Over the past quarter, ASP has continued to examine a host of issues and their implications for our national security. From American Competitiveness to Nuclear Strategy to Public Diplomacy, we have published a wide array of articles on what we feel are the most pressing matters in the security dialogue of our nation. While it is not an issue of “guns and bombs” we here at ASP feel that state of our energy security-our ability to act in our foreign policy independently of how we use energy domestically-is paramount to the security of our nation. One such energy issue I would especially like to draw your attention to is the state of American energy-namely oil production and gasoline prices.
In 2012, U.S. domestic oil production surpassed that of any year within the past 15. And yet, crude oil and gasoline prices remain near historic highs. So far, increased domestic production has not been large enough to make an impact on prices – which are set by global supply and demand. In addition, oil use produces greenhouse gas emissions, directly leading to climate change. As regular readers know, climate change presents clear national security implications.
For more on how booming domestic and global production prices remain high, see ASP’s 2013 Report “Cause and Effect: U.S. Gasoline Prices.” It highlights how little impact that U.S. production has on global oil prices and the direct link between the cost of crude oil and American pump prices.
Since January of 2009 U.S. oil production has increased by 34% – an unprecedented increase. Up to now, this rise has only accounted for 1.5% of the total global increase in crude oil production. In addition, U.S oil consumption has dropped by 15%.
Unfortunately, that’s not the whole story. The global demand for oil has continued to rise.
As Americans we cannot continue to participate in a myopic view of oil and gasoline demand. Our fluctuations in both supply and demand do not control the global market.
All of this combined to show how 2012 saw the simultaneous growth of domestic oil production and a significant (approximately 8%) increase in American gasoline prices. While we may be transitioning to a period where we are not dependent on foreign sources of oil, that is not the promised land we were supposed to see.
In the end, we must decrease our dependency on oil as a source of fuel in order to enhance our competitiveness and security. Investment in renewable energy sources and biofuels are crucial to helping break the hold oil has on our economy and national security.
I hope this preview whets your appetite for the truly thoughtful and comprehensive articles included in this, our latest edition of American Security Quarterly.
BGen Stephen A. Cheney USMC (Ret.)
CEO American Security Project