Turns Out New Technology Did Solve Our Dependence on Foreign Oil

The authoritative International Energy Agency announced on Monday that the U.S. will overtake Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world's largest crude oil producer in five years.To celebrate this once-unimaginable news, how about taking a trip down memory lane? The date is May 5, 2011. Diarmuid O'Connell, then the vice president of business development for Tesla, Elon Musk's electric-car outfit, is testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee."As a nation, we have arrived at a place where we no longer control our own destiny," O'Connell warned. "We find ourselves overwhelmingly dependent on a dwindling natural resource controlled by inimical foreign actors, under conditions of increasing competition. Oil . . . is now the source of our greatest vulnerability in terms of both national and economic security."America's growing importation of oil from unstable parts of the globe required Congress to be "proactive," he said, and subsidize alternative technologies such as his company's electric vehicles.O'Connell's speech has not aged well, though it summarized what many right-thinking people believed at the time.Actually, his jeremiad was already foreseeably wrong when he presented it: In North Dakota and Texas, far from Silicon Valley or Capitol Hill, the shale oil boom was underway. U.S. domestic production was edging higher: It averaged 5.6 million barrels per day in 2011, hit 9.8 million per day by the end of 2017, and will rise to 12.1 million by 2023, the IEA projects.  Continue reading...

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