There is a popular misconception that the United States could supply its own petroleum needs, without imports, if it weren’t for stupid politicians.
Robert Hammons wrote a letter recently that was titled, “Drill domestic, not foreign.”
He wrote: “We would not have to rely on the Middle East for oil if our politicians were not so stupid or corrupt.”
If you take a look at world petroleum statistics about production, consumption and capacity, however, it quickly becomes apparent that this is not the case.
The United States is ranked 14th in known oil reserves in the world. We possess about 2 percent of the world’s petroleum. The country of Kuwait, which is a little larger than the state of Connecticut, has four times as much oil in the ground.
The United States consumes about 25 percent of the world’s oil production. How do we consume a quarter of the world’s oil when we only possess 2 percent of the petroleum reserves?
Two ways. First, we import 60 percent of our needs. Second, we are pumping our own oil at a very high and unsustainable rate. Yet, Hammons wants to speed it up!
If other countries are pumping oil at a rate that is sustainable with their reserves, and Americans are not, we will merely hasten the day when we, or our children, will be dependant on the rest of the world for 90 percent of our needs. Why would we want to do that?