.

A chart depicting world oil supply disruptions from the nationalization of the Iranian oilfields in 1951 through Iraqi's invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

One potential outcome of the moratorium is that all production in the Gulf of Mexico stops because offshore drilling is deemed too dangerous. Although unlikely, repeating the analysis with this assumption can be a useful exercise by providing an idea of the total amount of output, employment, wages, and tax revenue at stake.

This is a graph that shows the usage trends of gasoline and petroleum between January 2007 and January 2012.

Analysis Report White Paper

"Large-scale federal intervention into America’s energy markets began in the 1930s and continued through the 1970s. A series of major laws and executive actions sought to control energy prices, regulate electric and gas utilities, and limit imports. Competition was stifled and domestic investment was suppressed."

A set of slides outlining changes in the United States’ energy policy and its growing dependence on foreign oil, from the Roosevelt administration through the administration of George W. Bush.

"On the contrary I show that a tax on crude would transfer wealth of $100+ billion a year from foreign governments to the US consumers, thus providing a major economic stimulus to the economy while at the same time reducing consumption of gas."

"The U.S. should place a priority on promoting domestic and regional oil and gas production, rather than increasing reliance on foreign sources."

According to these authors, American dependency on foreign oil is destructive to our nation and is especially detrimental to our environment. They advocate for a reduction in foreign oil imports, arguing that this will save the country money by not providing tax breaks to Oil companies and will also encourage more alternative energy sources.

"Proponents of intervention contend that gasoline markets are not competitive (with some accusing producers of price collusion), that fat profit margins induce little more supply than might otherwise be induced by healthy but 'reasonable' profit margins, and that the gasoline profits are largely unanticipated and unearned."

"Although economic considerations have a role in grand strategy, economic goals per se are inappropriate as national security objectives."

"Many Americans have lost confidence in their country’s 'energy security' over the past several years. Because the United States is a net oil importer, and a substantial one at that, concerns about energy security naturally raise foreign policy questions."

"Polling data during the 2008 campaign season found that soaring gasoline prices were, aside from the financial crisis, the most important single issue on the minds of voters."

"For fifty-five years, the United States and Saudi Arabia were solid partners. Then came the 9/11 attacks, which sorely tested that relationship. In Thicker than Oil, Rachel Bronson reveals why the partnership became so intimate and how the countries' shared interests sowed the seeds of today's most pressing problem--Islamic radicalism."

"Zone pricing in wholesale gasoline markets is a contentious topic in the public policy debate. Refiners contend that they use zone pricing to be competitive with local rivals. Critics claim that zone pricing benefits the oil industry and harms consumers."

"The global oil market is very vulnerable to potential supply disruptions, given that reserves are heavily concentrated among a handful of major producers and consuming centers are often far from producing basins. In this report, we identify 10 vulnerable points along the supply chain or 'choke' points where disruption could interrupt a substantial volume of oil flow. About 55 million b/d or...

"In this Outlook, I investigate the economic benefits of domestic oil production by comparing the effects of oil shocks on energy- and non- energy-producing states in the United States."

"The rise of OPEC is tied to a shifting balance of power from the multinational oil companies to the oil producing countries. Lacking exploration skills, production technology, refining capacity, and distribution networks, oil producing countries were unable to challenge the dominance of the oil companies prior to World War II."

Contrary to popular opinion of John D. Rockefeller, this article declares that his chief goal was to provide oil for the poor at a decent price. Folsom goes on to describe Rockefeller's strong work ethic and philanthropic spirit, while also describing his sharp and successful career in the oil business.

"The United States has allowed multiple large, vertically integrated oil companies to merge over the last five years, placing control of the market in too few hands. The result: uncompetitive domestic gasoline markets."

"Since the United States both consumes and imports more oil than any other country, the Task Force has concentrated its deliberations on matters of petroleum. In so doing, it reaches a sobering but inescapable judgment: the lack of sustained attention to energy issues is undercutting U.S. foreign policy and national security."

"The U.S. sends approximately one billion dollars a day overseas to import oil. While this figure is staggering by itself, the dangerous implications of our addiction are even more pronounced when analyzing where our money goes – and whom it helps to support. …"

"Peak oil is the simplest label for the problem of energy resource depletion, or more specifically, the peak in global oil production. Oil is a finite, non-renewable resource, one that has powered phenomenal economic and population growth over the last century and a half."

