Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

October 12, 2013

U.S. is energy giant after embargo

Forty years ago this month, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) proclaimed an embargo on oil exports to the U.S. as retaliation for its support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War. It would last only five months, but it haunts U.S. energy policy to this day.

The modern global energy market bears scant resemblance to what existed 40 years ago. Today’s market is far more diversified and resilient. Thanks to the shale gas revolution and soaring domestic oil and gas production, the U.S. has reduced the cost of its energy and become a major exporter of refined products. Add in the political and economic tumult within many OPEC member countries, and it’s clear that, by almost any measure, OPEC is far weaker and the U.S. is far stronger than in 1973.

Nevertheless, the U.S. continues to mandate the use of corn ethanol — a farm subsidy that has been masquerading as an energy program since the 1970s. And the promoters of ethanol still hype the supposed danger of “our dependence on imported oil.” Every administration since President Richard Nixon’s has engaged in sloganeering about energy independence — including Barack Obama’s, just this past August — despite increasing global interdependence.

Looking back, it’s obvious that the OPEC embargo itself was largely a symbolic move. The main reason for gasoline shortages in the wake of the embargo was not a lack of crude oil, but rather federal price controls, Anas Alhajji of NGP Energy Capital Management and other economists have concluded. Indeed, America’s crude-oil imports in 1973 exceeded those in 1972 by 372 million barrels, data from the Energy Information Administration show.

In 1974, those imports jumped again by 85 million barrels.

Since then, although oil remains a critically important commodity, petroleum’s share of the global energy market has been in steady decline. In 1973, it accounted for 48 percent of all global energy use. Last year, its market share fell to 33 percent.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Remember the pledge Editor:The county board chairman is not being factual with his recent comments concerning the Public Safety Tax Pledge made by the 2004-2010 County Board.First of all, the debt we were facing was caused by the foolish actions of nine board members of

    July 31, 2014

  • Back to the future for death penalty? The surreal national debate over the death penalty reached a climax of sorts July 23 in a prison execution chamber in Florence, Arizona. Double murderer Joseph Wood was put to death by lethal injection shortly after his lawyers went to the Supreme Co

    July 31, 2014

  • Reduce property tax Editor:The regular July meeting of the Rend Lake Conservancy District Board of Trustees is always interesting, and this year was no different. It is at this meeting that the board makes the annual tax levy for the district. Like every year, the debat

    July 31, 2014

  • Away from the tyranny ‘Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency,” the late poet Maya Angelou reflected in an interview with USA Today in 1988. “We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous or honest.”What a poem Angelou might have written about

    July 31, 2014

  • No Headline Provided House and Senate conferees have agreed on a $17 billion bill to address the scandal over poor health-care service at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The legislation is now on a fast track to pass Congress before its August recess, showing that Re

    July 31, 2014

  • Shackled by 'dead men' In theory, the American people’s elected representatives decide every so often how much to tax the public and how to allocate the revenue among various priorities, both short-term and long-term. In practice, however, Congress and the president have a

    July 31, 2014

  • Close the tax loophole that sends US corporations overseas Since we last overhauled our federal tax code, in 1986, countries around the world have lowered their tax rates, leaving the United States with the highest corporate tax rate in the developed word. At the same time, the system has become full of inef

    July 29, 2014

  • Israel and the U.S.: Whose survival instinct is stronger? There’s something darkly coincidental in the fact that the latest weapon to be deployed against the survival instinct of both Israel and the United States is an alleged “heartlessness” when it comes to children. The people of Israel are castigated in

    July 29, 2014

  • College cost isn't big problem for poor students To judge by this summer’s banner policy proposals, the most important question for higher-education reform right now is giving students easier access to loans. But evidence from Canada suggests those changes won’t address the greater need: Getting mo

    July 29, 2014

  • Ducks, geese a blessing I would like to respond to the “Geese and ducks causing problems in Veterans Park” article that was published in the Mt. Vernon Register-News on July 16, 2014. I must share that I do understand that at times there have been a great number of the Cana

    July 29, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks