Magazine April 5, 2021, Issue

America Is Petroleum-Independent, for Now

Electrical-transmission lines in California (George Rose/Getty Images)
Rising domestic supply and great efficiency gains have made the U.S. a net energy exporter

Although it has gone strangely unheralded so far, the United States just marked an energy milestone of great historical and strategic significance. In 2020, according to official figures, the U.S. exported more oil and petroleum products than it imported. This is the first time in generations that America has attained such qualified, but nonetheless meaningful, “independence from foreign oil.” It would have been considered impossible barely 15 years ago, when imports peaked. The transformation has greatly benefited the American economy and enabled much more foreign-policy flexibility. It is also a powerful asset for the U.S. in its competition with China.

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This article appears as “Petroleum-Independent, for Now” in the April 5, 2021, print edition of National Review.

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