"The purpose of this paper is to determine whether the pre-dissolution Standard Oil Company actually used predatory price cutting to achieve or maintain its monopoly."

"When gasoline prices climb at the pump, as they inevitably do from time to time, it sparks contention about the industry, pitting drivers against retail station owners, station owners against oil companies, and oil companies against policymakers."

"This report presents the findings of the first stage of a longer research program that IHS CERA and IHS Global Insight are conducting to evaluate the pace of plan and permit approval in the post-moratorium environment in the Gulf of Mexico."

"America's dependence on foreign oil transfers U.S. dollars to a number of unfriendly regimes, while robbing the United States of the economic resources it desperately needs for domestic development and American innovation. American petrodollars fund regimes and economic investments that do not serve U.S. interests. And our enormous appetite for oil—America burns a full quarter of the world's...

This report provides a variety of charts and statistics gleaned from a survey of Moms and individuals from Generation Y. The research gives a glimpse into some of the deepest concerns American citizens are facing in 2011, including the economy and national security.

"The transportation of petroleum represents one of the most strategically important circulations of resources in the global economy. Its role cannot be overstated. Yet, petroleum has become a 'strategically invisible' commodity as its flow has been continuous with limited, but eye-opening, disruptions such as the First Energy Crisis is 1973. Petroleum supplies are virtually taken for granted....

"Many politicians and pundits are panicked over the existing state of the oil and gasoline markets. Disregarding past experience, these parties advocate massive intervention in those markets, which would only serve to repeat and extend previous errors. These interventionists propose solutions to nonexistent problems."

"In this report, Dr. Joseph R. Mason investigates the resultant economic effects if either moratorium is allowed to stand. By analyzing the total economic harm associated with the moratorium, Dr. Mason finds that there would be broad economic losses within the Gulf region and throughout the nation as a whole."

Imagine a team of doctors hovering over the bed of the U.S. economy. With charts in hand and apparatus all around them, the medical team confers about a patient that has been in intensive care since June of 2009, which is when the recession ended. While the patient listens, the senior physician makes a quick rundown.

"Among the most fashionable preoccupations in foreign policy circles is 'energy security.' Although it is unclear what exactly energy security means, foreign policy elites have long been concerned about reliance on foreign energy."

"The American public has long equated the cost of energy with whatever is happening at that moment with gasoline prices. This misplaced emphasis on short-term price fluctuations has been further fueled by media coverage that is largely limited to reports of minor changes in motor fuel or crude oil prices."

"No one likes paying more for gasoline (except maybe folks who have always resented America’s relatively cheap gasoline, its SUVs, and other signs of bourgeois opulence), but government-imposed price restrictions would only make matters worse."

"The U.S. invasion of Iraq to loot its oil and politically restructure the Middle East, is part of a policy of militaristic imperialism that the American and British ruling circles have been engaged in for several centuries. The American revolution was fought to bring the United States under new, non-British rulers, with the new regime sold to the public as a democracy. Beginning in the...

"There is increasing concern in the U.S. Congress about long-term federal transportation funding. This paper is designed to assist policymakers in assessing whether an oil tax would be a useful option for funding future expenditures on U.S. transportation infrastructure."

"The real problem we face over oil dates from after 1970: a strong but clumsy monopoly of mostly Middle Eastern exporters cooperating as opec. The biggest exporters have acted in concert to limit supply and thus raise oil’s price — possibly too high even for their own good. The output levels they establish by trial-and-error are very unstable."

"While the size and growth of the coal mining industry in West Virginia depends heavily on the strength of the national and global economies, both current and proposed public policies also have the potential to dramatically affect the future of the coal mining industry in the state...."

The U.S Energy Information Administration (EIA) has issued a summary of up-to-date projections for U.S. energy markets through year 2035, based on current known factors, policies and laws.

This piece goes on to present a positive history of John D. Rockefeller and his commitment to capitalism and strong business principles.

"An important policy consideration is the ability of cartels to control prices. Too often this issue is discussed without distinguishing between voluntary, or free market cartels and coercive, or state-supported cartels. This distinction is fundamental."

