Americans are a forward looking people.
For good or ill, we don’t spend much time looking at the past. Sometimes it is helpful though.
Some forty odd years ago the energy crisis threw this nation into a tizzy. It brought long gas lines, angry consumers and — worst of all — an unhealthy national dependence on foreign oil.
For years, I remember hearing how the world would be out of oil by the year 2ooo, how solar energy, electric cars and ethanol would be the wave of the future and how Americans needed downsize and become more energy independent.
We slogged our way through the next few decades but weren’t really serious about weaning ourselves off of foreign oil — until about a decade ago.
How much have things changed? A graph from a recent blog post from Mark Perry’s Carpe Diem is instructive.
How did this happen? Perry writes:
Based on new EIA data through October, only 20.3% of the net petroleum products supplied in the US so far this year came from imports. That’s the lowest level of net petroleum imports since the 19.5% share in 1968, nearly 50 years. What the 2005 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) was supposed to achieve with ethanol — reduced reliance on foreign oil — has actually been achieved much more successfully through unplanned and unanticipated breakthroughs in drilling and extraction technologies (fracking and horizontal drilling) than from force-feeding of ethanol to American consumers.
Fracking. Another triumph of American ingenuity over big government knows best.