It’s why we fund defense and intelligence to keep us safe from those in the world who don’t share our values and wish us harm. It’s why we lock our doors at night to provide confidence and comfort for our loved ones. It’s the motivation behind keeping us from exporting crude oil. We need to take care of our own first and insulate ourselves from the vagaries and volatility of an unpredictable global market.
It is this thinking that led to the creation of the 1975 Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which, among other things, established the ban on crude oil exports. United States oil production seemed to be in permanent decline, and ensuring that United States citizens had the energy we needed was indeed a noble cause. But something amazing happened in the last 15 years as U.S. oil and gas producers seized technology and mounted a remarkable comeback.
Combining the technologies of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, the U.S. unlocked oil and natural gas previously thought impossible to extract, and did so in remarkable quantities. Whereas as recently as 2005, we imported more than 60 percent of our oil (much of that from OPEC), just last year we imported less than 30 percent, much of that coming from our North American allies.