"Among the great misconceptions of the free economy is the widely-held belief that 'laissez faire' embodies a natural tendency toward monopoly concentration."

Video/Podcast/Media

"Testifying to a Senate Committee, the Secretary of the Treasury claimed that the world has plenty of oil that we could tap into if necessary, but he was talking about foreign oil because he’s part of an administration that is shutting off our domestic spigots. And so we pay high gasoline prices, lose jobs, and suffer trade imbalances because we’re not allowed to drill here but must import...

Don Boudreaux of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about when market failure can be improved by government intervention.

"Don Boudreaux of George Mason University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the recent surge in energy prices. They talk about why prices have risen, the implications for America's standard of living and the implications for public policy."

John Stewart addresses the history of the United States' attempts to achieve energy independence.

"Prof. Steve Horwitz addresses the common belief that the world is running out of natural resources. Instead, there are economic reasons why we will never run out of many resources. In a free market system, prices signal scarcity. So as a resource becomes more scarce, it becomes more expensive, which incentivizes people to use less of it and develop new alternatives, or to find new reserves of...

This hearing took place before the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and parses the economics behind U.S. dependence on foreign oil and rising gasoline prices. A transcript of the hearing is available here.

"There's been a lot of press lately regarding rising oil prices' potential impact on the US economy. And there's certainly some impact—but while recently rising oil prices could be marginally negative for US consumers, the US economy is better prepared to deal with high energy prices than many believe. Here are three charts to help put higher oil prices into perspective."

"Families are making big sacrifices just to keep their cars running. They're saying no to music lessons, braces, computers, and visits to relatives. Fortunately, there's a solution."

"On March 8, 2011, the Fordham Student Chapter of the Federalist Society hosted this panel discussion on natural gas drilling. Panelists included: Peter J. Cambs, The Cambs Law Firm LLP and Senior Litigation Counsel, Parker Waichman Alonso LLP; Christine A. Fazio, Partner, Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP; and Michael Joy, Partner, Lipman, Biltekoff & Joy LLP."

"Dr. Robert Murphy explains the relationship between the Federal Reserve and Energy Markets in front the Committee on Government Oversight and Reform."

"The current spike in oil prices sparked by unrest in the Middle East is not the first one to hit the United States. Traditionally, higher prices have prompted calls for American energy independence through alternative energy. But skeptics say such calls amount to little more than talk in a nation heavily dependent on cheap foreign oil. VOA New York Correspondent Peter Fedynsky takes a closer...

"America's dependence on foreign oil is not a new issue. Every president since Richard Nixon in 1974 has urged the nation to find alternatives to imported oil. It's an issue that has led the U.S. and other countries into war. Susan McGinnis takes a look at the security issues surrounding America's dependence on foreign oil. She speaks with retired Army Gen. Paul Eaton who knows the history of...

"President Barack Obama is directing his administration to ramp up U.S. oil production by extending existing leases in the Gulf of Mexico and off Alaska's coast and holding more frequent lease sales in a federal petroleum reserve in Alaska."

"President Obama spoke from the White House's South Lawn this morning, urging Congress to end the $4 billion in tax subsidies oil and natural gas companies receive from the government every year. Obama noted that 'Exxon pocketed nearly $4.7 million every hour' last year, and simply doesn't need taxpayer subsidies on top of companies' massive profits.

The president added, 'It's like...

"America’s experiment with laissez-faire capitalism in the 1800s was a disaster, historians tell us, because businessmen used anticompetitive tactics to form giant, invincible monopolies. The textbook example of these evils of Big Business is John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust. In an era before government regulations and antitrust laws, the story goes, Rockefeller wielded market power to...

"There are lot of different perspectives on how to solve America's oil dependency problem. Some would argue that government needs to make gas more expensive while subsidizing renewable energy. Others would argue that government needs to step out of the way and let American ingenuity take over. Learn more with this video and make up your own mind."

Primary Document

In the midst of the energy crisis of the 1970s, President Nixon framed his energy policy with the following words:

"Let this be our national goal: At the end of this decade, in the year 1980, the United States will not be dependent on any other country for the energy we need to provide our jobs, to heat our homes, and to keep our transportation moving."

