The Myth of Energy Independence

“We’ll grow our own energy right here in America, and stop sending our money to the Middle East!” This refrain has become very common in the US energy debate going on today. Coal producers are lobbying for increases or extensions to programs that subsidize the cost of turning coal into diesel fuel, and corn growers have successfully lobbied for a 51 cent-per-gallon subsidy on gasoline-ethanol blends (sometimes containing as little as 1% ethanol). Meanwhile, politicians proclaim that our dependence on foreign oil is a threat to national security.

Is the answer to America’s energy needs really to grow or drill it all at home? And would doing so help moderate the rapid rise in gasoline prices, and in energy costs as a whole? These questions deserve further review.
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