Neither presidential candidate shows grasp of America’s oil predicament

Obama Romney Debate

Not only were they dull, but both Obama and Romney completely ignored the huge iceberg looming ahead of America’s Titanic economy. Image: DonkeyHotey/flickr.

The Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas USA (ASPO-USA) expressed concern that neither candidate for the U.S. presidency demonstrates a clear understanding of the realities and risks facing U.S. oil supply. In the first presidential debate on Wednesday night, President Obama and Governor Romney fed the misconception that America can drill its way to energy independence, when such a scenario is both unlikely and unwise, according to ASPO-USA.

U.S. oil consumption is three times domestic production

In 2011, the U.S. economy used nearly 19 million barrels of oil per day (mbd) while U.S. oil production reached approximately six (6) mbd, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

“Recent increases in U.S. oil production—reversing a downward trend from peak production in 1970 of roughly 10 mbd — may mitigate risks slightly, but at current levels of consumption, domestic production is unlikely to meet America’s needs anytime soon,” said ASPO-USA executive director Jan Lars Mueller.

America remains dependent on imported oil and vulnerable to an oil crisis

“Unless we dramatically reduce our oil use, the United States will continue to rely on imported oil,” Mueller added, “but we are increasingly competing for oil exports with emerging countries like China and India.”

According to analysis by independent geologist and ASPO-USA vice-president Jeffrey Brown, China and India alone would consume all available net exports within the span of two decades, if current trends continue. These trends raise serious concerns about the immediate risks of a global oil supply crisis.

Since President Nixon, U.S. presidents and presidential candidates have decried America’s dependence on imported oil. In that time the United States has only become more dependent on foreign oil, with periodic pauses in a downward trend for U.S. production. Failure to address the issue at a scale that is meaningful is, perhaps, due to a fundamental misunderstanding of the problem.

“Government and industry simply tell us ‘don’t worry, technology will save the day’,” said Jim Baldauf, ASPO-USA President and Co-founder.

The Association for the Study of Peak Oil & Gas USA is non-profit, non-partisan research and education organization dedicated to helping America understand and adapt to a new energy reality, where oil is becoming increasingly more costly and difficult to extract from the Earth, and oil supply may not meet soaring global demand. This article is a reprint of a news release from ASPO-USA.

— ASPO-USA, Transition Voice 

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