In his State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush lays out several policy initiatives to "to build a future of hope and opportunity." These include energy, healthcare, spending reform, education, immigration and national security.

"Address by the Secretary General to the OPEC 50th Anniversary Ceremony, delivered by HE Abdalla S. El-Badri, OPEC Secretary General, at the Ceremony organised by the Islamic Republic of Iran's Ministry of Petroleum in Tehran, Iran."

El-Badri celebrates what he believes to be OPEC's milestone. He associates OPEC's prominence in the world oil market with vigilant competition, noting that...

This speech finds Gerald Ford scolding Congress for holding up energy independence legislation. Among other things, Ford declares his commitment to domestic energy production and a reduced dependence on foreign oil. This piece also provides some interesting perspective on historical oil prices and imports.

"This report was produced to assist the EPA Office of Policy, Economics, and Innovation (OPEI) in assessing environmental impacts associated with oil and gas production in Region 8. The report discusses several state, regional, and national policy initiatives designed to effect environmentally responsible oil and gas production. In addition, the report’s findings are intended to inform current...

Approved by President Roosevelt in 1933, this code attempted "[t]o meet the emergency in the petroleum industry; to increase employment, establish fair and adequate wages, enlarge the purchasing power of persons related to this industry and improve standards of labor; to conserve the Nation’s petroleum resources and to prevent physical and economic wastes which demoralize the national market...

"Venezuela is one of the world’s largest exporters of crude oil and the largest in the Western Hemisphere. The oil sector is of central importance to the Venezuelan economy. As a founding member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Venezuela is an important player in the global oil market."

In this brief statement, Congressman Ted Poe condemns what he sees as Hugo Chavez's attempt to manipulate American foreign policy through the promise of oil. Poe goes on to declare that "American dependence on foreign oil poses a national security risk. It makes no sense at all. And why are we paying dictators and tyrants to supply us with energy? We have all of the energy we need right here...

In this testimony, Dan Sullivan acts as a spokesman for Alaska's governor. According to Sullivan, Alaska is eager and willing to increase its oil production in order to provide more jobs and decrease American dependence on foreign oil. Sullivan is careful to note that Alaska desires to preserve its natural beauty and resources, but he also believes that oil production and resource protection...

"I HAVE today issued a Proclamation adjusting and regulating imports of crude oil and its principal products into the United States.

The Voluntary Oil Import Program has demonstrated to me the willingness of the great majority of the industry to cooperate with the Government in restricting imports to a level that does not threaten to impair security. I commend them, and to me it is...

"I AM TODAY further modifying Proclamation 3279, March 10, 1959, which established a mandatory oil import control program within the Department of the Interior.

The purpose of this amendment is to permit, effective April 1, 1961, the orderly entrance of new importers, who do not currently qualify as importers, into the residual fuel oil markets of the East Coast. These new importers...

This hearing before the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming focuses on the economics behind and possible public policy solutions to U.S. dependence on foreign oil and rising gasoline prices. Witnesses included representatives from the oil industry, business, farming, and the public sector. A video of the hearing can be found...

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, "The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct 2005) established a number of energy management goals for Federal facilities and fleets. It also amended portions of the National Energy Conservation Policy Act (NECPA)."

An act which, among other things: "Creates a Strategic Petroleum Reserve Office in the FEA. Requires creation of a Strategic Petroleum Reserve for storage of up to 1,000,000,000 barrels of petroleum products. Requires storage within three years of enactment of at least 150,000,000 barrels of petroleum products in such Reserve or in the Early Storage Reserve."

"Venezuela is the world's eighth- largest oil exporter and among the top 10 countries in total proven oil reserves. Venezuela also supplies about 11 percent of current U.S. imports of crude oil and petroleum products and wholly owns five refineries in the U.S. Consequently, Venezuela is a key player in the future energy security of the United States and the world.

The current global oil...

"Welcome to Part II of our hearings on the Environmental Protection Agency’s Mining Policies and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Assault on Appalachian Jobs.

The Appalachian region is being subjected to un-equal treatment under the law by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the arbitrary reason that it produces a domestic source of energy.

The United States...

