Will the United States be energy independent in our lifetime?

6 Answers
If so, how will it happen?

The most plausible answer(s) depend on the source of information, and the Energy Information Agency of the US Dept. of Energy reports that we can reduce liquid (oil and gas) imports to a total of about 34 percent by 2019 and then rise to 37 percent by 2040; however, the Center for Strategic and International Studies has reports that the US may be able to eliminate all imports between 2020 and 2030 [ http://csis.org/publication/myth-or-reality-us-energy-independence ].

The reality may be that the US will always import oil and gas from both Canada and Mexico, so some percentage of the nation's energy will not be domestic. Furthermore, there may be valid reasons to import Brent Crude from Scotland and Norway as well as Light Sweet Crude from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia because of the qualities of those feedstocks at hydrocrackers in the US--the crude is cleaner and yields some products for pharmaceutical or industrial uses that cannot come from "dirty" oil.

It may be that the US will have the capability of energy independence, but will choose to continue doing business with some nations as energy providers.


This is a very interesting question. In my opinion the United States of America will not be energy independent in our life time. The reasons are not so much technical but rather political and economical. Technology in our society is developing very rapidly, however, the single most energy consuming sector is the road transportation sector. Currently, most of the vehicles used are driven and run on fossil fuel. While it is very possible to extract and exploit both old and new oil fields further, this is associated with extremely high costs and if USA would decide to do so, it will in a heartbeat kill off the production of the country as everyone and everything would be experiencing a bottleneck caused by the extremely expensive fuels.

Now, technology does advance and today we have cars that run on ethanol, electricity and also fuel cells. In principle, as new technology is further developed, we will be less and less dependent on fossil fuels, and in particular importing fossil fuels. However, today, fossil fuel and vehicles that run on fossil fuel are by far still the most economical transportation means. Therefore, it will take a very long time before the green vehicles truly will make a difference. However, I am unsure that even if that happens that USA will choose to go on the energy independent path. To me, that path involves too much isolation and influence. It is unlikely that any country would like to lose influence over world politics just for the sake of energy in-dependency.


I think it is certainly possible we could become more independent than we currently are. I'm not sure if we could ever become completely independent. Few major countries in the world can afford to be so. Few countries can or will be independent in much of anything as the world continues to globalize and we become more and more dependent on one another.

With that said, there are several things that could happen for us to become more independent than we currently are. First, we could tap more of our own resources. But many would object to this for environmental reasons. We could also explore alternative fuel sources. Hydro-power has proven to be extremely effective and manageable and the environmental costs seem to be low. Nuclear power is also extremely helpful, but it carries certain risks. Wind and solar power are both safer, but not as effective. Often, unfortunately, wind turbines end up being built in poorer, rural, areas where people don't have much say in the matter and they claim that it causes noise pollution.

Everyday there are new advances in science and some other possibilities may very well open themselves up. We need to do more to make sure advances like these are encouraged so that we can find better ways to seek fuel independence.


Nothing is going to happen because what you are saying is simply impossible.

There is no free country in this world that is energy independent. Just take a look at how people live in countries that are rich with oil or gas - do you want it?

I am sorry to say, but you have to admit yourself that being energy independent equals living in a dictatorship. And you do not want it, right?


We have had the ability to do so for a long time but we have chosen not to. For instance, the marcellus shale is one of the largest deposits of natural gas in the world. We have an abundant supply of natural gas but the price of natural gas makes extracting it cost prohibitive. There are many other factors to energy independence other than simply having the means.


I don't think the United States will be energy independent in our lifetime. They probably could be but I don't think will try. There are costs involved and there will be people trying to fight change. Often producing more energy is bad for the environment. It causes air pollution or they wreck large areas of land and kill a lot of animals.