A statement given by Erik Milito of the American Petroleum Institute addressing President Obama's March 30, 2011 speech on America's energy policy. Milito said, in part, "We hope the president will abandon energy politics in favor of energy policies that will provide Americans what they want and deserve: more energy, economic growth and more jobs. We have a million American jobs that we can...

"WHEREAS, in order to stabilize the economy, reduce inflation, and minimize unemployment, it is necessary to stabilize prices, rents, wages, and salaries; and

WHEREAS, the present balance of payments situation makes it especially urgent to stabilize prices, rents, wages, and salaries in order to improve our competitive position in world trade and to protect the purchasing power of the...

This public law is cited as "An Act To ensure that all oil and gas originated on the public lands and on the Outer Continental Shelf are properly accounted for under the direction of the Secretary of the Interior, and for other purposes."

"We've already made progress toward reducing that energy vulnerability. We've diversified our suppliers so that we are not unduly reliant on any single source. What's more, through the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, we've vastly improved our ability to respond flexibly to supply interruptions. And we have already begun moving on the path toward improved energy efficiency.

But we are, I...

"In his 2007 State of the Union Address, President Bush announced the 'Twenty in Ten' Initiative, a plan to reduce projected gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in 10 years."

A nationally broadcast radio and television address where Gerald Ford upbraided Congress for its lack of action and explained his own reasoning as he introduced tariffs on foreign oil and deregulation of domestic drilling. "When I talk about energy, I am talking about jobs. Our American economy runs on energy--no energy, no jobs. In the long run, it is just that simple.[...] I cannot sit here...

"H.R. 1230 would require the Department of the Interior (DOI) to auction offshore oil and gas leases in the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico, as well as in an area off the coast of Virginia. Specifically, H.R. 1230 would require the Secretary of the Interior to conduct offshore oil and gas lease sales as follows:

1. Lease sale 216 in the Central Gulf of Mexico 'as soon as...

A recounting of the words of Herbert Hoover concerning oil conservation and the issuing of oil "development" permits for public lands.

A telegram from Herbert Hoover protesting the distribution of pamphlets to oil workers that alleged Hoover had personal connections to foreign oil. "I HAVE your telegram stating that Democratic agents despite all proof to the contrary are still circulating misleading statements through the oil fields that I have been opposed to relief to the oil industry because of my supposed interest in...

"The United States relied on net imports (imports minus exports) for about 45% of the petroleum (crude oil and petroleum products) that we consumed in 2011. Just over half of these imports came from the Western Hemisphere. Our dependence on foreign petroleum has declined since peaking in 2005."

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter declared the following:

"Our Nation's energy problem is very serious—and it's getting worse. We're wasting too much energy, we're buying far too much oil from foreign countries, and we are not producing enough oil, gas, or coal in the United States."

Carter went on to describe how he intended to help the U.S. reduce its dependence on foreign oil,...

A letter from John Kennedy to the director of his campaign leader in Texas, explaining his position on oil depletion allowances. "I have consistently, throughout this campaign, made clear my recognition of the value and importance of the oil-depletion allowance. I realize its purpose and value are to provide a rate of exploration, development, and production adequate to our national security...

"BATON ROUGE (June 14, 2010) - The six-month drilling moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico will cripple Louisiana's economy and leave thousands of families without income, particularly in coastal Louisiana, where one in three jobs is related to the oil and natural gas industry. In Louisiana, oil and gas production can be divided into three industries - oil and gas extraction, refineries and...

In the midst of the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt encouraged limits on American petroleum production. This letter reports on several instances of the violation of these limits and suggests that more regulation needs to be in place in order to curb these tendencies.

In this testimony, Michael Greenstone discusses the cap on liabilities implemented by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. According to Greenstone, "The American people depend on the government to find an appropriate middle ground, and to determine the...

This document contains the original Mineral Leasing Act and its subsequent amendments up through 1990. According to the Council on Foreign Relations, the original Mineral Leasing Act "was designed to 'promote the mining of coal, phosphate, oil, oil shale, gas and sodium on the public domain'."

Obama's Weekly Address on gas prices:

The President admits that soaring gas prices are debilitating in an already ailing economy. He calls for fraud-regulation--overseen by the U.S. Attorney General--and increased domestic production. He promotes an end to taxpayer subsidies to oil, and also emphasizes environmental protections.

According to the EPA, "The Oil Pollution Act (OPA) of 1990 streamlined and strengthened EPA's ability to prevent and respond to catastrophic oil spills. A trust fund financed by a tax on oil is available to clean up spills when the responsible party is incapable or unwilling to do so. The OPA...

This Statute, published by OPEC in 2008, outlines the Organization's basic initiatives, objectives, membership, organs, and provisions.

Described as "AN ACT To provide for the jurisdiction of the United States over the submerged lands of the outer Continental Shelf, and to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to lease such lands for certain purposes," this law lays out various rules for oil drilling off the coast of the United States.

"This article presents a summary of the legislative and regulatory regime that affects natural gas and oil exploration and production in offshore regions of the United States. It discusses the role and importance of these areas as well as the competing interests surrounding ownership, production, exploration and conservation."

"Today I am announcing important new steps to reduce our reliance on foreign oil and fossil fuels, to protect our environment, and to keep our economy strong."

In a speech at Georgetown University, President Obama outlined his energy policy for the nation. While past presidents have continually argued for the need to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil, President Obama urged reduction on all oil dependency. Furthermore, the President condemned the idea that increased domestic oil drilling will solve the energy problems the nation faces.

A second radio address where Richard Nixon encourages Americans to make personal energy sacrifices. "In order to minimize disruptions in our economy, I asked on November 7 that all Americans adopt certain energy conservation measures to help meet the challenge of reduced energy supplies. These steps include reductions in home heating, reductions in driving speeds, elimination of unnecessary...

A nationally broadcast radio address where Richard Nixon spoke about the growing energy crisis.

"As America has grown and prospered in recent years, our energy demands have begun to exceed available supplies. In recent months, we have taken many actions to increase supplies and to reduce consumption. But even with our best efforts, we knew that a period of temporary shortages was...

Remarks wherein Richard Nixon addressed the growing energy crisis, saying, "We have heard a lot about a crisis. I do not use that term, because we do not face a crisis in that sense of the word. I would simply say that in the short term we face a problem, a problem with regard to energy--heating, for example, this winter, just as we thought we faced a problem of gasoline this summer, and the...

Remarks upon the occasion of the signing by Richard Nixon of a bill that changed time (H.R.11324).

"I AM pleased to sign today H.R. 11324, placing the United States on daylight saving time for a period of approximately 2 years, beginning at 2 a.m., Sunday, January 6, 1974.

We have taken a number of actions to meet the energy crisis, and more will have to be taken. Many require...

"President Nixon talks about several issues, including the energy situation and the Watergate investigation that recently came to the attention of the American public. Nixon calmly rejects the notions that he will be impeached or resign. He attempts to keep the conference focused on rising oil prices and shortages and indications that the country might spiral into a recession."

In Executive Order 12287, President Reagan overturned price controls on domestic oil production. This statement describes President Reagan's reasons for this move, one of them being the fact that "[p]rice controls have ... made us more energy-dependent on the...

"Restoring America's energy security has been a top priority since I assumed office. We have changed regulations and laws, held discussions with our neighbors concerning a North American accord, and increased cooperation with our friends and allies to enhance our energy security. The United States has made dramatic gains in augmenting production and enhancing efficient consumption of energy....

For many years, John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company dominated much of the oil production in the United States. In the early twentieth century, Standard Oil was taken to court on the allegation that they had violated the Anti-Trust Act of 1890. This Supreme Court decision delineates the outcomes of this lawsuit.

This statement provides information on American oil imports and exports during the early years of the Great Depression. Interestingly enough, American oil exports during this time period actually exceeded imports.

This archive from the New York Times details the politics in the early 1900s involving the Standard Oil company. Apparently an attempt at an "October surprise," John D. Rockefeller announced his support for the Republican candidate, William Taft. Due to the anti-trust issues Teddy Roosevelt had hurled at Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company in the preceding years, Roosevelt's White House...

"Twenty one of the twenty-five states with the lowest electricity costs rely upon coal for forty percent or more of their electricity supply. It is no coincidence that these states also have the highest concentration of manufacturing. The deliberate and disruptive policies that have slowed and stopped coal mines from receiving permits to open or expand have consequences that reverberate...

"The Obama Administration and its allies have declared war on coal across all of Appalachia. We are ground zero for the fundamental overreach of the Obama regulatory agenda. They appear to be hell-bent on hurting those who work in the coal mining industry. The rural regions of Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, and Pennsylvania would be devastated from losing major...

Mr. West analyzes regional effects of oil policies in Latin America and West Africa:

"The hike in oil prices in the 1970s, along with greater control over the sector that countries gained (notably, Venezuela, Ecuador and Colombia nationalized the local producing assets), greatly boosted government revenues. This was particularly true of Mexico (which had nationalized its sector much...

In this testimony, James Martin declares that "America's rising ... oil import dependence imposes drastically on the domestic economy." Martin goes on to encourage more domestic oil production in order to ease the financial and security burdens foreign oil dependence places on the U.S.

Oil entrepreneur, Mr. T. Boone Pickens, participates in a U.S. Senate hearing to examine the challenges and solutions to developing energy security from domestic resources. Pickens emphasizes that imported oil is the main cause behind domestic energy woes.

This testimony discusses the effect EPA closures of coal mines would have on the West Virginia economy and infrastructure. Roberts notes the number of workers that would lose their jobs, while also pointing out the negative residual effects these job losses would have on local businesses and tax revenue.

"The 1928 Group Agreement (better known as the Red Line Agreement) was a deal struck between several American, British, and French oil companies concerning the oil resources within territories that formerly comprised the Ottoman Empire within the Middle East. The origins of the Red Line Agreement can be traced back to the initial formation of the Turkish Petroleum Company (TPC) in 1912."

"This 1989 report contains the results of an investigation requested under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act to study the effect of oil imports on the domestic petroleum industry and on United States energy security. It reviews previous energy security assessments and resulting initiatives, assesses current U.S. energy security, and studies emergency petroleum requirements. The report...

"Since 1973, high and rising oil prices have seriously aggravated the management of macroeconomic policy. This report assesses the consequences of oil price rises for the general price level, employment, the trade balance, domestic and international credit markets, and the exchange rate in the United States and other major industrial countries."

This famous example of early twentieth century "muckraking" was produced by Ida Tarbell in 1904. According to Ms. Tarbell, the Standard Oil Company "was the first in the field, and it has furnished the methods, the charter, and the traditions for its followers." Part two of this volume can be found...

"Analysts and pundits often cite, correctly or incorrectly, the turmoil in the Middle East, a strengthening global economy, or speculation as the causes for the run up in crude oil prices. What is rarely discussed as an important factor in the rise of the dollar price of oil is the role played by the dollar itself. Oil is an international commodity that trades in dollars. The value of the unit...

"Speech by OPEC Secretary General, HE Abdalla S. El-Badri, to the International Energy Symposium, on the occasion of OPEC’s 50th Anniversary - Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 18-20 October 2010":

El-Badri emphasizes OPEC's 50 year anniversary and its history in the world oil market, citing international opposition to OPEC when it was founded in 1960. El-Badri specifies OPEC's...

This section of the 1980 debate includes Reagan and Carter’s responses to a question about the United States’ oil dependency and about the development of alternative energy sources.

"The windfall profit tax (WPT) was a special, temporary excise tax enacted in 1980 and repealed in 1988. It was an excise tax, not a profits tax, imposed on the difference between the market price of oil and a base price, which was adjusted for inflation and State severance taxes. Nearly all domestically produced oil was subject to the tax. The main purpose of the tax was to recoup for the...

In this speech, President Teddy Roosevelt addresses several issues related to the Standard Oil Company's monopoly on the American petroleum industry.

In the 2007 State of the Union address, President George Bush asked Congress and America to "join him in pursuing the goal of reducing U.S. gasoline usage by 20 percent in the next ten years - twenty in ten."

According to Hamm, "U.S. independent exploration and production companies have been the leaders – not 'Big Oil,' the integrated refiners – in increasing U.S. production and finding significant new reserves of crude oil and natural gas in the past decade." Hamm opines that recent "tax preferences" aimed at encouraging "green" energy stand to increase U.S. dependency on foreign oil and punish...

"I am pleased to be here today to participate in your hearing on the challenges and opportunities related to the potential development of unconventional oil and natural gas resources. As you know, fossil fuels are important to both the global and U.S. economies, and among other things, we rely on oil to fuel our transportation vehicles and on natural gas to a significant extent to heat and...

"Currently (as of July 2012), there are 104 commercial nuclear reactors in the United States."

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We all know Facebook is awesome for keeping up with friends, sharing about your life, and even distributing ideas. One great new way to get people thinking is to take advantage of the new banner profile with the help of Intellectual Takeout. Here's what one of our banners looks like loaded up on a Facebook profile: If you haven't changed your banner profile, than Facebook is likely ...
To: The President and the Congress of the United States of America Whereas: Congress, the Department of the Treasury, and the Executive Branch have increased the United States’ national debt to over $14 trillion by 2011. Whereas: The national debt doubled in less than ten years and is expected to double again in the next ten years. Whereas: Each American’s share of the national debt is $45,684,...
At Intellectual Takeout, we think it's about time freedom went viral. Before our generation is the opportunity to embrace freedom, to unleash each individual's potential, and to have a prosperous future. And yet it seems that almost everyone running our cities, states, and federal government is intent on destroying freedom and burying us in debt to pay for it. If you, like us, believe that...
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Education history in America is important to know. ITO traces how education has changed from the colonial period to present day America.
Okay, so your friends and family keep telling you to jump on the social media bandwagon, but you have no idea what the fuzz is about. Here’s the deal: The Internet gives liberty-loving folk like us an opportunity we have never had before: to make the case for individual liberty, limited government and free market economics instantly and globally. But with the vast amounts of information...

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In a highly regulated society such as ours, it's very easy to get yourself in trouble with the law. Learn more about how to protect yourself with the 5th Amendment and how to interact with the police.
Curiously, not a few individuals are realizing that their education (K-12 and even college) neglected to provide them with as much understanding of the world as they would like. At Intellectual Takeout, we believe that however you feel about your education, there is still much to be learned. To that end, we'd like to refer you to one book and a collection of "study guides" that serve as...
Know your rights with Flex Your Rights guide to the "10 Rules for Dealing with Police."
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Let's face it, most of us love to watch TV and movies. A wonderful way to spread ideas is to embrace our love of the cinema by hosting a movie night with friends and family.  There are numerous documentaries that do a fantastic job of sharing the ideas of liberty. You can pull a small group of friends together at your house or even consider asking a local restaurant or tavern to let you...
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Okay, so we don't expect you to drive a wooden stake into your flat screen. Plus, we're total hypocrites since we watch some TV. But here's the point: People waste a ton of time watching TV. If you're cool with government taking over your future, than keep watching Dancing with the Stars. If you consider yourself to be a free man or woman and want to live in a free society, then watch what you...
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The Association of American Educators (AAE) advances the teaching profession through personal growth, professional development, teacher advocacy and protection, as well as promoting excellence in education so that our members receive the respect, recognition and reward they deserve.

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We've built Intellectual Takeout to provide you with quick, easy access to information. In time, we hope to become your one-stop-shop for the ideas of freedom. If your professor allows you to bring your laptop to class (if not, you can use an iPhone), we recommend keeping a tab open to Intellectual Takeout. As we continue to generate new content on the site, you will be able to fact check the...
When it comes to campus life injustices, student fees rank high on any list. On most campuses across the country a mandatory student fee is assessed to each student at the beginning of the year. A portion of this fee, which may be several hundred dollars, will go toward funding various political, religious, and interest groups.  A college requiring you to support groups espousing ideas which...
If you're not happy with the direction of the country and you want to take back your future, at some point you will have to do something. It's not enough to just know that we're going in the wrong direction. You actually have to step out and get involved. Most college campuses have conservative and libertarian student groups. Find one of them to join. Below is a list of some of the larger non-...
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Whatever activism you choose to do on campus, you need to get your story out. A popular tactic used by the Left is to isolate and intimidate freedom-loving students. You're not alone and there are a lot of people in your city, state, and country that can probably support your efforts. They just need to know what is happening. Whenever you can, record in-class bias, discrimination against...
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